Israel's image takes a beating as the media favors Hamas thugs. COMMENT by Ami Isseroff.
27/02/2009

  Israel is losing the battle for hearts and minds24.02. 2009
http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000662.html
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Zionism & Israel Center http://zionism-israel.com
Though it is painful to admit it, it should be obvious to all by now that Israel is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of international public opinion, not just in Europe, Asia and Africa, but in the United States. This is evident both in the recent reaction to Operation Cast Lead and in long term trends. This loss is not like losing a Eurovision song contest or not getting the Oscar for Waltz with Bashir. It has, and will have, grave strategic consequences for Israel's well being, international posture and security.

The odious effluvium of the recent unjust human rights campaign against Israel following the Gaza operation (see here and here) is added to the already broad stream of "anti-Israel" criticism. That will almost inevitably be joined by the stinking effluent of the upcoming Durban II Conference on Racism.

It is besides the point, inaccurate and ineffective to protest that this campaign is the result of "anti-Semitism." Surely, the campaign against Israel feeds on anti-Semitism and is fed by it. The deranged insistence that Israel must pay for the blood of Christ, the demented discourse about the supposed role of the Mossad in 9-11 and in the Mumbai massacre, and the mounting torrent of drivel painting the Federal Reserve System as a plot by International Jew Bankers are not "legitimate criticisms of Israel" and must in themselves be exposed as vicious racism. But they are not the main issue or the main danger, but only a sideshow.

The fact is that Israel has allowed its enemies to seize the initiative and dictate the agenda, to move the debate from central issues to diversions and irrelevancies, to establish fiction as fact, and to make the general public forget what is really at stake. Benjamin Netanyahu, a democratically elected politician, is painted as an ogre equivalent to Adolf Hitler, who must be boycotted. Conversely, Khaled Meshaal, a terrorist gangster and head of the genocidal Hamas, is painted as a fighter for freedom against oppression whose legitimate struggle should be recognized and whose organization must be considered a "partner for peace."

The horror of the Mumbai terror attacks should have been exploited to the full to explain to the world the undying enmity of Islamist radicalism for Judaism as a symbol of Western democratic values. Instead, most of the commentary asked "Why the Jews?" out of ignorance of the program and ideology of al-Qaeda and radical Islamism (aka "Jihadism"); Jewish groups focused on trying to get human sympathy for the martyred rabbi and his family and for the Chabad group. Islamist groupies were allowed to generate bogus hysteria that the Zionist conspiracy was trying to foment a war between India and Pakistan. In reality, al-Qaeda is at war with the Pakistani government and the rest of the world.

Israel is losing the support of the world over the Iranian issue. Iran's quest to kick the United States out of the Middle East has been skilfully made into a problem of Israel, Israeli nuclear weapons and Israeli interference with Palestinian "rights." Nobody hears the crowds screaming "Death to America" and the thugs burning the pictures of President Barack Obama (that's right, Obama, not Bush). U.S. policy can now be held hostage to the plots of these demented hoodlums, and officials will presumably move to appease them. Iran succeeded in portraying itself as the hapless victim of an arbitrary boycott campaign by evil Zionist neocons. It is forgotten  that the clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program was in place before the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is fatuously supposed that the election of Khatami or a different reformist figurehead to the Presidency of Iran will solve all the problems and eliminate the threat posed by Iran.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the sacrifice of disengagement is largely forgotten by the world. The central issue, that Hamas is a genocidal organization that repeatedly declares its intention to destroy Israel, is ignored. Instead, the entire debate has been moved to the bogus issues of "proportionality," Israeli "war crimes" and "human rights." We allowed the enemy to choose the battlegrounds and the weapons. We should not be surprised therefore, when they gain victory after victory. Not even Herr Joseph Goebbels would have been able to divert the entire public debate in Europe about Nazism to the question of whether allied reprisals for V II raids were "disproportionate" or the fact that the Germans suffered more casualties than the British, or to get Americans to boycott Britain because of the "war crime" committed in the firebombing of Dresden. But that is precisely what has happened in the Israel versus Hamas propaganda war.

Owing to an insistent campaign that has not been answered by any government or other advocacy, it is now falsely established in the public mind that the Annapolis talks failed because of Israeli "inflexibility" about Jerusalem. The truth is the opposite. Mahmoud Abbas announced and admitted on November 11 2008, that Israel had offered a compromise on Jerusalem but the Palestinian Authority rejected it, because the Palestinians insist on obliterating Israeli rights in East Jerusalem. It is not compromise that the Palestinian Authority demands from Israel, but rather unconditional surrender. The facts are not aired by the Israeli government because of internal political problems. It would have been politically disastrous to admit that Israel offered a compromise on East Jerusalem as that would raise a clamor on the Israeli right. It would have been equally disastrous to admit that the Palestinian Authority has been totally intransigent in current negotiations, because that would rob the Kadima party of the centerpiece of its political platform - peace with the Palestinians. Evidently, the powers that be estimated that the Israeli people are too stupid to understand that Israel must always strive for peace both in fact and appearance, no matter how hopeless the cause may seem. That policy has been a foundation stone of Israeli diplomacy since 1948 and is integral to mainstream Zionist ideology.

There are many other examples that bring home the fact that Israeli and Zionist legitimacy are suffering a continuing debacle. It is pointless to deny it and maladaptive to helplessly bemoan it as "anti-Semitism" or as "unfair" tactics of the other side. All is fair in love and war. Nobody should expect genocidal terrorists and racists and their advocates and running dogs to act fairly. We are not children. The Israeli government foreign ministry has failed. The Zionist and Jewish NGOs have failed. The pro-Israel volunteer advocacy network has failed. We are not doing our job effectively. We are reaching the wrong people with the wrong message or not getting the message out at all. Many of us don't seem to know what the message ought to be.

The situation is not beyond hope, but we will never even begin to solve the problem if we do not recognize that it exists and that it is quite urgent. It is far more important than petty internecine rivalry which absorbs the energy of Israel advocates. It will not be solved by appealing to the anti-Semitism issue. The anti-Semites already know they are anti-Semites and are quite proud of it. The others truly are horrified by the accusation and really do not understand why saying that "Zionists control the world" is anti-Semitic. It will not be solved by appeals to Jewish opinion. The enemy is not other Jews. The rising tide of opinion against Israel is not, in the main, related to anything that Israel did or did not do, since the aim of the campaign is to destroy Israel. The "critics" will criticize Israel no matter what Israel does. Every action, whether it is disengagement, or peace offers, attacks on terrorists or building of settlements, whether it is totally right or totally wrong, will be turned into grist for the propaganda mill of enemies, if we let them do it.

The nature of urgent corrective measures that should be taken will be the subject of future articles here. The problem should also be subject to detailed public scrutiny and debate. It is not a minor problem, but rather a central strategic issue for Israel, a threat that can only be countered by a massive effort of attention, ingenuity and resources.

Ami Isseroff

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