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.