by Stuart Littlewood
Hasbara has become a dirty word, thanks to it’s dirty practitioners and the dirty job they are trained to do.
It’s a Hebrew word for Israel’s sophisticated public relations machinery that’s set up to cynically justify the Jewish entity’s crimes and to create for Israel a ‘brand image’ completely at odds with the ugly truth.
Fiction and distortion are among hasbara’s standard propaganda tools for spinning fairy tales and propagating disinformation. And it is very effective… up to a point. The reason why it ultimately fails is that it has very poor material to work with. You cannot behave like psychopaths and disguise it forever. You cannot trample other peoples’ rights and freedoms, and destroy their property, and expect to be loved. You cannot keep your jackboot on your neighbour’s neck for 65 years and expect to call yourself civilised and in tune with Western values. You cannot steal his lands, water and livelihood at gunpoint and claim the moral high ground.
And you certainly cannot create a wholesome brand image from bullshit.
These basic truths manage to escape the Anti Defamation League when it chooses to attack a truthteller like Alice Walker.
The ADL claims Walker’s new book The Cushion in the Road takes her “extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level”, and complains that she devotes 80 pages to “a screed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict replete with fervently anti-Jewish ideas and peppered with explicit comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany”.
Any comparison of Israelis to Nazis is bound to ruffle Zio feathers. But if some of them insist on behaving in a way that calls Nazism to mind, why are they surprised?
The moans and groans of the ADL, when you examine them, have little or no substance. For example their press release states: “On several occasions Walker seems to indicate that the purported evils of modern-day Israel are a direct result of Jewish values, alleging that Jews behave the way they do because they believe in their ‘supremacy’. She suggests that Israeli settlements are motivated by the concept that ‘possession is nine-tenths of the law’…”
If the Jewish state’s conduct is not guided by Jewish values, what does guide it? And what other concept motivates the seizure of a neighbour’s land for the transfer of the Jewish state’s vilest citizens in blatant contravention of international law?
Look at this statement by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s National Director. “Alice Walker has sunk to new lows with essays that remove the gloss of her anti-Israel activism to reveal someone who is unabashedly infected with anti-Semitism. She has taken her extreme and hostile views to a shocking new level, revealing the depth of her hatred of Jews and Israel to a degree that we have not witnessed before. Her descriptions of the conflict are so grossly inaccurate and biased that it seems Walker wants the uninformed reader to come away sharing her hate-filled conclusions that Israel is committing the greatest atrocity in the history of the world.”
Note his uncalled-for language. This is a Pullitzer Prize-winner he’s talking about… let’s have some goddam respect here. And when was Foxman last in Gaza, anyway? If Israel’s unending terrorisation, murder, imprisonment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians since 1948 (and before) is not the greatest atrocity since World War Two it comes pretty close. Foxman should not throw stones while he resides in the hasbara glass house.
Blame Israel’s problematic policy, not failed ‘hasbara’
Recognising that Israel has been losing the propaganda war, Israeli think-tank Molad recently carried out a study on the regime’s hasbara operations http://www.molad.org/images/
“The Israeli hasbara apparatus is large, sophisticated…. It is difficult to find any nation, even those embroiled in long-term conflict situations, that trains civilians to take part in hasbara messaging for its policies while abroad, or that sends groups of young citizens to advocate its position on campuses worldwide. It is no less difficult to find other nations that enjoy such well-developed, global support on institutional, communal, and private levels, especially in North America and Europe. In light of this, sweeping criticisms of the Israeli hasbara apparatus are spurious; Israel’s ‘hasbara problem’ is nothing more than a myth.”
Israel’s real problems, says Molad, are the results of “problematic policy”.
How clever of them to have spotted that!
The think-tank also touches on Anti-Israelism and Delegitimization and how to identify it, recommending a definition based on the Reut Institute’s delegitimzation thesis. Thus we arrive at a definition that’s “employed by the Israeli hasbara authorities in defining their function”. An act or statement is ‘anti-Israel’ to the extent to which it contributes to the delegitimization of Israel in the world.
“Delegitimization has three central characteristics:
a) Denying Israel’s right to exist.
b) Employing double standards regarding Israel in contrast to other nations (for example, focusing on human rights violations in Israel while ignoring similar violations in China, Russia, or Syria).
c) Demonizing Israel (for example, defining Israel’s policies using morally charged concepts such as ‘apartheid’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’.”
How feeble; and not worth responding to. The regime itself, and those who support it and stooge for it, have created Anti-Israelism and brought Delegitimization down on their own heads.
As for the book that’s causing all the fuss, I’d sooner believe Pullitzer girl Alice than all the hasbara pimps strategically positioned across the globe.
Stuart Littlewood worked on jet fighters in the RAF then pursued a career in industrial marketing.
More recently he worked as a freelance and with innovation consultancies. Psychology degree Exeter University, Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor 1993-97 and on the Police Authority. Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. Since retiring has been a newspaper columnist and produced two photo-documentary books. He is a regular contributor to a number of internet news magazines.
Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation. It can now be read on the internet by visiting RadioFreePalestine.org.uk.
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