Sovereign States Don’t Do Hasbara

Noga Arbell, MIDA

Israeli hasbara fails for one simple reason: People who obsessively try to justify themselves sound like someone who really does need to apologize • Sovereign states do not jump through hoops, explain or ask permission – they act, do what needs getting done and nonchalantly brush off the criticism  • The best hasbara is none at all.

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By proving we’re right, Bibi willingly puts the question up for discussion.

When the Israeli Prime Minister got up in the United Nations and asked “In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy’s civilian population to get out of harm’s way?“, he made a number of embarrassing rhetorical mistakes, especially when one recalls that Binyamin Netanyahu is considered a virtuoso in the field. He repeated the absurd accusation of genocide to an audience which included those who may not have heard it, and by even referring to it, gave it validity.

He also asked a question whose answer, especially considering the audience, was far from obvious. They might reply, much like Jon Stewart, “where can they run?”, thus turning Israel’s sincere attempt to protect civilian lives into a cynical PR exercise to “adhere to international standards” without really intending to avoid civilian deaths.

Worst of all, he is effectively asking permission. He places himself at the judgment of his audience. Even if the crowd itself were on his side, this is nevertheless a fundamentally flawed approach. It grants the crowd power that no self-respecting state would grant it. Whether Netanyahu appeals to his citizens or judges, he should be placing before them afait accompli and not a murky vote. The right of Israel to defend itself should not even be up for debate. To take it off the agenda, Israel needs to do a very simple rhetorical move: Take it off the agenda. The idea is so absurd it’s not even worth addressing.

Sovereign states don’t ask permission. They don’t spend all their time justifying themselves or asking for sympathy. They know they’re right. Their right to exist, the right of their citizens to life, freedom and happiness are so obvious to them that they do not feel the need to have these confirmed by their neighbors and allies. Sometimes, when they really cross the line in defending those rights, they ask forgiveness. But even then, usually they don’t.

Israeli hasbara emissaries are dedicated and talented people who simply don’t understand the fundamental problem in always trying to be right: It’s not believable. When the Deputy Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry tries to explain in a TV interview that Hamas threatens Israeli children while arguing that Israel is doing its best to protect the children on both sides, she loses credibility for both parts of her argument. A sovereign state whose children are truly threatened does not do a body count before opening fire – it opens fire blindly, indiscriminately, in an unstoppable rage.

Israel’s ability to stop, take a deep breath and act as the responsible adult turns the threat it claims to face as not truly a threat on the most basic emotional level of any parent, of anyone with a conscience who knows that if it were their country, they would demand the terrorists’ head on a platter. Because the Spokesperson is seen as a liar, faith in her claim that Israel is avoiding attacking civilians is also damaged. And if you’ve been following Palestinian spokespeople abroad, or more – even the responses on social networks, including in Israel, the arguments that Hamas deliberately endangers Palestinian children are rejected as unbelievable. The facts themselves mean nothing whatsoever. The idea that anyone would deliberately endanger their children – like many human horrors – simply does not register with people.

Netanyahu’s speech is a shining example of a fundamental flaw in Israeli hasbara: It doesn’t stop apologizing and asking for support. It never stops asking for permission. Other heads of state used the UN platform to tell other countries what to do. If we were a normal country, our Prime Minister would point to his audience with an accusatory finger and say, “you did this!” He would accuse the “moderate” Palestinian leadership of giving its children over to Hamas with their never-ending recalcitrance.

It is past time we stop apologizing and start accusing the real opponents of peace. “Moderate” Abu Mazen.

He would make full use of the equating of Hamas and ISIS, and organization seen as a strategic threat to the West, by making clear that the failure to stop the former is a direct cause of the rise of the latter. He would make clear that to protect themselves they need to ensure that Israel, which stands on the front lines of the Islamist assault on the Western world, needs to be defended. As a statement, not a request. A demand, not a plea.

