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The Hasbara World of Spin

Sanitising Israel and the Jews

  • Introduction

  • This is a brief series of 7 articles dealing with the efforts of some parts (at least) of international Jewry to sanitise information and public perception about Israel and the Jews.

    The first two parts deal with this topic in general terms while the following articles are specific to China - the opium trafficking and the destruction of China's Yuan Ming Yuan.

  • The International Santisation of Israel

  • According to various European press reports, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, has ordered its embassies in 10 European countries, including the UK, each to recruit 1,000 members of the public to act as advocates for its policies in a new public relations offensive aimed at improving Israel's standing in Europe.

    The have been instructed to identify 1,000 people by mid-January to act as "allies" to Israel. One source described them as "friends who are willing not just to receive (Jewish) messages but to actively promote these messages".

    These individuals – likely to be drawn from Jewish or Christian activists, academics, journalists and students – will be briefed regularly by Israeli officials and encouraged to speak up for Israel at public meetings or write letters or articles for the press.

    The Israeli government, military and various embassies are adept at using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to promote material. Organisations such as Bicom, the Britain Israel Communications Research Centre, in the UK and the Israel Project in the US, which describe themselves as independent, are dedicated to promoting Israeli policies.

    This extensive organisation is part of the source of the power of the Jewish lobby, and you would have to be blind to not see it, and a fool to deny its existence. The Jews aren't the only ones with lobbying power of course, but the Palestinians unfortunately have none. It's an extensive propaganda campaign to 'cleanse' Israel's image abroad.

    The objection to this is that it is used to cover up brutality and atrocities on the part of the government of Israel or of various groups of Jews during various periods of history. There is no evidence that all Jews everywhere are in favor of this, but I'm not aware that many of them file complaints either.

    There is also Hasbara, the extensive worldwide volunteer brigade that trolls the internet for related topics as well as being active in other forums, with the same intent.

    And of course there is the extensive rewriting of Wikipedia mentioned below, as well as the countless individuals claimed to use Google Alerts to notify them of any mention of Jews or Israel anywhere on the Internet, and who then proceed to 'sanitise' the topics.

    In the case of China and Chinese history, there seems to be far too much of this being done. It appears that opportunities are taken to attack China even without provocation, perhaps to set the stage for the specific "blame the victim" denunciations that will emerge later in relation to opium, the Yuanmingyuan and other issues.

  • The Hasbara Call to Action

  • Lest you think this Hasbara organisation is a figment of someone's imagination or a "conspiracy theory", or just more "anti-Semitism", read the text in the photo-capture below. Hasbara is real, it's worldwide, and it's pervasive.

    A recruiting ad by Hasbara, seeking Jewish volunteers to "sanitise" the image of Israel and the Jews on Wikipedia and in the British Media. There are many more such ads.
    And it isn't only on Wikipedia where we can observe this activity. On many online forums, such as those on most news websites which permit reader comments on various news articles, we see enlightening examples of this behavior.

    One of the worst is The Economist, where even simple statements of fact about Israel or the Jews will almost always produce a flood of attacks on the poster.

    The statements themselves are generally true and inoffensive, and are seldom if ever denied. Instead, these sympathisers almost invariably engage in ad hominem attacks in clear attempts to discredit the persons making the statements.
    It is not uncommon for a post mentioning that, for example, Jewish interests control virtually the entire Hollywood movie scene, to result in the poster being disparaged as 'anti-Semitic', a Nazi, a holocaust-denier, or even a 'self-hating Jew'.

  • The Hasbara Handbook for Jewish Students

  • The following is taken from the "Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus", published by WJUS - the World Union of Jewish Students. It is sponsored by the Education Department of the Jewish Agency for Israel. You can read the entire document here.

    Here is a list taken from the original document mentioned above, of Hasbara's Seven Basic Propaganda Devices.

  • Name Calling

  • Through the careful choice of words, the name-calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol. " . . . to try and get an audience to reject a person or idea . . . without allowing a real examination of that person or idea.

