Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Secrets of Successful Hasbara

"The term hasbara represents the old, archaic perception of transmitting information to the public. The very nature of the word implies the need to explain - lehasbir - to justify, perhaps even apologize. Sorry, but I'm tired of apologizing. We do not owe explanations to anyone. We waited patiently before deciding to act, maybe even too long, and perhaps when we did act, we did not go far enough. It is unacceptable that 250,000 people should live under the constant threat of rocket fire. No country in the world would tolerate that, and neither will Israel... For some reason Israel, which was established with the support of a guilt-ridden world, feels obliged to apologise to that world for its actions and, sometimes, even for its existence. We are the ones feeling guilty - and for absolutely no reason." (Bye-bye, 'hasbara'. Say hello to 'public diplomacy', Nachman Shai, The Jerusalem Post, 5/3/08)

"What is Israel advocacy and, more specifically, what is hasbara? Hasbara comes from the Hebrew verb l'hasbir, which means to explain. Remember the last time you tried to explain to a bank official why you needed a loan? That should give you some insight into what is systematically wrong with hasbara. It is defensive, reactive, and worst of all, it is about 'me'. Advocacy, on the other hand, is based on persuasion. It is based on understanding your audience and finding messages that resonate with them." (David Olesker, Director, Jerusalem Centre for Communication & Advocacy, The Australian Jewish News, 29/8/08)

So, hasbara merchants - sorry, Israel advocates - whether you're selling Israel's 'vulnerability' to yokels in Australia, New Zealand, America, or wherever, always localise it:

"For an Australian it is almost impossible to imagine the smallness of the distances involved. Gilot [sic] was routinely fired on by snipers in Bethlehem several years ago... [which] is like Sydney's Surry Hills being fired on by Redfern... "

(Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan 'advocating' in The Australian- See my 20/1/08 post, Gullible's Travels)

"Would New Zealanders ask their Government to sit idly by while a terrorist organization fires missiles on the towns of Tauranga or Hamilton?"

(Yuval Rotem 'advocating' in The New Zealand Herald - See my 14/2/08 post, Rotem's Revenge 2)

"The Israel Project is launching a major television advertising campaign to coincide with the Republican and Democratic conventions. Two ads - one focusing on Israel's role in creating energy independence from Middle East oil and the other on Iran's backing for terrorists and its suspected nuclear weapons program - will air 1300 times on cable-news networks over the next 2 weeks... The Iran ad underscores the threat of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terrorist group, and begins: 'Imagine Denver under missile attack from nearby Boulder...' "

(Israel Project launches tv ads, AJN, 29/8/08)

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