Our real problem is not anti-Semitism, the Muslim or even the settlements. Our real problem is our desire to be loved. By arguing that Israel is a small country surrounded by enemies and in need of allies we neglect the fact they need us no less than we need them. Just to show how desperate we are to be liked, as opposed to any other country on earth, we see the virulent criticism against our country as something positive to be listened to and absorbed. As though there is truly “constructive criticism” in the messy and Machiavellian world of international politics.

The EU has an article in every “association agreement” it reaches with Middle Eastern countries which deals with the preservation of Human Rights. Only with Israel does the EU threaten every so often to suspend the agreement for violating this article. Only is Israel subject to the possible of harming of bilateral ties based on an issue not directly connected to them. Does anyone seriously doubt that the human rights situation in Israel is better than in Egypt or Algeria? Does anyone doubt that Israeli criticism of treatment of immigrants in Europe would be contemptuously rejected (justifiably!) as an unjustified attempt at interfering in another country’s internal affairs?

What’s Our Dignity Worth?

The “start-Up Nation” of Israel has invaluable assets for a declining Europe. It provides a unique contribution to the west by fighting emerging Middle Eastern threats as the only western forward post in the region with intelligence and operational capabilities which are second to none. It even has what to contribute in helping to ensure and improve moral standards in fighting terror. Time and again, we try to cooperate with a world which speaks of morals and justice but in truth is run primarily by “honor, fear and interest.”

We are so desperate to be a member of the club of liberal democracies that we don’t even try to use these assets as the price of admission, but forgo them in the pointless hope that we’ll be loved enough on the merits to be allowed to join. We reject with contempt the idea of tying our support for fighting just causes in exchange for support in fights no less just.

American “hasbara” in action: the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
Photo: US Navy (CC by 2.0)

Even the most moral countries (which are not Israel) see first and foremost to their own interests. They have no incentive to help Israel when the price for this is paid in negative public opinion in their own country and abroad, when they can get what they want from Israel for free. On the contrary, they have an incentive to force Israel to standards no other country is held to – and Israel agrees to them far too often.

After the Six Day War (in other words, right after the infamous “occupation”), we were admired the world over. Now we’re just repeatedly used. We sullied the victory – not the Arab states, not anti-Semitism and not even “Peace Now.” Israel. The Israeli leadership which keeps begging for the world to “recognize Israel’s right to exist” are helping to cause horrific damage to Israel throughout the world.

Sovereign states don’t ask permission, and Israel – as opposed to many other countries – has nothing to apologize for.

English translation by Avi Woolf.

December 29, 2014 | 25 Comments »

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  1. Arnold Harris
    Stalin was ready to ship all the Jews to Siberia before he died. Remember Kagenovich, his henchman who was complicit in the slaughter of millions. Do you admire him too?

  2. @ akoven:
    I was not going to invest valuable time on this, yet, must be done. I resigned from the Likud and its Central Committee some 5 years ago, after many years of work in the party. I did that as Sharon, his criminals, Netanyahu, Olmert, Livni, Ezra, etc, took over there. Sharon and his son, Olmert and his gang, Ezra and 9 others are gone. Livni will soon be political history as well.
    Netanyahu, survived by hook & crook as he is a superb TV face, cardboard prop and red marker presenter, palabra fellow. Among us that know him for decades, a speechster. Full stop.
    I would hire him to sell ice to the penguins. He is in turn totally unfit to govern in Eretz Israel.
    That is why the zombied voters will choose him out of the cesspool that is Israeli politics.
    You do read the news I presume?

  3. akoven Said:

    You harassing his elocution, does little to improve the situation in Israel.

