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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Hasbarah’

Why was the IDF (and Karsenty) Abandoned in the Al Dura Affair?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Thirteen years after Israel’s enemies unleashed one of the most damaging fake atrocity stories in military history, the Israeli government has come up with an official report [1.8 mb pdf] to refute the September 30, 2000 France 2 news broadcast, narrated by respected correspondent Charles Enderlin, that claimed to show 12-year old Mohammad Dura shot dead by IDF soldiers.

Oh, we already know and knew almost immediately beyond a reasonable doubt that al Dura was not shot by the IDF, and we almost certainly know that he was not shot at all, by anybody. Persuasive evidence (more persuasive than the official report) is here.

In fact, we can say with confidence that the incident was a fake, set up by France 2′s Palestinian cameraman and local Gaza residents.

But what is difficult to understand is the Israeli diffidence in the face of the vicious allegations.

The immediate response of the IDF was to temporize. From the official report:

On that same day, following the France 2 report, the Spokesperson Unit released a statement which made clear that while it was not possible to determine, based on the footage broadcast by the network, the source of the shots apparently fired at Jamal and the boy, ultimate responsibility lay with the Palestinians for cynically launching armed attacks from within the civilian population. …

But then, at a press conference on October 3, it turned disastrous:

[Maj. Gen. Giora] Eiland, in response to a question regarding Al-Durrah, answered that as a result of the gunfire at the junction, Jamal and the boy “took cover next to a wall, several meters from where Palestinians fired at us. The soldiers returned fire and apparently the boy was hit by our fire.”

Eiland later explained,

I had not seen all the evidence made available to the Israeli army only later…Given the long history of Palestinians exposing their children to danger, I assumed that the main issue in this case would be the question: Why would the Palestinians have exposed their own civilians to danger by firing on the Israelis while a boy and his father were in the crossfire? I did not realize that my words would be used to accuse Israel of cold-blooded murder.

The footage was played and replayed around the world. Two weeks later, two IDF reservists were torn to pieces in Ramallah to shouts of “al-Dura! al-Dura!” The alleged cold-blooded murder became the symbol of the Intifada, and an inspiration for suicide bombers. Daniel Pearl’s murderers and even Osama bin Laden, before and after 9/11, invoked it as justification for their acts.

Meanwhile IDF Maj. Gen. Yom Tov Samia, OC Southern Command, reenacted the incident, examined the relative locations of soldiers and Palestinians, and concluded that IDF bullets could not have hit al-Dura. This was announced at a press conference on November 27, which was almost entirely ignored by the media — and by top officers and Israel politicians. Indeed, the IDF Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz, told the Knesset that the investigation was a “private initiative of Samia,” not part of an official investigation.

Why didn’t Mofaz and his boss, Ehud Barak, who was serving as both Prime Minister and Minister of Defense at the time, take up the cause of the IDF and demand, with the maximum possible diplomatic force, that all information related to the incident — including all the footage shot by France 2 on that day — be placed at Israel’s disposal to do a proper investigation?

It didn’t happen, not then and not later, despite the revelation of more and more facts casting doubt on the story that the IDF had shot Dura. In 2005, the PM’s spokesperson to the foreign press, Ra’anan Gissin, asked France 2 for the footage and was turned down. In 2007, the IDF spokesperson tried to get the footage, but again Enderlin refused to provide it. More recently, the French Ambassador was asked “to help,” to no avail. Surely the State of Israel could have done more to defend the honor of its armed forces than to deploy low-level officials.

A French media critic, Philippe Karsenty, who has been defending himself against a libel suit filed against him by France 2 correspondent Enderlin for at least 10 years — he called the presentation “a hoax” — spoke bitterly in 2009 about the treatment he received from government officials:

During all those years, I got the cold shoulder from Israeli officials. With the exception of a few mavericks like Danny Seaman (director of the Government Press Office), Raanan Gissin (Spokesman, Prime Minister’s Office), Shlomi Amshalom, former deputy spokesperson for the IDF, or former ambassador Zvi Mazel, the vast majority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel treated me and others who pursued this case, as embarrassments – conspiracy nuts who they wished would just disappear…

In 2002, when it was still possible to do something immediate, Nissim Zvili was the Israeli ambassador to Paris. He listened courteously but explained to me that he was a friend of Charles Enderlin, the French journalist who narrated the al Dura hoax.

