Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A Solution For Winning Israel's 'Propaganda War'
Under the rather gloomy title of "Losing Israel", Bill Warner in American Thinker has an interesting article on how he sees Israel as badly losing the propaganda war to its enemies.
The primary problem he sees, aside from general Israeli ineptitude in this area is a tendency among many Jews in both Israel and the West to avoid labeling political Islamism and jihad as a threat, and he extends that to the West in general.
There's some truth to that, but I think the real reason, at least when it comes to Israel and Left leaning Jews in the West goes a bit deeper. And paradoxically, I see that as making the problem much easier to deal with, at least when it comes to Israel.
One thing that becomes quite apparent about many Israelis over time is that they have something of an inferiority complex. Undoubtedly, some of that comes from being a new country, but I think more of it comes from living under siege for years surrounded by people who would cheerfully murder you and your loved ones if they got the chance and call it a Holy Act.
This same mindset also causes Israelis to be fairly insular, especially given the widespread attempts by the West to buy peace and appease Islamic fascism at their expense. Anyone showing even a small amount of sympathy or understanding of Israel's plight, particularly a non-Jew, is greeted with open arms.
In order to be liked, Israelis on a national level will go to extraordinary lengths and make concessions far beyond what most countries would even consider feasible or even sensible.
The same thing is true of Left leaning Jews in the West. They want to be liked, to stay friends with their ideological comrades. That means that (assuming they care about their brethren in Israel at all) they can be easily manipulated and fooled by someone making facile remarks about being 'committed to Israel's security' even when the words and deeds don't match up in the least.
That's the crux of the problem.
Fortunately, the solution is fairly simple. Israel and Israelis simply need to begin doing what every other nation does - start operating from the perspective of their own self interest. And that includes taking steps to affect the perception people have of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Here's an example of how this might work.
Israeli are incensed, and rightfully so at the libelous Goldstone Report commissioned by the woefully misnamed UN Human Rights Council. The report as submitted essentially accuses the IDF of war crimes during their response to intensive rocket attacks on civilians by Hamas while absolving Hamas of targeting civilians, using civilians as human shields, committing atrocities on political opponents and making genocidal threats against a member nation.
What the Israelis did was to refuse to cooperate with with the openly biased investigators and to castigate them for a bogus and hypocritical effort.
But instead of that, let's suppose the Israelis quietly went to the UN General Secretary Ban K. Moon and told him in no uncertain terms that if the UN was going to ignore Israel's rights in the matter and try to make the country an international pariah merely for defending themselves, Israel would no longer have any incentive to cooperate with the UN on matters like UNRWA, Palestinian relief or UN access to Gaza or the Palestinian occupied areas of Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank).
If Israel had done that, the Goldstone report would likely not even have been commissioned, let alone approved by the UNHRC and sent to the Security Council. It would have been quashed.
If you think I'm mistaken, ask yourself: anyone hear about any member of Syrian Dictator Basher Assad's regime going to jail because of the UN tribunal over the Hariri assassination?
One of the prime weapons used to deligitimize Israel is rabidly biased reporting from the Middle East by the media. There are whole organizations who do a fine job attempting to combat this by monitoring the coverage and bringing it to a new manager or editor's attention.
But imagine if the Israelis treated the foreign media like the Palestinians do?
What if foreign journalists were required to get Israeli approval based on their prior leanings before getting press credentials and to hire Israelis approved by the government as stringers to do their reporting for them 'for the journalists' own safety?' What if the Israelis imposed certain restrictions on what photos or film could be taken? Imagine if the implicit threat for biased coverage was lack of access to the story? As Eason Jordan, ex-of CNN confessed, it worked for Saddam Hussein for years. And it works for Hamas,Iran and a great many other entities today.
That's how many countries treat reporters there to cover unrest or other stories deemed important to their nation's image.
This sort of attitude also works when it comes to national policy.
For instance, when President Obama tried to insert himself into the Kashmir issue on Pakistan's side, India didn't make any pretense of negotiations or concessions. They were quite plain about telling Obama literally that he was barking up the wrong tree' and to keep his nose out of their affairs when it came to Kashmir.
India is an ally of America, it's economy is even more affected by their relationship with the US than Israel's is, they buy a lot of armaments and other strategic materials from America and they even have a major deal with the US designed to increase their civilian nuclear power.
Yet when they forcefully replied to an attempt to co-opt a matter they considered part of their national security, they suffered absolutely no penalty for it and the Obama Administration very noticeably decided not to make an issue of the matter.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's refusal to knuckle under to Obama's demand that Jews stop building homes and infrastructure in areas like Jerusalem that Obama unilaterally decided the Palestinians had a claim to had a similar effect, and more of the same kind of Israeli response in certain areas could very well have similar results.
It's all in the attitude.