    Actions speak louder than words. Netanyahu is big on words. However, the electorate will mull what Bibi actually DID or did not do. He can deliver a speech, but could not deliver Pollard. At Wye, Bibi was promised Pollard’s release. When President Clinton cowardly reneged after CIA director Tennet’s threats, Netanyahu signed the Wye Accords anyway. Netanyahu is a victim of self inflicted wounds. When Sharon was setting the stage for a timed process to approve the withdrawal from Gaza, Netanyahu deliberately procrastinated along with Ya’alon and allowed Sharon the momentum to pass the measure in the end despite their phoney objections and last minute walk out for political purposes. When Israel was being pressured by obama for freezing Jewish construction, Netanyahu made grest speeches about how Israel would not yield the right to build in it’s homeland, but what happened?? He then released terrorist murderers of Israelis who subsequently returned to terrorism AND with an extremely short period of time gave obama his construction freeze. Then, there is the most recent Gaza War. Netanyahu did not finish the job and the tunnels are being rebuilt with Israeli provided concrete. bibi talks proud before the UN about how Israel will not bow down, then he apologizes to Erdogen for The Flotilla incident. It would have happened again except for one organization, not The GOI and Bibi, but Shurat HaDin and Nitzana Darshan Leitner.

  4. Ted, I am a big fan of Netanyahu. I think he one of the most admirable and respected statesmen in the world today. You harassing his elocution, does little to improve the situation in Israel.

  5. Only people who want nothing to do with the rest of world would not want present Israel position. This does not mean you have to be an apologist or give in to people with different opinions. Bennett is an example of strong non apologetic presentation. Why let the world hear only one side of the story.

    There are more Arabs and Muslims, and anti-semites in the world so we have to work hard and smart.

  6. Hasbara is a reaction formation to global AntiSHEMitism **.
    How many times can UN Ambassador Ron Prossor give the same speech, same for Netanyahu. It is obsolete.
    Sha’i Tekoa for UN Ambassador.

    Watch his lecture, ‘The Phantom Nation…’** on you tube and buy his book, if you wish to support his valiant effort, ‘exclusively through Amazon’.

    Peres should be sued for the Oslo treason and aftermath, even if it does not get to square one.

  7. Einat Wilf, a retiring Labour MK said as reported by JPOST:

    When they saw that armed conflict and terrorism didn’t work, Wilf said, they resorted to the war of words – a battle that, so far, Israel is losing.

    “This is all part of the Palestinian strategy of planting words, images, ideas and arguments into people’s minds,” she said. “The world’s greatest atrocities were preceded by preparing people’s minds that what they were about to commit was not an atrocity but something they were doing for a noble cause,” she added, noting that most people don’t think of themselves as evil.

    But what is happening with the use of specific words, she said, is “a strategic threat. It’s a real danger.”

    Wilf noted that, while in the Knesset, she had raised the matter with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where she received a symbolic, benign pat on the head – indulged to the extent that she was permitted to present her thesis, but no one really took her warning seriously.

  8. @ Ted Belman:
    Positive, self centered, intelligent and assertive diplomacy is a must.
    Regrettably our leadership does not do that at all and engage on cowing, apologizing, accommodating, negotiating away our national Heritage, performing cowardly gestures, etc. That is not diplomacy at all.
    Only when the “rubber bullet” ranks will be removed and replaced we can turn that corner.

  9. Martin Sherman replies.

    Sovereign States Don’t Do Hasbara?? Really??

    Israel is so beleaguered today because of its neglect of public diplomacy (aka Hasbara)

    The Palestinians have managed to promote a myth to the status of a widely accepted truism because they have hijacked the agenda

    Public diplomacy is the a crucial element in a nation’s strategic arsenal

    Diplomacy (including public diplomacy) has or at least, should have, the same function for the national leadership as the airforce hve for the ground troops To create sufficient freedom of movement for them toe achieve their objectives

    “…Austria, as another example of success, undertook after the Second World War a sophisticated campaign to minimize the then-prevalent impression in the allied world that the Austrians, having welcomed Hitler in 1938, had participated actively in fighting the allies, and had played a significant role in the persecution of Jews. Through cultural attractions — the Vienna Opera, Vienna Boys Choir, Lippizaner horses – – Austria was eminently successful in changing that overall impression. Indeed, not so many years ago, I sat at a dinner in Vienna next to a Polish diplomat who, upon my question of whether he liked being stationed in Austria, answered in the negative. When I asked him why he felt that way, he pointed to Austria’s subtle propaganda campaign, which he said made the world believe that Hitler was a German and Beethoven an Austrian”

