Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
Just like an office fire alarm, the Gaza flotilla affair sent thousands of Jews all over the word into a well-practiced drill.
Stage One: rush to check out our own trusted websites for the truth. Stage Two: check e-mails incoming from friends, and all the links they’ve embedded to the precious few unbiased media outlets – and rejoice when one actually has the guts to say something good about Israel. Stage Three: start forwarding the best of these to as many of our e-mail contacts as possible.
But it’s at Stage Three that something holds you back, particularly if you are living and working outside Israel. It’s like encountering a fire door that should be open to the street, but is locked from the outside. You want to be shouting “fire…fire” and making sure everyone in the building gets to hear. But then you ask yourself: “Maybe there are people in important meetings who would rather not be disturbed?”
Is this logical?
In our context, I am talking about the moment you are ready to copy and paste all your e-mail addresses into this pro-Israel message, and then you hesitate. First you start extracting the gentiles from the list – after all, why risk losing a longstanding friendship? Most of them, you figure, must surely be on our side – you hope! As for the others, well, what’s the point? They’ll never change their minds anyway. Then go the business contacts – they probably don’t want to be disturbed and, besides, why risk profits over politics?
Pretty soon the list is pruned down to more or less the same as your last mailing; the same people who support Israel through thick and thin. Multiply this by all our Diaspora e-mailers and bloggers and most of us wind up talking to…ourselves.
Human nature being what it is, I don’t expect this behavior will change any time soon. And if there is any PR lesson from the flotilla disaster, it is that even when we get our dramatic videos out in record time, it’s simply not soon enough to head off our detractors. In an ideal world, Israel should have been telling the Gaza/Hamas narrative from the moment the ships were first leased for this flotilla, so that, by the time of the incident, its response to the world could simply have been: “We told you so” instead of all the rushed briefings and wringing of hands.
But our world is far from ideal, and each time Israel sent out its message in a bottle, it was quickly overwhelmed by the towering waves of the BBC and CNN and sank like a stone. Now we have Al Jazeera, which takes the trouble to actually dredge up our messages so they can sink them a second time. And to make things even worse, here in Europe we have Iran’s Press TV, with veiled anchors prattling the murderous gospel of the mullahs 24-hours a day.
The only breath of fresh air is Fox News Channel, which last week put out a Glenn Beck show so unbelievably pro-Israel that I am still licking my chops. Beck traced Israel’s story from the Balfour Declaration through to Harry Truman’s business partnership with Eddie Jacobsen and how they insisted on paying off all their debts rather than go bankrupt. How Eddie persuaded President Truman as to meet with Chaim Weizmann and how Truman went on to defy the Arabists in the State Department by keeping his promise to vote for the Jewish state. Coming to the present day, Beck went on to expose the flotilla’s organizers for who – and what – they truly were.
I was left asking myself: Why aren’t we doing this for ourselves? Must we always rely on non-Jews to edit our narrative? And I thought the time had surely come for the Jewish people to have their own cable channel. I was therefore pleased to see this idea echoed some days later by Likud Minister for Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, who speculated about a possible Al-Judea channel.
I write these lines from a city doing its best to live up to the pejorative ascribed by Melanie Phillips in her book Londonistan. Brits were by far the largest European grouping on the Gaza flotilla and the quickest to take to the streets in rabid anti-Israel chanting. All this is fueled by slick Islamic propaganda piped into a vacuum of almost total ignorance about all things Jewish, other than the Holocaust.
About the Author: Zalmi Unsdorfer is chairman of Likud-Herut in the UK
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier
The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel. For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for […]
As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.
Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.
UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.
There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]
Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?
Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”
The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.
Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.
So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.
King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.
The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.
Next month I am due to participate in a London debate on the question: Is it OK for Jews to criticize Israel? One of my opponents is a leader of the Peace Now movement who, in a previous debate about the UK’s academic boycott, steered the discussion to his own army service (as an IDF spokesman, no less) and promptly branded Israeli border guards as “paramilitary thugs.”
For American taxpayers, the devil is in the details of the new health care law. But for the Jewish people and the State of Israel the devil is in the comparison between Barack Obama’s steamrollering of health care legislation and his developing Middle East policy.
The passing of Rabbi Menachem Porush in Jerusalem on Sunday night brought to mind many memories of my childhood. He was a close friend and working colleague of my father, Simcha Unsdorfer, z”l, who served as secretary general of British Agudah. Always impeccably dressed in kapota and cufflinks, Rabbi Porush had an almost regal bearing […]
It is hard to imagine a scene as joyous and religiously charged as Machpela on the Friday night of Parshat Chayei Sarah. Every year, many thousands of Jews from all over Israel, and hundreds more from Europe and America, flock to the tomb of our patriarchs, which Abraham purchased for Sarah’s burial nearly 4,000 years ago.
The British government’s ban on Moshe Feiglin from entering the UK is symptomatic of a deep and institutional prejudice against Israel. Feiglin, a Jewish Press columnist, is best known for running second to Benjamin Netanyahu in the last Likud leadership primary.
The throngs of tourists passing Big Ben are unaware of the tunnel beneath their feet, which connects the parliamentary committee rooms in Portcullis House to the British House of Commons. When the division bells ring, members of parliament sprint along the passage to cast their votes in the chamber. It was in one of those committee rooms last Thursday evening that a group of MPs met with foreign lawmakers to discuss boycott, divestment and the indictment of a sovereign nation with the arrest of its officials for breach of international law.
Did you hear the one about Nelson Mandela, the pope, Mother Teresa and the Jew? Turns out they are the only non-Americans ever to have received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congres-sional Medal of Honor. The Jew? None other than our own icon of freedom, Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and prisoner of conscience who earlier this month received his Medal of Freedom at the White House.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lets-stop-talking-to-ourselves/2010/06/16/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: