Israel losing PR war

02.04.03

An e-mailed article from Hasbara Israel asks the question: Do you agree with those who say that the Palestinians are doing a better job than the Israelis on the public relations front?

Professionally trained and disciplined Palestinian spokespeople usually present themselves as a ragtag bunch of amateurs. They meet Western reporters in modest Jerusalem or Ramallah hotels or against the backdrop of refugee camps. This tactic has been very successful in reinforcing the stereotype of their side as the aggrieved underdog. An interview with a Palestinian in an alleyway with burning tires and bullets flying overhead captures the imagination of editors who place a premium on entertainment value–the human drama unfolding.

In contrast, when foreign correspondents meet with Israeli officials, they are often greeted by slick government spokespeople at fancy hotels, state-of-the-art media centers, or modern offices. Israeli spokespeople labor under three false notions: first, that formal, professionally packaged P.R. is persuasive; second, that lengthy explanations of the history of the conflict will be more effective than sound bytes in convincing the public of the rightness of their cause; and third, that the moral correctness of their action and cause is self-evident to any rational, fair-minded human being. Along these lines, Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres once said: “Good policies are good P.R.; they speak for themselves.” Unfortunately, Peres was wrong. A lie can be more powerful than the truth, if you market your lie well enough for people to believe it.

The Q&A that follows is a chilling look into the infrastructure of deceit that has made the Palestinians the media darlings of the decade. Quite a chilling read. I’ve posted the rest of the article up so have a look.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter 02.05.03 at 1:59 AM

The problem is not PR. The problem is stopping the hemorrhage of innocent blood by Arab terrorists. Since whatever Israel does will be condemned, I suggest transfering the entire hostile Arab population to any or all of the 21 Arab countries. There they can live with their brethren in dignity under the local dictator rather deal with the constant humiliation of being ruled by a democratic Jewish government. It seems to me that if the Czechs could kick out 2.4 million Sudatenland Germans, there is no reason why the Jews can’t expel an equally hostile Arab population. It should be noted that the Arab states expelled their Jewish populations without a peep from the U.N. or any world power. Of course population transfer, if internationally agreed upon, is perfectly legal. Look at the transfer of Muslims and Hindus on the Indian subcontinent in the middle of the 20th century, and the transfer of Greeks and Turks at the beginning of the century. In fact, in the later case, the diplomat who negotiated the transfer won the Nobel prize.

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2 Alan Anderson 02.05.03 at 6:28 AM

While the Hasbara email gives a convincing account of Palestinian deception, I think that criticism of Israeli PR is a little unfair. It’s a bit like all the people who complain that economic globalisation is not well-marketed. At the end of the day, you can’t get your message across if people are JUST NOT LISTENING.

European and Leftist antagonism towards Israel is principally driven by anti-Americanism and what in Australia we call “tall-poppy syndrome”; the desire to knock down those who are successful. As long as Israel remains relatively prosperous and democratic, and enjoys the support of the US, it will be condemned by idiots like the leftist uni students I know, who idolise Arafat in blissful and wilful ignorance of his atrocities. We shouldn’t give up on Israeli PR, but we shouldn’t expect it to work miracles.

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3 Sam 02.07.03 at 4:34 AM

I think the problem here at university is that people take political views just to fit in. As someone mentioned here once, people don’t go around saying they’re pro-Indian or pro-Pakistani. So why else would someone be willing to take such a firm pro-Palestinian stand when they know next to nothing about the issues, other than to fit in? When you try to disagree with people like this with logical arguments, its like you’re attacking them personally, they just close their ears.

I’ve had good friends say “I can’t stand Zionism” or that the UN is justified in discrimnating against Israel. So I don’t know what to do, I just stopped talking about Israel with anybody cause its too painful to hear that kind of hatred. Its kinda frustrating because I’d like to educate people, and I’d really think its important to talk to open-minded Arab kids in the spirit of clearing up miscommunications, instead of yelling at each other. We have to make sure we Jews don’t become so entrenched also. We shouldn’t resort to Palestinian Authority-style (or CSU-style) tactics just because they do.

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4 Peter 02.08.03 at 9:29 PM

Hillel is launching a major campaign on college campuses called the “101 Campaign.” It is a 101,000 postcards with quotes about Israel from famous people and facts about Israel and the Middle East. http://www.hillel.org

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5 Andre S 02.10.03 at 3:12 AM

Yes, absolutely, Palestinian PR is brilliant while Israeli PR is inept. Israelis have unfortunately been assuming all along that truth will always prevail and that Palestinian lies and crimes should be ignored.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Israel should show images of Palestinian crimes DAILY. They should film Palestinian children being taught to kill at school, they should show Palestinians lynching their own, they should show Palestinians brain-washing kids into becoming killers and murders. They should show how Arabs expelled Jews, they should show how antisemitism is a routine occurence in all Arab countries and Arab press. They should broadcast the violent and racist sermons in mosques and so on and so on.
There is an entire generation of Arab and Palestinian leaders who make up the most vile and racist bunch that has ever lived. Yet, thanks to Arab propaganda and Israeli ineptitude, the people are heroes worldwide and accepted at the UN as the injured party. It is time Israel takes back the initiative and tell the world who and what they are really dealing with.

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6 Me 02.10.03 at 1:54 PM

Andre,

Your ass-backwards look at the world is proof positive that Israeli propaganda does in fact work, however far it ventures from the truth.

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