In 2006, Zvili was replaced by Daniel Shek, who refused to shake my hand, and later commented on a Jewish radio that I was defending “conspiracy theories.” When I asked his colleague in charge of communication at the embassy in Paris, Daniel Halevy Goitschel, why he never returned my phone calls, he responded: “the phone doesn’t work at the embassy.” We are not even dealing with a lack of support here. On the contrary, I was being sabotaged.

When I won the case [against another media outlet] in May 2008, Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said: “Karsenty is a private individual and no one in the Israeli government asked him to take on his battle against France 2. Karsenty had no right to demand that Israel come to his aid. All calls on the Israeli government to come and ‘save’ him are out of place. He was summoned to court because of a complaint of the French television channel. I don’t see where there is room for the Israeli government to get involved.”

Last December, I went over the evidence with Aviv Shir-On, who now claims to have helped me, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). After two hours he repeated the old MFA refrain, “I’m not convinced.” Let’s say, for the sake of generosity, that Shir-On is just one more timid defender of Israel, so afraid of what “others” might say, that even the judgment of an independent (and hardly well-disposed) French court in favor of his own country, does not give him the courage to speak. So even though I won the case, and the new evidence from France 2 sharpens our argument, I could not count on Israeli officials to help move into a counter-attack. Enderlin, humiliated by the court decision, was allowed to bluff his way back to prominence, and recently, in the Gaza war, lead the journalists’ attack on the Israeli government…

On January 2009, I met Tzipi Livni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and asked her about the al Dura story and the lack of reaction of the Israeli officials. Why didn’t the State of Israel demand that France 2 admit their blood libel following the court decision? I was stunned by her answer: “Well, it happens that we kill kids sometimes. So, it’s not good for Israel to raise the subject again.” (Philippe Karsenty: Israel Losing the Media War: Wonder Why?).

Karsenty was convicted, and the conviction was overturned on appeal — but recently the decision that exonerated him was reversed by France’s highest court.

It’s too late for the Israeli government to help him with his case, but let’s hope it can find the strength at last to support the IDF.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Hawking’s Boycott Falls into a Black Hole

Monday, May 13th, 2013

The Israeli Presidential Conference that Stephen Hawking is boycotting because of the “occupation” of supposed Palestinian land has drawn in the past none other than several senior Palestinian Authority officials, including one who two weeks ago said he would like to drop a nuclear bomb in Israel.

Thanks to a bit of Internet homework by Times of Israel reporters, it appears that former Palestinian Authority minister and negotiator Ziyad Abu Zayyad spoke at all three of the prior presidential conferences that have been held since 2008.

Another former speaker was former teenage terrorist Jibril Rajoub, who as an adult terrorist was head of Yasser Arafat’s “preventive security.” He also heads the central committee of Fatah, the party of Mahmoud “peace Process” Abbas, and last week he said he wished he had a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel.

So why didn’t Rajoub boycott the conference?

Because it is a lot easier to undermine Israel from within than staging a useless boycott, which is a total fake since a true boycott would mean no generic drugs from Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest generic drugs manufacturer. Everyone who has read about Hawking’s boycott probably already knows that Teva is working on a drug that could cure the brilliant physicist of the motor neuron disease that has afflicted the 71-year-old Hawking for the past 50 years.

The boycott would also include Intel chips, but who needs them? Besides the rest of the world, Hawking needs them, and probably more than anyone else. He communicates through a computer-based communications system that runs on a chip made by Intel.

And who designed the chip? Intel’s Israeli team. Intel’s factory operations in Kiryat Gat, north of Be’er Sheva, are among the largest in the world.

A handful or more of other Palestinian Authority political leaders and academics have spoken at the presidential conferences, one of President Shimon Peres’s pet projects to bring Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders together, based on the still-to-be proven maxim that if they talk forever, someone will listen.

Of course, no one can listen if everyone boycotts.

Enter Hawking. His hearing from his left is exceptional, but he apparently filters out anything else, whether on the right or even in the center.

That is why his boycott of the  conference is one of the best things that has every happened to Israel’s “hasbara” program of trying to explain itself to the rest of the world, a policy whose main accomplishment is that it keeps a lot of people from being unemployed.

It is current history that Cambridge University stated that Hawking is boycotting the conference because of Israel’s awful policy of not letting the world dictate what is good for Israel, because who knows more about the Middle East than Westerners?

It is current history that Cambridge backtracked and said he was not attending the conference because of his poor health.

And then Hawking said, no, that’s not so. “I really am boycotting Israel,” he said, explaining that the international leftists [Read: anti-Israel], convinced him it was the right – or left – thing to do.

So Cambridge struck out.

And now comes the report that blows another hole in the Black Lie of the international community’s effort to drive Israel back to the “Auschwitz Lines” of 1949-1967, as former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Abba Ebban called the old borders.

The anti-Israel, or pro-Palestinian Authority effort, if you prefer, is talking to itself.

It camouflages its built-in hatred of Israel with a bleeding heart sympathy for the poor Palestinians.

Their do-good effort to break their boredom in life is to boycott Israel. But a funny thing happened on the way to Hawking’s boycott of the presidential conference. Palestinian Authority officials love to speak there. Why boycott an opportunity to stand on a soapbox and deliver a rant against the people that gave you the soapbox.

Only in Israel

One would think that someone like Jabril Rajoub – the former adviser to Yasser Arafat, the former 16-year-old terrorists, the head of the council of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s own Fatah party, the man who two weeks ago said he really wished he had a nuclear bomb so he could destroy Israel today – would not stoop so low as to accept an invitation by the President of Israel to speak at the conference.

Cal. Univ. Pro-Israel Professor Harassed and Defamed

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

For some years, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin has been almost the sole faculty voice in the University of California system speaking out against harassment of Jewish students who support Israel. Here is an excerpt from a complaint she filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights in 2009:

Professors, academic departments and residential colleges at [The University of California, Santa Cruz] promote and encourage anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish views and behavior, much of which is based on either misleading information or outright falsehoods. In addition, rhetoric heard in UCSC classrooms and at numerous events sponsored and funded by academic and administrative units on campus goes beyond legitimate criticism of Israel.  The rhetoric – which demonizes Israel, compares contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, calls  for the dismantling of the Jewish State, and holds Israel to an impossible double standard – crosses the line into anti-Semitism according to the standards employed by our own government. …

The impact of the academic and university-sponsored Israel-bashing on students has been enormous.  There are students who have felt emotionally and intellectually harassed and intimidated, to the point that they are reluctant or afraid to express a view that is not anti-Israel.

In the snake pit of academia, where unfashionable explicit Jew-hatred has morphed into enthusiastic and widespread over-the-top anti-Zionism, Rossman-Benjamin stands out — even among pro-Israel faculty members, most of whom are happy to  keep their mouths shut and their noses clean for the sake of promotions and tenure.

Now it seems that her enemies have decided to make an example of her, attributing to her the worst possible sins — the 21st century equivalent of witchcraft — racism and Islamophobia.

In the fantasy world of our universities, being accused of crimes against political correctness can get you in big trouble. And there is a degree of viciousness there that those of us who live on Earth and have real jobs can barely imagine. Rossman-Benjamin recently wrote a letter to University of California President Mark Yudoff, where she wrote in part,

… I have recently come under a vicious and unjustified personal attack from a pro-Palestinian student group on my campus, the Committee for Justice in Palestine (CJP) and members of affiliated Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) groups on other UC campuses. They claim that I made “openly racist” and “Islamophobic” comments about the SJP and Muslim Students Association (MSA) during a talk I gave at a synagogue near Boston last summer. …

Most recently, in response to a 2-minute video clip taken from a much longer video of my talk last summer, the UCSC CJP and affiliated SJP groups on other UC campuses have not simply voiced dissent but waged a virulent and harmful campaign to assassinate my character that includes: posting and promoting a defamatory on-line petition accusing me of racism and censorship and calling on you to condemn me; widely posting defamatory flyers about me on the UCSC campus; launching over a dozen videos about me on YouTube that wrongfully accuse me of being “hateful,” “dangerous,” and “Islamophobic;” instructing SJP studentsUC-wide to fill out hate/bias reports against me on their respective campuses; passing libelous resolutions condemning me for my “inflammatory, hateful, and racist assumptions” in the UC BerkeleyUC Santa BarbaraUC Davis, and UC Irvine student senates; and, perhaps most egregiously, appearing to collaborate with groups sympathetic to terrorists (e.g. the International Solidarity Movement) and associated on-line publications (e.g.Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss) to more widely circulate these defamatory materials about me.

Please understand that the CJP/SJP’s targeted and well-orchestrated campaign of intimidation, harassment, and defamation has caused me to feel real concern for my safety and my ability to carry out my responsibilities as a faculty member at UCSC.

It is no longer remarkable that supporters of the most racist, misogynist, homophobic, intolerant, anti-free-speech and violent forces in the world today — for example, Hamas — take shelter behind Western concern for the complete opposite of all of those. They are expert at the game of political correctness (here is another example). At the same time, their behavior conveys veiled physical threats against their targets.

I find it interesting to recall the atmosphere on campus when I went to school, before the upheavals of the mid-1960′s. One significant difference was the attitude of the Jewish students, who weren’t cowed and apologetic, still not having been beaten into submission to the idea that the Jewish state was an evil, apartheid, Nazi-like oppressor of ‘indigenous’ brown Palestinians. How this happened is a long story, but there certainly is no hope for reversing it if the few faculty members who can serve as models and mentors for Jewish students are intimidated or even driven out.

Check out Rossman-Benjamin’s request for letters of support here.

Visit Fresno Zionism. Previous posts about Tammi Rossman-Benjamin are here and here.

Debunking the ‘Palestinians as Native Americans’ Myth

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Various anti-Israel groups argue that the Palestinians are like Israel’s “Native Americans. However, the truth of the matter is that the Jewish people are the closest thing to an indigenous people within the Holy Land, while the Palestinian Arabs ancestors sprung out from centers of empire.

Despite all of the facts proving the contrary, some anti-Israel activists have falsely compared the Palestinians to the Native Americans. For example, during this year’s Palestinian Solidarity Week at the University of Maryland at College Park, the UMD Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a lecture titled “Two Trails of Tears: From Turtle Island to Palestine.” In this lecture, the UMD Students for Justice in Palestine held a discussion on “settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, broken treaties and racist policies as a form of systematic oppression for the Palestinian and Native American peoples.”

Unfortunately, the UMD Students for Justice in Palestine is not the only anti-Israel group to seek to compare the Palestinian cause to the Native American struggle. This type of rhetoric disregards Jewish history within the Land of Israel dating back to antiquity and is an attempt to re-write history by anti-Israel groups in order to belittle the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. This propaganda is so popular among anti-Israel groups that in one anti-Israel protest outside of Nablus, Palestinians even dressed up like Native Americans in order to make a political point. Many Native American’s find this offensive and an unethical form of cultural appropriation.

As Ryan Bellerose, a member of the Métis nation in Canada, wrote in the Metropolitan,

The Palestinians are not like us. Their fight is not our fight. We natives believe in bringing about change peacefully and we refuse to be affiliated with anyone who engages in violence targeting civilians. I cannot remain silent and allow the Palestinians to gain credibility at our expense by claiming commonality with us.

I cannot stand by while they trivialize our plight by tying it to theirs, which is largely self-inflicted. Our population of over 65 million was violently reduced to a mere 10 million, a slaughter unprecedented in human history. To compare that in whatever way to the Palestinians’ story is deeply offensive to me. The Palestinians did lose the land they claim is theirs, but they were repeatedly given the opportunity to build their state on it and to partner with the Jews — and they persistently refused peace overtures and chose war. We were never given that chance. We never made that choice.

According to Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, 12 million Native Americans used to inhabit North America in 1500. They were the continent’s first original indigenous human inhabitants and some of the tribes referred to their ancestral homeland as Turtle’s Island. Yet today, after experiencing massacres, persecutions, outright racism, ethnic cleansing, systematic oppression, and having their traditional lands colonized by European settlers who refused to permit them to live beside them even if they were peaceful and adopted aspects of European culture, their population size was reduced to 237,000 by 1900.

