Foreign press beats IDF

Trevor Asserson, YNET

The only force in the Middle East that can beat the Israeli army is a bunch of ragged reporters. Had it not been for the fear of world opinion the Army would have rooted out Hamas and its rockets. That job remains on the “to do” list.

World opinion matters because Israel’s natural friends are democracies. Politicians in democracies will follow public opinion. If the voters hate Israel, their businessmen will not purchase Israeli products, their politicians will cease to support Israel and anti-Israeli legislation will be passed. The boycott could become a reality.

The Palestinian strategy of undermining Israel before the court of world opinion has been operating for some 30 years, piling victory upon victory. The trauma of Cast Lead, Goldstone and Mavi Marmara has left Israel emasculated, unable to use its own army.

The BBC, with its halo of ‘impartiality,’ is the world leader in dissimulation. That the Jabari assassination was a response to an unprovoked barrage of more than 120 rockets was barely explained; the BBC aired dead Syrian children passed off as Palestinians; a ‘badly injured victim of Israeli bombing’ was filmed moments later walking around healthily. The BBC shrugged it off – “perhaps he just recovered quickly.” A glancing reference to “an incendiary device” going off is almost all the BBC tells you of the Tel Aviv bus bomb; a BBC documentary airing gruesome pictures of injured Palestinian children appears designed to incite racial hatred against Israelis.

Each of these is a breach by the BBC of a number of its own rules. Yet Israel fails to respond.

The concept of a ‘proportionate response’ is wrongly explained by the BBC as a facile number count – 130 dead Palestinians: four dead Israelis – conclusion, Israeli actions are disproportionate.

English case law, to which the BBC is subject, permits what is reasonably required to achieve a reasonable aim. By that token, Israel’s actions are far short of sufficient, since it has doubtless failed to stop the rockets. Israel should press the point in court, not ignore it.

Even on the facile ‘body count’ parameter, looking at the ratio of combatants to civilian casualties Israel is seven times more ‘proportionate’ than the forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. But these arguments are not getting across.

Israel is losing this battle because it has barely begun to fight. It needs to mount a carefully directed, massively funded campaign. Journalists need to be courted, wooed, educated and trained. Complaints against media must be lodged and legal claims brought. Until Israel enters the fray of world opinion, its world beating army could yet again find itself sitting uselessly on the sidelines.

Trevor Asserson is the senior partner of Asserson Law Offices, the largest English Law firm in Israel. He is recognized as the UK’s leading expert on the BBC’s portrayal of the Middle East.

December 6, 2012 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. @ ArnoldHarris:


    Democracies would be good allies of Israel, if there were any. European nations are not democracies anymore. They are soft totalitarian Marxists (although getting harder all the time), and today’s EU is like the Communist Party/Politburos/Supreme Soviets of old. In fact, most of the leaders of the EU were or are still hard core Marxists.

    The democracy is skin deep. Any dissent away from the party line (US evil, Israel/Jews evil, Islam good, multiculturalism good), is punished as hate speech. There is not much ideological difference in European parties – they are all left wing, so the votes are really between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

    Europe (and increasingly the USA, as is shown in states like California, Washington, New York, Illinois and Maryland)are increasingly one-party and one-idea states, where dissent is slowly but steadily being crushed.

  2. “The Palestinian strategy of undermining Israel before the court of world opinion has been operating for some 30 years, piling victory upon victory.” Because their supporters are the West and the ME oil.

  3. Keelie,

    If you concentrate on some basic premise and its underlying purpose; and if you do so with the utmost pertinacity that you can muster; then, typically, you will be able to reach the correct set of conclusions. Those conclusions will be based almost totally on the objective reality of all situations that bear on your premise and those purposes. That is precisely the way I handle studies of the Jewish nation and secondarily of the Jewish state which has re-emerged to provide our nation with its second chance concluding three millenia of the miseries and degradations of trying to survive as a nation in the countries of other nations.

    Among the topics that I studied so carefully and selectively at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, 50 and more years ago, that exactly was my purpose in studying formal logic, as something more than a mere intellectual exercise. I hope everything in my life has a purpose and an outcome, short of the ultimate fate that carries us all away.

    If you understand what I have written here, you will also understand the importance to me of objective reality.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  4. The author’s premise is entirely wrong. Israel’s natural friends are not democracies, many and now most of which can and shall be swayed by engineered public opinion in favor of Israel’s enemies and opposed to the multi-millenia rights of the Jewish nation and our modern Jewish state. Nothing Israel can do will win such a propaganda war.

    Instead, Israel’s natural friends are dictatorships, autocracies and empires such as modern Russia, China and a host of smaller countries which have reason to fear the growth of power of international Islam.

    The Chinese will build Israel’s Ashdod-Eilat high speed railway line, not because they love or even respect Israel or the Jews, but because their major shippers want a quicker, cheaper and more dependable to ship goods back and forth from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

    The Russians will be major customers of Israeli natural gas output from the new gas field located offshore from Haifa.

    The small Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic countries of the Balkans, from Greece and the Greek part of Cyprus on the south to Croatia on the north, all have reason to be concerned about the spread of militant political Islam in neighboring Bosna-Hercegovina and Albania. These are natural allies of Israel in the wars that most of them see coming.

    There are numerous black African non-Arab and non-Moslem countries in central Africa who have similar reasons to oppose militant Arabism and Islam to the north.

    Great India is in a state of perpetual conflict with Islamic Pakistan to the northwest, and the day will come when they shall be in conflict with Islamic Bengla Desh to the northeast.

    And so on. Israel can be a supplier of relatively low-cost by high quality weapons to all these countries. And Israel ought not to be concerned with whether their customers are democracies or dictatorships. Israel’s only real interest here is getting paid for the weaponry they supply, and building useful trading relationships with all and sundry.

    And in the fullness of time, or even in the near future, the wars and smaller struggles among the various Islamic societies themselves will give Israel extensive opportunities to build influence on one side or the other of these local fights. Israel’s relationships with Kurdistan and Azerbaijan are excellent current examples.

    Remember; democracy is nothing; Jewish survival, Jewish national interests, and Jewish national power are everything.

    In any case, the European countries now are nothing more than relatively minor regional powers. And an objectively-measured analysis of the USA is that its recent status as the world’s sole superpower is now ending. The USA today faces insurmountable fiscal problems that will effect the abilities of this country to simultaneously satisfy the demands of all the recipients of social security; retiree medical care; medical care for those who cannot afford medical insurance; maintenance of the US armed forces as a global power; upkeep of the aging and crumbling physical infrastructure in a time were rising sea levels, warming seawater and resultant climate changes are generating storms of a destructive level rarely seen before and not at all in modern times. And all this at a time when the manufacturing economy of the USA has been all but sold out and the production lines moved to China, Mexico, Brazil and other cheap labor locations.

    Times change. So too must change the Jewish national target for new allies.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  5. Asserson is correct. It is a Herculean task to be sure, given the inbreed antisemitism and leftism of western world media. But Israel is not even engaged in this battle to it’s extreme detriment.

    Time to wage the media war with full might and no hudnas!!