    It is important to be aware of the subtly different meanings that well-chosen words give. Call "demonstrations", "riots".

    (Ed: labelling people as "anti-Semitic", "Nazi Jew-hater" or "conspiracy theorists" can be quite effective.)

  • Glittering Generalities

  • Name Calling in Reverse. Use positive phrases to lend a positive image to Israel (and the Jews).

  • Transfer

  • Taking the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another; for example, speaking in front of a United Nations flag.

    (Ed: also, "transferring" the vile reputation of one thing or person to that of your opponent in a debate.)

  • Testimonial

  • Enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous. Quotes can work as a testimonial even when taken out of context.

  • Plain Folks

  • This technique attempts to convice the listener that the speaker is a 'regular guy' who is trustworthy.

  • Fear

  • Warn of consequences of ignoring the Jewish message. Listeners have deep-seated fears of disorder, which can be tapped into by creating false dichotomies. Listeners are too preoccupied by the threat to think critically about the (opponent's) message.

    "Fear is easily manipulated . . .Fear is difficult to counter . . ." (Emphasis mine.)

  • Bandwagon

  • Most people, when in doubt, are happy to do what other people are doing. Subtle manipulators can play on this desire. Often it is possible to create the impression of extensive support . . . through poorly-conducted opinion polls.

    Ed: Expressions like, "Most people believe; no thinking person would accept . .; everybody knows", are good examples.

  • Hasbara Methods in Action

  • In the following sections, we present for your examination a sample of the kinds of statements presented, claims made, and methods used, to spin history and derail dialogue.

    We will begin with a description of some of the methods Hasbara recommends using, some taken from reader comments and other posts, and some from the Hasbara Handbook and other news sources.

    With so many of these Hasbara posters, either Jewish individuals or sympathisers, the pattern is consistent. First, just deny the facts. It didn't happen. If the audience accepts that, no further argument is necessary.

    If the target doesn't buy into it, they introduce a few twisted facts interspersed with groups of irrelevant topics and claims, in the obvious hope of confusing the issue and derailing the debate by sending people off on irrelevant tangents and making them lose sight of the original topic.

    If that isn't successful, they introduce dozens of so-called historical facts, some of which may be true - usually out of context, and misleading - but many of which are false or misrepresented. Too many are simply fabrications.

    In one instance, in an article on Israel's economy, a Jewish poster told us that Israel's arms industry was insignificant and that Israel's single major industry was the production of generic medications - of which Israel was by far the world's largest, and that if not for Israel everyone in the world would be paying far higher prices for medicines.

    The above comments are totally false; every word is a lie, an approach that is not infrequent.

    And they mix these with false claims that attempt to pass the blame to the victim. Usually, these claims are difficult to refute because it's seldom possible to prove that something never happened. Of course, these sympathisers present no evidence to support their claim.

    And finally, mixed in with all the other babble, is one or more serious and quite dirty attempts to dehumanise the victim, introducing all manner of denigrating insults, aspersions, accusations, in an obvious attempt to convince readers that the victim was primitive and sub-human and, while maybe he didn't exactly get what he deserved, we needn't feel sorry for him, either.

    And in this way, little by little, they try to sanitise their own involvement in affairs, and normally finish by dumping all blame on the victim and accusing you of being anti-Semitic, while removing the Jews from conscious consideration.

    That's the plot. Let's deal with this one step at a time.

    An article mini-series in 7 parts:

  • Part 1: Trashing the Truth - Sanitising Israel and the Jews
  • Part 2: Trashing the Truth - General
  • Part 3: Trashing the Truth - Wikipedia
  • Part 4: Trashing the Truth - Shanghai
  • Part 5: Trashing the Truth - Opium
  • Part 6: Trashing the Truth - The Yuanmingyuan
  • Part 7: Trashing the Truth - The Yuanmingyuan

  • You might also care to read: Muzzling Truth, Cleansing Israel and Rewriting History