During the infamous Trail of Tears, about 20,000 Cherokees were forcefully expelled from their homes and sent on a death march, where up to 8,000 of them perished. The Cherokee nation endured all of this suffering, despite the fact that they were very much assimilated into the society, rejected utilizing violence, and had legal documents in their possession demonstrating what land was supposed to belong to them. It was one of the darkest chapters in American history.

Despite all Palestinian propaganda points to the contrary, the Palestinians are not Israel’s “Native Americans.” In fact, the Jewish people, composed of the twelve tribes of Israel, not Muslim Palestinian Arabs, made up the majority of the population in Israel up until 135 CE, when the Jewish people through massacres, brutal oppression, persecutions, and ethnic cleansing were forcibly made into a minority within their own country. Just like the Native Americans, the fact that Jews were made into a minority within their own country does not rob them of their indigenous status nor does it imply that they abandoned their country.

In fact, Jews continued to live in Israel throughout history, regardless of which regime was in power. The Jewish Virtual Library estimates that in 1517, well before the Zionist movement existed, there were only around 300,000 people living in Eretz Yisrael, where 5,000 of them were Jewish. According to the Ottoman Turkish Census of 1893, there were 371,959 Muslims, 42,689 Christians, and about 9,000 Jews living in Israel. These statistics demonstrate that Jews were living in the Land of Israel well before Zionism and the Balfour Declaration. Muslims were never the sole inhabitants of the land like the Native Americans were in the United States.

The UN: When is Enough Enough?

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

With regard to the U.N., when is enough enough?

The U.N. is supposed to promote peace and human rights. But since the Six-Day War, it has systematically abetted the efforts of the Arab nations to destroy the Jewish state.

Most people have heard of resolution 3379, passed in 1975, which equated Zionism with racism (and which was finally repealed in 1991). But look at resolution 3236 (1974) which asserts that the PLO — a terrorist organization which had not even pretended to renounce violence — is the “representative of the Palestinian people,” and which, among other things,

Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;

Then there is Resolution 3376 (1975) which

2. Expresses its grave concern that no progress has been achieved towards:
(a) The exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in Palestine, including the right to self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty;

(b) The exercise by Palestinians of their inalienable right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted;

3. Decides to establish a Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) composed of twenty member States to be appointed by the General Assembly at the current session;

Similar resolutions calling for “return” of “refugees” and Palestinian sovereignty have been passed on an annual basis.

In addition to the CEIRPP, the U.N. has established several other bodies to prosecute its diplomatic war against the Jewish state. In 1968, UNGA resolution 2443 established the “Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People” (SCIIHRP), and In 1977, resolution 32/40 created yet another U.N. body dedicated to the Palestinian cause, the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR).

So what do these agencies do, besides soak up huge amounts of money and scarce parking spaces in New York and Geneva? Here is one explanation (2005):

CEIRPP and SCIIHRP are committees of the General Assembly but it is DPR that does the work. Lodged within the U.N. Department of Political Affairs, which is headed by an Under the Secretary General and two Assistant Secretaries General, the DPR is on the same level as regional bureaus which, in theory, track major developments all over the world. The DPR is equivalent to two regional bureaus for Africa, one for the Americas and Europe, and one for Asia Pacific. One might have difficulty understanding how the DPR merits the same status, staff and budget as the aforementioned regional offices.

The DPR’s website explains its functions: The Division provides support and services to CEIRPP, planning and organizing its programs, including a round-robin of international conferences such as those discussed below. It maintains relations with a network of “more than 1000 NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) from all regions active on the question of Palestine.” It organizes the annual “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” mourning the U.N. resolution of November 29, 1947, which called for the Palestinian Mandate to be divided between a Jewish and an Arab state. (At this annual event, Israel is routinely denounced and the Palestinian “right of return” is highlighted as a sacred principle.) The DPR prepares reports and publications “on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People” and, in cooperation with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, promotes their worldwide distribution. The DPR also develops and maintains the Web-based United Nations Information System on “the question of Palestine,” UNISPAL, which, in collaboration with the UN Department of Public Information, sends out anti-Israel press releases, funnels television footage to international broadcasters friendly to the Palestinians and hostile to the Israelis, and circulates news stories favorable to the Palestinians via email to 27,000 subscribers.