    Public Diplomacy: Rethinking an Old Concept Dr. Walter R. Roberts, Member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Address at Department of State Senior Seminar, Washington, DC, January 29, 1997

  10. Shirley Lewis writes:

    Sure we need hasbara.
    1) We need to expose PA/PLO/Fatah/Abbas & Co. in its own words so as to delegitimize the entity so completely no respectable person would want to be seen with Abbas, the entity gets downgraded in US, UN and EU zone countries and no Western country would ever think that it should become a “state”. 2) we need to tell our story in 4 paragraphs, this from the article you picked up below from Jewish Press, the best summary ever:

    Jews are from Judea; Arabs are from Arabia. The Jews are the indigenous people of this land; Arabs are the colonizers. We are the people of Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, Galilee and Golan. We have been invaded by the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs and the Crusaders, but our link to the land has never been broken. We have resided without interruption in this land for over three thousand years. We have built the cities and every square meter holds archaeological remains from our ancient kingdoms. During the two thousand years when most Jews lived in exile, we never forgot where we came from. This was, is, and will be our nation’s sacred land forever.

    Meanwhile, there never existed an Arab Palestinian nation or a country. It is a complete hoax. There never was a Palestinian Arab king of this land; there were no famous Palestinian poets, philosophers, generals; no distinct language, no architecture, no inventions, no battles, indeed, no mention of the “Palestinian” Arab people in any history book written before 1960. Arabs from neighboring countries started immigrating into Palestine in late 19th century to take advantage of the infrastructure and jobs created by the newly invigorated Jewish people. They came for the same reasons that Mexicans cross the border into the U.S. and that Muslims have flocked to Europe. They came in great numbers seeking a better life than in their Arab lands.

    During these years the Arabs dwelling in Israel were simply “Arabs” and, when the term “Palestinian” was used, it always referred to the Jews! The “Palestinian people” were invented in the 1960s for Cold War purposes by the Soviet communists. The Arabs residing in Israel began to pass themselves off as the ancient native peoples of this land. They invented the name, “The West Bank,” for our provinces of Judea and Samaria. Today they even claim that Jesus was a Palestinian prophet and that the Jews never lived in this land. They have developed this pseudo-history to dupe the world into believing that their racist terror campaign against the Jews is a national liberation struggle!

    The Arabs’ genocidal military assaults on the Jewish state failed repeatedly, so today they are using propaganda and diplomatic shenanigans in their efforts to destroy us. The Arabs have the power of huge territory and oil money, but we have truth on our side. We live in our homeland, and only we have a legitimate claim to this land—legally, morally, and historically. We will never let Arab squatters and imposters steal our birthright. As people of good will around the world learn the truth, they will stand with the people of Israel.

  11. I am anti-hasbara,

    At best it’s a job of NGO’s not governments.

    That said:

    If you want to know what someone really thinks of you, look at what they’re willing to believe about you.

  12. Points critical to hasbara:
    1. Never apologize
    2. Be aggressive
    3. Do what the other side does – start hitting below the belt, making derogatory statements about the Pestilinians and their leadership, attach a nickname to each one, for example: Abu-Mazen a.k.a. “Yertle the Turtle”, Saeb Arikat a.k.a. “poor replica of Jozef Goebbels”, PA a.k.a. “terrorist gangsters/kleprocrats in Armani Suits”, and so on… start inventing facts, invent history, twist facts (nobody will be bothered to verify anyhow) but make sure you are doing it repeatedly and consistently. After a while people will believe you. This propaganda style has been adopted by the other side with astonishing success. Do the same.

