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Hasbara: Why does the world fail to understand us?

A short discussion of the Israeli term used to describe the ongoing, ever-growing, national propaganda effort

A sign at an event hosted by "The Israel Project" (photo: Noam Shiezaf)

I have used the word “Hasbara” pretty freely recently, and so do more and more people, without stopping to explain what it actually means. The use of this term has been widespread in Israeli Hebrew for many years now, usually with a positive meaning, though not always in a positive context – there is a never-ending debate on “the failure of Hasabra” – yet I often wonder how many people outside Israel actually know it, let alone understand what it stands for. So here are a few words on Hasbara.

Hasbara is a form of propaganda aimed at an international audience, primarily, but not exclusively, in western countries. It is meant to influence the conversation in a way that positively portrays Israeli political moves and policies, including actions undertaken by Israel in the past. Often, Hasbara efforts includes a negative portrayal of the Arabs and especially of Palestinians.

The Hebrew meaning of the word Hasbara (הסברה) is “explanation” (the term “propaganda” has a different word in Hebrew – תעמולה). I believe that the popular use of this term also reflects a widespread public notion that a better effort of explaining Israel’s actions to the world will generate better understandings of Israel’s policies, and more international support. A less common use of the verb “to explain” (להסביר), which has to do with welcoming someone, was used in the past by the Tourism Ministry in campaigns urging Israelis to show a hospitable approach to tourists.

Hasbara represents only one side of propaganda, as it is mostly aimed at foreign audience. The use of the Hebrew term Hasbara in a critical context, rather than “propaganda” or “public diplomacy” (the title of the Wikipedia entry on the issue), is necessary, because Hasbara efforts are wider and their goals much more ambitious than any similar activities taken by all democracies and most non-democracies. Hasbara targets political elites, opinion makers and the public simultaneously; it includes traditional advocacy efforts as well as more general appeals made through mass media, and it is carried out by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, lobbying groups, private citizens, students, journalists and bloggers.

The Israeli government encourages all citizens to actively engage in Hasbara. Recently, it even distributed brochures with talking points to all Israelis traveling abroad (a Hebrew web version of the campaign can be viewed here). Israelis are asked to engage in politically-oriented conversations with their hosts and contacts abroad. Rather than discuss the Palestinian conflict, they are advised to cite Israeli technological achievements, mention environmental policies and take pride in notable cultural works. The West Bank is to be discussed – under its ancient Hebrew name, Judea and Samaria – as a potential tourist marvel.

Until a few years ago, the main government agency carrying out Hasbara work was the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Media and Hasbara department. Under Ehud Olmert’s government, and more so under Netanyahu’s, there was a considerable increase in Hasbara efforts. Prime Minister Netanyahu has launched for the first time a Hasbara Ministry, headed by a government minister (the current hasbara minister is Yuli Edelstein). The Hasbara Ministry includes a situation room, which operates in five languages; it has a new-media team that can reach, according to the office’s web page, 100,000 volunteers on social media networks, as well as many bloggers.

UPDATE: The Ministry of Hasbara is hiring! “Advantage to minorities and representatives of the gay community.” More details here.

On top of the Hasbara Ministry, there is a Hasbara branch in the Prime Minister’s Office (in charge of both local and international PR). The IDF Spokesperson has an international arm with a new media branch, which makes Hasbara efforts and does not limit itself to providing information on army activities. Other government agencies, such as the Ministry of Tourism or the Ministry of Culture, also take part in ad-hoc Hasbara activities. There are other agencies that have gradually moved into greater involvement in Hasbara – perhaps the most notable is The Jewish Agency, which used to serve as a liaison to Jewish communities abroad, and now trains its envoys to American campuses to engage in propaganda.

Under Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the Foreign Ministry was instructed to take a bigger role in the Hasbara effort (a popular rant against the foreign ministry for many years was that it deals with peacemaking instead of advocacy, and Lieberman has promised to solve that). I was contacted awhile ago by a private agency that won a contract with the foreign ministry; they were looking for professionals to play hostile journalists in simulations with Israeli diplomats.