In the past three years, the DPR has arranged and staffed 10 international conferences – officially sponsored by CEIRPP – at which “information” about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is disseminated to an audience of diplomats, NGO’s and representatives of other U.N. agencies. These conferences are sponsored and paid for by the U.N. The most recent meeting, held at UNESCO in Paris on July 11-12, 2005, called for a campaign of divestment, boycotts and sanctions against Israel, consciously modeled on the effort to end the system of apartheid in South Africa. The previous session in Geneva on March 8-9, 2005, was devoted to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice denouncing Israel’s security barrier. As might be expected, no one on the program questioned the legality of the ICJ opinion or provided information about revisions in the fence’s route ordered by Israel’s High Court.

It is almost impossible to determine the amount of money that goes into these activities. Ami Isseroff wrote this in 2005:

Together, [DPR, CEIRPP and SCIIHRP] receive an annual budget of about $5.5 Million. In addition, over half a million dollars are spent on “Information Activities on the Question of Palestine,” which has been in the budget of the UN Department of Public Information since 1977, separate from the budget of the DPR. There is also a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. That function was created in 1993, apparently to torpedo the Oslo accords signed in the same year.  The special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is its only expert mandate with no year of expiry. The post was renewed even after the U.N.  Human Rights Council was reorganized because of absurdities such as election of Libya as chairperson. However,  it is impossible to trace all the money spent on anti-Israel propaganda, because the funding is hidden in bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council [today called 'commission'], which spends an inordinate effort on “Palestine” and in UNRWA, which diverts funds that are supposed to be spent on supporting Palestinian refugees.

I presume the amount is much greater today. And what about UNRWA itself, the agency set up to provide “emergency” aid for refugees, which has since morphed into a huge enterprise with a budget of $1.2 billion (2011), and whose function is to pay “Palestinian refugees” to have children and to prevent their resettlement anywhere except Israel?

Open Letter to Roger Waters: Music Is Our Shared Language

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters has declareed that a boycott of Israel is the “way to go”(“Roger Waters Calls For Boycott Of Israel,” Rolling Stone, March 20,2013). This statement is distressing not only because his numerous accusations leveled against the state are based on falsehoods, but are inflammatory as well. As members of the entertainment industry, we question Mr. Waters’ misinforming his fans in a way that only triggers further hostilities while continuing to dampen hopes for peaceful dialogue in the Middle East.

Mr. Waters blatantly condemns Israel, yet ignores the facts. Israel has never practiced or enforced racial segregation. As the sole democracy in the Middle East, Israel has always encouraged and legally enabled the integration of Arab peoples into all aspects of Israeli life. Arabs have been elected to the Knesset in every election since Israel’s founding and the Israeli Supreme Court guarantees all Arabs equal rights and full protection under the law.

The recently crowned Miss Israel was born in Ethiopia and quoted Martin Luther King in her acceptance speech! “There are many different communities of many different colors in Israel, and it’s important to show that to the world,” said the new Miss Israel.

Also consider that Israel has already elected a female prime minister, LGBT Israeli soldiers have the right to serve openly in the military, and married LGBT couples are ensured full adoption and inheritance rights. In fact, Israel’s official policies are often more advanced than America’s in promoting and supporting freedom of religion, women’s rights and gay rights, none of which exist in their neighboring nations or states.

Mr. Waters also proclaims his outspoken support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a frequently vilified organization that fundamentally questions Israel’s very right to exist. Even political author-activist Norman Finkelstein – a noted advocate of the Palestinian cause – has branded the movement “a hypocritical, dishonest cult” and said in a recent interview that BDS is “not really talking about rights. They want to destroy Israel.”

