The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
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.
The only hope of getting into these hearts and minds is through the vital medium of TV news. A Jewish news channel will doubtless be at the very top of the boycott list and, like the State of Israel itself, our enemies will seek to kill it in its cradle. This means advertising revenues will be scarce in the short term. But if it were only a question of money, what price is too high for redeeming the good name of our amazing people?
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.
For a peace treaty with the PA, half the Israeli public would agree to divide the Jerusalem
As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.
What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.
The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.
The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.
Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.
Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion
Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry
Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
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: