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April 10, 2015

Why Hasbara is Necessary

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The director of CAMERA's Washington office, Eric Rozenman, has written a prescient article, "The Theory and Practice of Hasbara," that was published by the Jewish Policy Center in inFocus magazine. Rozenman emphasizes the important role played by Hasbara not only in countering immediate misinformation but in reversing the pervasive influence of the Palestinian narrative that portrays "Zionists as imperialists, Jews as colonialists, and Palestinian Arabs as oppressed, indigenous people."

Rozenman recounts that in September 2000, when the Second Intifada broke out, the Israeli government's media arm was caught flatfooted. Nothing exemplified this more than the Mohammed al-Dura affair. This was the incident where a Palestinian boy was caught on video tape pinned against a wall with his father during a gunfight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists and allegedly shot and killed by Israeli fire.

According to Rozenman,

Images of the "martyred" youngster, Mohammed al-Dura, traveled across the globe. They turned up as partial, implicit justification in an al-Qaeda montage of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City's World Trade Center, in images of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's beheading and in mass marches in European cities that featured "Down with Israel" and "Death to the Jews" banners.

Much later, after independent examinations cast doubt on the French television account and even whether al-Dura had been present during the firefight, an IDF re-enactment concluded that if any bullets struck the child and his father, they quite likely had been fired by Palestinian gunmen. This was far too late.

Since then, Israel has taken significant steps to improve its response to opposing propaganda. Rozenman describes the "nearly real-time checks instead of indefinite 'we'll get back to you' handling of press queries" and rapid web postings along with utilization of social media releases and battlefield video showing the IDF calling off attacks when civilians were present. In this way anti-Israel charges ranging from exaggerations to inventions were not allowed to "take on lives of their own" in the media.

Rozenman also addresses the broader question of why Hasbara is necessary. He asks and then answers, "so who is hasbara for?"

First, for supporters of the Jewish state. At a minimum, it's vital to prevent demoralization. Positively, it informs and encourages.

Second, for the undecided. Without a constant, sophisticated information effort—always factual and appropriately targeted—many originally in the "I don't know" category may succumb to delegitimization campaigns.

Only third come news and other communications media, from encyclopedia and textbook publishers through Hollywood to specialty outlets dealing with everything from religion to travel and fashion... [W]ithout it, Americans would end up with European-style media such as Britain's The Guardian and Independent, self-righteous in their hostility, eager enlistees in the anti-Israel psych war.

Rozenman adds that there is an often ignored fourth reason.

It is the past and the future. As George Orwell wrote in 1984 about the Party's compulsion to revise history, tossing inconvenient truths down the memory hole: "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."

Read the whole article.

Posted by SS at April 10, 2015 03:22 PM

Comments

Israel's pr may have awoken from its fairy tale long sleep but it still is not good. Real time checks are ok but FAR from sufficient. What MUST be opposed are the lies,historical,legal and others such as "arabs lived in loco since thousands of years" rubbish. Of course NOT but that must not just be said but REPEATED EVERY DAY! Jews are the indegenous people who lived there for thousands years. Internatiola law has confirmed Israel's rights(well,jews' it is the same thing) in San Remo,Sevres,article 80 of the UN chart etc. These are the main LIES the leftwing tries make the public believe. Parliaments have NO right to meddle in Israel's domestic policy,they can vote whqat they want it is all RUBBISH with NO legal value. On the contrary it is an illegal meddling. This is the kind of thing it is so important to repeat not the fact a soldier shot a terrorist which is of interest too but of slight importance. Also the leftwing is reposible for at least 1 ww if not 2 already and they are provoking a 3rd one withe their meddling. It is important to say it because they are trying tomake believe Israel is responsible for...wars!

Posted by: robert davis at April 14, 2015 04:49 AM

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