Binyamin Netanyahu, a leader of the Likud Party and an ex-prime minister of Israel had an interesting advice to Israelis. He was giving a speech to dozen's of Likud Party members in Eilat. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz (7/15/01) reported that: "...giving his audience a bit of advice on how to deal with foreign interviewers (Netanyahu said): 'Always, irrespective of whether you're right or not, you must always present your side as right.' "
This callous disregard for the truth can and has been advanced by many methods including: gentle pressure, overwhelming editors with letters and phone calls (e.g. from members of ADL, CAMERA, or "HonestReporting"), direct propaganda from influential media members (Zuckerman, Friedman, Saffire etc), removal of other voices, and character assassination. In this chapters we detailed methods used to obfuscate reality. These methods results in shortcoming the public by providing it with biased and incomplete coverage of events that are important. An informed public becomes quiescent when its government sends billions of dollars to aid Israel in its relentless effort to create more facts on the ground and thus finish off the process started in 1947 of removal of a native people to sustain an ethnocentric Jewish state.
The eminent British journalist Robert Fisk said that the last taboo subject in American mainstream media is the US government support of the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine. Indeed one wonders why European citizens and governments view with increasing alarm the increased atrocities against Palestinians in the occupied areas. This compares to the relative ease of continued funding of Israeli policies by our government to the tune of billions per year. The answer is clearly related to the organized and well-funded PR campaign to shield the American public from reality.
This PR campaign (called Hasbara in Hebrew) allows occupation and colonization to become invisible to the American public while dramatizing only one of the symptoms (the e violence against Israelis). According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, only 4% of US networks to report that the violent events are actually taking place in an area illegally occupied by Israel in contravention to International law. The reporting transforms the illegal Jewish -only settlements/colonies built on Palestinian land into benign "Jewish neighborhoods" and makes Israel appear to be engaged in self defense while its occupation army (4th strongest in the world) is busy murdering native people in their own lands, demolishing their homes, and destroying what is left of their economy and infrastructure.
There is also that profligate use of loaded words only when its suits Zionist programs. Words like terrorism and massacre are used when Israeli civilians are killed but never used when the far larger number of Palestinian civilians are purposely killed by Israeli army actions. And yes, purposely as documented by every single human rights organization from Amnesty International to Physicians for Human Rights to B’Tselem. The reporting frequently dehumanizes Palestinians (including the over 2700 victims killed in the past three years) while going to great length to humanize the Israelis and any Israelis killed. The practice of showing great empathy for Israelis while showing complete lack of empathy and outright hostility to the native Palestinians who have lost most of their lands. Six million of the 9 million Palestinians are now refugees or displaced people (some nominally Israeli citizens labeled by Israeli law as “present absentees”). The most flagrant violation is the lack of reporting on the gradual ethnic cleansing and the daily onslaught on Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps. Obscenely some media will report “renewed violence” after periods of “relative calm” when Israelis are killed ignoring the fact that it was nothing but calm for the Palestinians under occupation. Many repeatedly present the myth of Barak’s “generous offer” and “Arafat rejection” when they know that negotiations continued and the offer was nothing more than occupation and apartheid by other names.
These slick PR campaigns ensures that the US is presented as a neutral party trying to find a solution while ignoring the facts that our government paid $6 billion to fund Israeli policies in 2003 and vetoed countless UN security council resolutions that would have put the Israeli government to task for violating basic human rights. These rights include such basic things as the rights of people to live free from occupation and the right of refugees to return. The US even vetoes a resolution in the 1980s to support the Palestinian tax revolt (Palestinian non-violent refusal to pay taxes to fund Israeli military occupation).
A documentary from the Media Education Foundation released recently shows how the Israeli PR campaign used its failures in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon (when massacres were committed) to sharpen and organize itself into a formidable machine of propaganda. The pegs in this machine include the elite concentration of media power, connected political elites (now in the highest position of the US government), Israeli government press offices, American hired PR firms, Israeli consulates, and as a final filter, the so-called media watch groups. The last is the group tasked with harassment of journalists and papers where the tiny amount of "objectionable" material may slip through the matrix of filters. They include groups like "CAMERA" and "HonestReporting".
These methods were described in such books as Congressman Paul Findley's book "They Dare to Speak Out."
The result of this slick and well-funded machine is that cause and effect are reversed. The occupation, colonization, ethnic cleansing and its violence against a largely defenseless native population become identified as a response to native violence. More importantly, the taxpayers in America are prevented from seeing the role their government plays in fostering violence and mayhem in the Middle East. Fortunately, the internet now provides some method of reaching directly the public and hence with all these attempts at brainwashing, over 43% of Americans in a recent poll view Israel as a world threat. It is only a matter of time before the public demands their government stop arming an apartheid state. A good documentary on these issues is http://www.mediaed.org/videos/MediaRaceAndRepresentation/PeacePropaganda
Zionist used (and still use) many other "tools" for direct pressure not covered here:
- using hacking, spam viruses, and worms to perpetuate fraud and do cyber-terrorism. The fraud can be recognized and exposed for what it is, and recipients notified by information security that the intention of this was to discredit activists. Thus it backfires.