  13. Denis MacEoin writes to the last comment:

    Thank very much for all of this. Although the article [Sovereign States Don’t Do Hasbara] made some very good points, it also missed several important things, chiefly the extent of the hatred, distortion, outright lies that are used to further the ‘Palestinian’ cause. (Of course, it isn’t the Palestinian cause but rather the Islamic cause, a combination of longstanding hatred of Jews from the time of Muhammad and the legal argument that any land once conquered for Islam must, in the end, be returned to Islamic rule. I should add that Rudolph Peters has argued cogently that Islamic international law is based on shari’a law concerning jihad.) To remain silent in the face in the face of such an outpouring of dishonesty and bad faith is perilous. If someone takes me to court, let’s say for my criticisms of Islamic State etc., I will be very foolish to refuse to defend myself (using a skilled barrister) and remain silent in the dock.

    I often engage in refutation of deeply unpleasant comments on You Tube and elsewhere. I know perfectly well that nothing I say can ever make an impact on the idiots who put up anti-Israel or anti-Semitic remarks. They are ignoramuses who are totally convinced that they are right in all things. But I put my comments up in the belief that there are more sensible, neutral, open-minded people out there, many of whom are confused by the anti-Israel rhetoric, but who may read what I write and start to think there is another side, and perhaps see that my fact-based argument are stronger than the ravings of PSC-type fanatics. This is what hasbara is about: to present one’s arguments to those who are willing to listen, be they newspaper editors, politicians, or ordinary members of the public. And I have known it to work.

    Yes, Israel should be firmer in its convictions, but there are times — as there are for all of us — when it’s necessary to explain. Accusations of war crimes have to be refuted by legal arguments that prove Israel has committed none and that Hamas etc have done nothing but. ‘Never apologize, never explain’ is sound advice, but it can’t be right all the time. Much of the world has gone mad: Islam is a religion of peace, Israel commits pinkwashing, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is illegal, only the Palestinians want to make peace, and on and on. We can scarcely speak to that madness. But things change, and many are already waking up to the fact that Islam is not a religion of peace and that Israel is a good, human-rights observing country. We must build alliances with sane people, and they deserve clear expositions of hard fact. We owe them that.

  14. Email from Rona Hart.

    In practical terms, Israel already has been ignoring the avalanche of criticisms. Israel’s hasbara efforts over the past 50 years have been
    modest. The policy (and sometimes it has actually been a policy) of ignoring hostility hasn’t worked to our advantage.

    My experience only extends to the UK, but I can remember an Essex College in 1963 and debate at Liverpool University in 1964 when the
    anti-Israel speaker were older and far better prepared than the Jewish students. At Liverpool 25-year old Iraqi “students ”
    were obviously primed for just such occasions. This was going on 50 years ago, and no doubt similar events were taking place all over the country.

    I don’t believe that our best policy is to ignore the slanders and not give them any significance, because silence is often taken as consent.
    If ordinary people hear only one side of the story and see the Palestinian side go unchallenged, then they will come to believe their
    narrative. Surely we’ve all seen this happen.

    Yes, there are countries in the world where violent, brutal conflict has been going on and no-one gives a damn. But then there aren’t
    organised, well-funded, patient, persistent, enemies who have been working for decades to highlight these countries’ failings, to
    exaggerate them, to incite hatred against them.

    Our enemies perceive our weak points and they work on them. You can’t blame them. They haven’t been able to win on the battlefield, so they
    are doing their best in the battle for hearts and minds.

    Israel continues to attract criticism not (only) because it provides defensive responses, but because anti-Israel criticism is now an industry.
    Quite nice, decent people in England have said to me: Look, our church, our union, the charities we support, our Member of Parliament, the UN,
    they all side with the Palestinians. Are you telling us that they are all wrong and you are right? (I won’t give you my answer here!)

    It has got to the point where people don’t really care if Israel is “under attack”, or that “our citizens and state are in danger “. Many will think –
    well, serves them right. Allowing the Palestinian narrative to take over – i.e. the Jews stole their land and ethnically cleansed its inhabitants –
    is dangerous for us.

    All countries need allies, and court goodwill, even greater powers than Israel. That’s why there is a BBC World Service, why the US and Russia broadcast
    constantly, and why nations want to put up a good show in international events.

    We aren’t starting from a good place, but we have to get our PR act together. The Israel Govt (whoever or whatever that may be after
    March 17) will have to put realistic funding into an effort which may be every bit as vital as an IDF unit in terms of protecting Israel.
    Individuals and organisations will have to stop protecting their own patches and their own egos, and look at where we miss out and
    where we go wrong.

    Feedback from the UK and Ireland during the recent conflict showed that often Israeli spokespersons come over as unfeeling and
    arrogant – not defensive! We need to examine this.

    We can’t turn public opinion overnight – it’s taken a long time to get to this point, and there will be a long way to go back – but we can bring
    some very simple facts to public attention.

    1. The Palestinians don’t want a two state solution.

    For some reason, this seems to be a well kept secret. The Palestinians themselves state, very obligingly, that they
    want the lot. That should be mentioned in every article and broadcast, and people who posit a two state solution should be
    challenged.

    2. Their programme is racist

    Hamas spell it out, Fatah, especially Abbas himself, are a bit more circumspect, but not much.

    3. A Palestinian state is not likely to be secular and democratic, or to bring about peace.

    4. The heart of the problem is not settlement building, but the refusal of the Arab world including the Palestinians
    to recognise Israel’s right to exist.

    5. It’s not an Israel-Palestinian conflict (which makes Israel Goliath), but an Israel-Arab (and wider) problem (which
    makes Israel young David).

    6. The points Noga Arbell puts so tellingly:

    … make full use of the equating of Hamas and ISIS, and organization seen as a strategic threat to the West,
    … make clear that to protect themselves they need to ensure that Israel, which stands on the front lines
    of the Islamist assault on the Western world, needs to be defended.

    No doubt many of the recipients of this email will be able to add their thoughts and suggestions to the above list.

    I don’t think we have a great deal of time. At the moment, many who sympathise with the Palestinian cause, and think
    they should have a state, still don’t think that the state should be established instead of Israel. They don’t want to
    see the Jewish State destroyed. This may change.

    We have to make every effort NOW.

    There are some excellent people around, brave, knowledgeable, articulate. Great. There are effective campaigns,
    such as Honest Reporting, Stand With Us, UN Watch, etc. (no need to name them all), and important, useful sources of
    information such as PMW and MEMRI.

    But we can see that whatever we have in place, it just isn’t enough, and we have been losing ground for a considerable time.

    Let’s not just exchange words and ideas, let’s get together and lobby to change Israel’s public diplomacy efforts for the better,
    both in Israel and in the diaspora.

  15. email rec’d.

    Yes, this is great. Often the best response to criticism like this is to just ignore it and not give it any significance. There are countries in the world where violent, brutal conflict has been going on for years and no one is focusing on atrocities because they know that these countries don’t care about criticism and will just continue their brutal violence, often using child soldiers killing other children. Israel continues to attract criticism because it provides defensive responses that partially justify and publicize the accusations. They give the accusations a significance that they don’t deserve, especially if the defense is coming from a high level spokesmen. Israel should just say, “We are under attack, our citizens and state are in danger, and we will continue to do what we have to do to protect our citizens and welfare of the State of Israel.” However, people like Alan Baker should continue to write articles that refute the lies and historical revisions coming from the Arabs, so that people will know the truth. Alan Baker’s defense of Israel is great, kol hakovod.

  16. email received.

    I’ve been trying to say this for years. Do Russia, France, Greece, New Zealand need to explain themselves as if to apologize for everything they do? No way.
    Hasbarah = apologetics.

  17. @ NormanF:
    Your analysis is entirely correct, Norman. And the way Russians handle their enemies is one of the reasons I respect them more than just about any other Europeans, either in Western, Northern, Southern or Eastern Europe.

