Hearts, minds, and infowar

To introduce my recent post about the coming Durban II excrement-throwing event, I quoted Ami Isseroff’s remark that “Israel is losing the battle for hearts and minds“. Everyone should read this.

Speaking of hearts and minds, particularly of college students, we note with outrage the coming of Israeli Apartheid Week on March 1 to universities and colleges in 49 cities, from “Al-Quds” to Waterloo, Ont. “Mark your calendars”, say the organizers with undisguised excitement, “we are really going to show the stinking Zionist yahud something this year!” (OK, I made up the last part, but they did say “Mark your calendars”.

And we could also mention the fact that

Some 210 groups, including the PA, have urged the [International Criminal Court] to deal with the matter [of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza] and the ICC’s prosecutor has said a “preliminary analysis” is underway. — Jerusalem Post

Isseroff has written a follow-on to his piece today (“Battle for hearts and minds — why it is important“), in which he says,

The signs of the Israel’s image problem are so clear, and the effects so obviously pernicious, that denial borders on behavior pathology. In the space of a week, following Operation Cast Lead, Time, Newsweek and the New York Times published the sort of reports about Israel that in former times one would expect from the Syrian government newspaper Tishreen or the Egyptian extremist journal Roz el Youssef: atrocity stories bordering on blood libel, published without verification and without reserve. These are not fringe journals in Europe, but the heart of USA journalism that used to be solidly on the side of Israel. Today they unapologetically distribute propaganda not for the moderate PLO, but for the genocidal Hamas. This alone should have raised alarm bells in every Israel advocacy group, in the Israel Government Press Office, the Office of the IDF Spokesperson and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was instead virtually ignored, as just the latest step in an inexorable progression.

He goes on to describe other symptoms of pathology, mentioning the conspiratorial views about the ‘Jewish lobby’ held by Chas Freeman, Barack Obama’s nominee for a key intelligence post  (who, by the way, until recently has been a paid lobbyist for Saudi Arabia).

I also wrote about Israel’s image problem a couple of weeks ago (“Israel must become an information superpower“). The problem, in my opinion, has reached a critical point, a point at which it endangers the existence of the state almost as much as the military threats against her.

To be more precise, the process of delegitimization facilitates the destruction of the state by making it difficult or impossible for Israel to  respond to threats that she is, in a military sense, able to neutralize (and I include the Iranian nuclear program here).

The effect on the behavior of important players like the EU and the US is obvious. But in addition, the economic and psychological damage done to the state itself by the multiple ‘information attacks’ is great. Some of the consequences are a growing avoidance of military service, emigration, etc.

Israel expends huge amounts of human energy and money on military preparedness, and little of either on information. Where is the Israeli Al-Jazeera? Where is the vigorous defense against war crimes charges? Where is ‘Hamas genocide week’?

One reason that this is difficult is because so many Jews have accepted the views of the other side and actively work to promote anti-Israeli and even antisemitic views. Naturally these Jews are given a platform and megaphone by the enemy!

And it’s also true that those who wish to eliminate Israel have managed to portray the conflict as a religious one, Jew vs. Muslim. Since there are 1.4 billion Muslims and perhaps 12 million Jews in the world, the effect of this is obvious.

And finally, it doesn’t help that Israel is rudderless, without a government that can claim even a little popular support since the failed Second Lebanese war in 2006.

Nevertheless, ‘difficult’ doesn’t mean ‘impossible’.  Israel has done things before that were difficult, very difficult. It’s time for Israeli information efforts to move beyond the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover.

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2 Responses to “Hearts, minds, and infowar”

  1. ME says:

    Since the Durban II posting, the US has determined not to attend the UN’s conference on Racism.

    Canada has opted out as well.

    I thought that was mentioned somewhere else in this post.

    At any rate, maybe the strides to inform the public about Israel and the Middle East is having greater success than anticipated.

    In some instances, however, keeping on guard means always working to inform against outlandish claims and baseless claims of violations of international law by Hamas and PA supporters.

  2. Shalom Freedman says:

    The apparent U.S. rejection of the Durban II planned anti- Semitic festival is encouraging.
    On the other hand you are right about the deteriorating level of Journalism generally. I am astounded not only in reading wirepress reports which are viciously anti- Israel but also op-eds in the best newspapers, written by hate- filled ignoramuses. We now face in terms of the media globally a traditional Jewish problem of being outnumbered. What is alarming above all is that this is also happening in the one place it most counts, the United States.
    ‘Hating Israel and working for its delegitimization’ has become the new cause of the Radical Left and the Islamic Jihadi Right.
    I believe that we can do better than we are doing. We have many very competent and persuasive writers on our side, but even Michael Oren, Daniel Pipes, Yossi Klein – Halevi, Rafi Israeli, Mark Steyn, Gerald Steinberg, Manfred Gerstenfeld, David Horowitz, P.David Hornik, Caroline Glick, Barry Rubin, Martin Kramer, and many others cannot compete with the legions of the Left and the Islamists.