One-sided cultural embargos such as those advocated by Mr. Waters are an affront to both Palestinian and Israeli moderates who seek peace. We too wish for a resolution to the complicated Palestinian-Israeli situation, and believe that the unique connection between artist and fan is part of the solution. Music can reflect politics, but should never be disingenuous.

Mr. Waters should remember that music is our shared language, one that transcends dialects of hatred. Fans are the same everywhere in the world, and today many of Roger Waters’ fans are severely disappointed that he chose the words he did instead of those spoken on the same day by President Obama: “The United States of America stands with the State of Israel because . . . it makes us both stronger. It makes us both more prosperous. And it makes the world a better place.”

Win Friends and Influence People with Emotional Appeals

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

On Monday, I attended several events here in Fresno with the regional Consul General of Israel, Dr. Andy David.

He discussed various topics, including one very close to my heart, the ongoing information war against Israel (my words, not his). In response to a question about how American friends of Israel can help, he said  that we should do what we can to change the way people envision Israel, from a site of conflict to a “normal country.”

It’s better for people to think of Israel as a beautiful country with a high-tech economy and a cultured population than as a target of terrorism and war. Americans are simply not interested in things that they can’t relate to their everyday lives, so we should stop talking about rockets and start talking about how much fun it would be to spend a few weeks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We should send our kids on Birthright trips, etc.

There is no doubt that he has a point. For example, a college student tells me that he supports BDS (boycott-divestment-sanctions) against Israel because “they stole the Palestinians’ land.” I respond, “no, let me explain about the Mandate, Arab immigration into Palestine in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Mufti, resolution 242 … instant glazed eyes.

But if he had visited Israel, perhaps studied there, if he knew Israelis and understood that they are normal people with normal aspirations, it would be harder for him to accept that these people were actually vicious oppressors and thieves; he would perhaps be more prepared to listen to their side of the story.

It doesn’t help to bombard Americans with stories about terrorist atrocities, said David. They don’t relate to them, and the other side is doing the same. They are lying and we are not, but the listener doesn’t care. He tunes out.

As I said, he has a point. Nothing is more important than letting our young people see Israel for themselves, because, as he said, for a Jew or a Christian it is a powerful, sometimes life-changing, experience.

But there is another point of view. Not exactly a contradictory one, but perhaps another aspect. Orit Arfa starts with a similar premise — that Israel is losing the information war — but has a different prescription:

At almost every pro-Israel lecture I attend, someone feels compelled to ask an unrelated question at the end: “Why does Israel have such bad PR”?

Part of the problem with Israel’s PR is the fact that we even refer to an intellectual defense of Israel as “public relations.”It’s not a matter of mere PR or image. It’s a matter of our core values and our willingness to stand up for what we believe and know is right and true, no matter what the cost. We could have exponentially more effective PR if we spent less money, but tapped into our other hidden treasures: our conviction, passion, honesty, and fearlessness.

Israel’s enemies are good because they offer “black and white” messages, using humanitarian language that makes Israel’s enemies sound like the oppressed and downtrodden. They do not sugarcoat their lies. They say:

* Israel is an apartheid State

* Israel is an occupying power

* IDF soldiers are war criminals

And how do Israel’s spokespeople—both in and out of the Israeli government–fight these lies?

* They give long, arduous facts to debunk those claims

* They assert that Israel simply wants peace * They assert that “it’s complicated/complex”

* They boast that Israel is a leader in hi-tech. (Without Israel, you wouldn’t have cell phones!)

I’ll tell you why these strategies rarely make a dent. The general population doesn’t care about drawn-out facts, especially in this television/Facebook obsessed, fast food/fast consumption culture. We need to answer such claims with strong messages as simple and pure as the ones that Israel’s enemies use - except ours will be honest. You can’t fight lies with “it’s complicated.” You have to throw the intellectual attacks back in their court, with statements like:

* The Arab world consists of apartheid states

* “Palestine”is a made-up nation and the “Palestinians” are a made-up people

* Palestinian leaders are war criminals

Hit them hard, don’t be afraid of being called an ‘extremist’, and above all, be consistent, she says. People are not influenced by rational argument, but rather by emotion, so make your appeals powerful and emotional.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/win-friends-and-influence-people-with-emotional-appeals/2013/03/13/

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