    It is also one of the reasons I respected Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin as the greatest leader in the long history of the Russian state and nation. I truly don’t give a damn about how many Bolsheviks he bumped or how many others he put to work in the Gulag Archipelago. When Hitler’s legions came to the gates of Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad, there was only one that that counted. That was the numbers of T-34 tanks and artillery pieces could be manufactured at Tankograd, the great armaments-manufacturing and steel-making complex at Chelyabinsk, and how many tough fighter and bomber aircraft could be manufactured in other plants all across eastern Russia and western Siberia. If he, the national leader, or his armies, or their sources of supply had faltered anywhere or for any reason, Hitler and his Nazi murderers would have taken and held the whole country, and there would not have been any remaining Jewish refugees to come out of Europe after the war, because the Nazis would have killed every last one of them.

    If Putin is half the great man that I think he could be, he will restore that grand and great name to the Russian city built along the lower Volga river, the site of the greatest and most terrible battle in history: Stalingrad.

    And do I want to see the Russians take back their Russian-populated parts of eastern and southern Ukraine? You can bet your ass I do.

    Power is all there is, or ever will be. Either you have it or you don’t, because it is the one thing in the world that can’t be faked.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  18. @ ArnoldHarris:
    The concepts you mention are the only ones worth adopting for us. The enemy must be terrified by us. It used to be that way until the Peresite infestation took over.

  19. @ NormanF:
    We are in the same wavelength. My commanding officer while I was in Tzahal was one terrible, fearsome fighter, Druse. He lead us into the Lebanon I war and we made sure that the enemy would never forget it. We won! Since Oslo the “rubber bullet” generals took over. They now reach “cease fires”.

  20. As all of you who read my comments almost certainly know by now, I always have thought that propaganda is a useless effort to make up for weakness in purpose or policy, and as such, when applied to a national or state cause, is an equally useless replacement for national will as an embodiment of state power.

    If you have power, and are willing to use it in support of what should be the national will of the reborn Jewish nation, then you don’t need hasbara. And if you don’t power, or you have power but lack the will to use that power, which is more likely in the case of the present-day State of Israel, then you will lose in any event.

    The government and a major proportion of the Knesset voters of Israel, irrespective of every good thing that they claim is being accomplished, act like nothing more than assholes who want to be beloved. And they seem to want this more strongly than they want to be powerful, strong, and safe.

    As for the struggle against the local Arabs: Instead of reading about how a carload of Arabs attacked and firebombed a Jewish-owned car, critically injuring a young girl and killing her father. The truth is, I turn my attention away from this, because I would much prefer reading about how a carload of Jews attacked a totally innocent Arab family and killed every fucking one of them with submachine gun fire. Does reading that make me sound cruel? I sure as hell hope so, because that’s the way I feel. You will never win this war unless and until you learn how to terrorize your enemies, to the extent that they would go to any lengths to avoid coming into conflict with any of you.

    That also goes for the young yeshiva bocherin, whom I am led to believe would rather get slaughtered then to learn how to kill, and to do just that in any circumstance that threatens them with personal injury, which almost always means death in the Middle East context.

    The more power you have, and the greater the extent to which you will be respected, and the greater the degree to which you are respected also implies the greater the extent to which you will be loved.

    Sounds perverse, doesn’t it. Well, remembering life on the streets of Chicago when I was a kid, it sounds perfectly normal to me. In any case, no matter what the hell any of you think about these matters, that is exactly the kind of person that the Jews of the future must learn to be, if there is to be any Jewish future.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  21. Shmuel,

    See my comments on the “Straightforward Message” thread. If you’re in the right, you don’t need to explain why you’re right; its self-evident.

    Only Jews believe if they’re not loved, they must capitulate. The Russians are not loved these days and they’re toughing it out. Being loved is not high on their list of priorities.

  22. As you may have noticed I never touch the “hasbarah” subject precisely because I agree with the writer. Very good article.