- posing as Arabs or Muslims and spouting hateful messages about Jews (this to rally Jewish and other opinion). Again backfires as people discover the fraud and even if it briefly succeeds it does little for the cause of stability and peace and thus backfires on the econom8ic and other fronts (becomes more like the Samson option or at least a self-fulfilling prophecy).
- spreading a rumor about an unverifiable atrocity (e.g. a rape of an Arab women by Israeli soldiers) to deflect attention from a much more sinister crime. Gullible activists spread this to their media contacts and when it is not verified, it creates the illusion that activists spread lies. Again, these things always end-up backfiring because if properly investigated, their origin and their intention becomes glaringly obvious and if left un-investigated, is simply added to the long list of Israeli atrocities (vast majority of them verifiable).
- planted bombs in the 1950s to scare Jewish Iraqis to leave for the "promised land" (see N Giladi's excellent book on the topic titled "Ben Gurion's scandals"). Recent attacks against Jews in France and elsewhere need to be treated with great suspicion.
- masquerading as good activists and looking for opportunities to undermine, gather information, plot sabotage, etc.
- Many other techniques used in the past and still used to day by the same people (Sharon, Shabak, Mossad etc.). See for example Victor Ostrovsky's two books " By Way of Deception" and "The Other Side of Deception : A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad's Secret Agenda."
These tactics many times backfire for obvious reasons:
1) Trying to silence the truth by illegal and illicit means only accentuates the truth and provides great educational opportunity to others (mostly neutral people) to see the viciousness and deceit of self-appointed leaders. There are so many examples of this in history of Palestine/Israel (e.g. Giladi, Ostrovsky, and hundreds of other ex-Zionists who spoke out and attempts to silence them failed) but also in my own experience (one editor who was highly sympathetic to the Zionist cause only changed after a leading Zionist lied to him).
2) Lies and distortions and smearing really pisses most people off. If they are already active, then become more determined to resist and to take direct action. If they were neutral and uninvolved (e.g. recipients of forged messages), they see the victimization of others and decide enough is enough and then get involved.
3) Those people who become worried (about their visibility) etc, may get angry enough and then switch form being visible human rights activists working by non-violent means (free speech, using the pen/keyboard) to underground activities in the shadows which could even go to violent methods. It is far harder to "manage" (as colonialists think) the latter than the former.
4) Psychological studies in the West Bank and Gaza regarding suicide bombings and other violent acts against Israelis demonstrate clearly that the single most important variable is not social status, education, poverty etc but a history of a personal negative experience at the hands of Israeli forces or settlers (family member killed or injured, humiliation of him/herself or immediate family members, etc). While violent reaction is a reaction of a very small minority of Palestinians (most Palestinians continue to resist by non-violent means), it illustrates some of the idiocy of use of force, power, and intimidation to supposedly create "security."
5) The truth has a way of seeping out. Some times, this happens only decades later (as in the case referenced above with the massacre at Qibya). In other cases and in the new era of instant messaging and digital video, it may take only a very short time (e.g. the shooting of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators at Um Al-Fahm). The struggle in the Middle East, as has been amply shown with history, is not determined in 50 years nor in months or hours. After all, power is transitory. The Crusades were in the Middle East for well over 100 years and the Roman empire also collapsed. What is not transitory is collective memory and internalization of national experiences of oppression. This is clear from Jewish own collective experiences and is now abundantly clear from the collective experiences of the dispossessed Palestinians (8.5 million).
6) We all know someone who lost a job to Zioterrorism and ended up doubling their activity against Zionist oppression afterward. Part of it is that humans adapt and part is that they simply now want to get back at those who caused them harm. Some actually were pleased to have lost their jobs to then redirect their lives to do activism (which is what they really had a passion for).
It all boils down to the illusion or mirage of "ability to control information." Indeed this idea of "control" is common to all failing colonial ventures. Bottom line: Zionist aggressive and violent postures have only managed to bring more violence and more misery and this was not limited to the intended victims (the Palestinians) but more importantly has and will continue to backfire. The key to this is that use of lies, distortions, intimidation, and dishonesty has always historically failed due to obvious human nature: resistance, dislike of being treated unfairly, and simple Newtonian laws (e.g. to every action there is a reaction). The catastrophic failure of such tactics in the age of the internet and rapid communications will be quickly enhanced and accelerated.
There are 9 million Palestinians (6 million refugees and displaced persons), still around, still resisting, still surviving (as Mahmoud Darwish aptly wrote in a poems of life and resistance). However, while Palestinian quest for freedom and self determination is a just and noble cause, the usual tactics employed by the Zionists (lies, deceits, power coalition with evil forces, targeting civilians etc) must be shunned not only because they are morally wrong (a noble end does not justify evil means) but because these tactics rapidly backfire and they form the Achilles’ heal for any political or social movement. This is evident now as Zionists make more such mistakes: they target more activists and the public with deceit, lies, and more arrogant power strategies. It backfired and will continue to backfire. It is a small planet and it is difficult for Zionists to hide a crime let alone a massive ethnic cleansing of the kind perpetuated on Palestinians. Not only will it be impossible to hide the truth, but also all gains from the oppression will be reversed and this reversal rapidly accelerated towards the end. As happened with Apartheid South Africa, the violence, lies and distortions accelerate at the end of a chapter in history. The night is darkest just before the dawn!