Much of the Hasbara work carried out outside official channels – but with heavy official influence – is carried out through non-governmental organizations such as Stand With Us, The Israel Project and more. These organizations produce resources – booklets, slideshows, flyers, maps, polls and more – and spin news events in ways which are favorable to the Israeli government. A lot of thought is put into influencing opinion-makers: journalists and bloggers are flown on a regular basis to tours in Israel, accompanied by government officials, while Israeli representatives – former diplomats, journalists, soldiers and officers – are brought to give lectures at campuses, think-tanks, conferences and other public events around the world. Organizations also try to influence the grassroots level by granting Hasbara fellowships to international students in Israel.

—————–

There is an interesting tension in Israel between the tremendous efforts put into Hasbara – Israeli advocacy is probably the most widespread and ambitious state-run propaganda effort in the world today – and a sense of “Hasbara failure” in the Israeli public. Rants about the fact that Israel is misunderstood and complaints about the incompetence of those dealing with Hasbara are often heard in the popular media. In my opinion, “the failure of Hasbara” is actually a failure of policy – especially, but not limited to, that relating to the occupation and the control over the Palestinians.

Understanding this point could shed light on a self-defeating element in the Hasbara battle: as Israel loses interest in finding a solution to the Palestinian question that would meet the minimal moral standards of the Western World – either “one man one vote” or complete Palestinian sovereignty over a contiguous territorial unit – Hasbara efforts are just likely to draw more attention to the ongoing Israeli failure to live up to the promise of its talking points, and will shed more light on the ever-growing gap between the model, picture-perfect democracy reflected in brochures and the grim reality on the ground.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. AYLA

      thank you, Noam. I learned a lot here about a term I use pretty freely in my 972 comments. Sadly, I agree with your beautifully-put conclusion.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Sami

      There are 4 million ex-Israelis who are rotting in godforsaken refugee camps in nearby Arab countries. Those Israelis are the Arabs who were expelled or kept from returning back to their homes after the war ended. If these ex-Israelis attempt to return to their homes in Israel, they could be shot or face lengthy imprisonment. Those ex-Israeli Arabs were expelled so Arabs remaining inside Israel will no longer become a majority, giving Jewish Israelis a decisive majority and political control in any election. To the best of my knowledge, no western liberal democracy ever resorted to expelling an “undesirable” ethnic group so the dominant ethnic group can become a majority. This is why no one buys Israeli Hasbara.

      Reply to Comment
    3. I enthusiastically endorse SAMI’s point. What sort of democracy is it that expels half or more of the electorate and will not let them return?

      AS TO HASBARA: Many Israelis and their supporters in the USA seem to believe that much anti-Israeli feeling is anti-Semitism, and not motivated by any rational or principled reaction to (or rejection of) Israel practices w.r.t. Palestinians. TO THOSE WHO THINK THIS I ASK: what could possibly be the use of Hasbara? Will anti-Semites change their beliefs after they hear an EXPLANATION? (Like what? Like: “It’s all OK, because we are not really Jews after all” ??).

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      Shakespeare said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

      Israel protests too much. There are thousands of hasbarists, official, covert and volunteer, who leap with zeal on any comment that might be seen to contradict the official Zionist party line. They are so many, and their protests so often use the same wording, that it’s obvious a coverup is underway.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Bosko

      “There are 4 million ex-Israelis who are rotting in godforsaken refugee camps in nearby Arab countries. Those Israelis are the Arabs”
      .
      Now, there is propaganda for you. “Ex Israelis” huh? A gross misrepresentation of who those people are, what happened to them and why …
      .
      Now, you guys will call me a Hasbarah troll. But I am happy to be called that even if you are not interested in getting things explained to you. I still feel the need to counter act your ever increasing efforts of anti Israel propaganda. And I am happy to be labeled as a Hasbarist for doing it.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Bosko

      “There are 4 million ex-Israelis who are rotting in godforsaken refugee camps in nearby Arab countries. Those Israelis are the Arabs”
      .
      Now, there is propaganda for you. “Ex Israelis” huh? A gross misrepresentation of who those people are, what happened to them and why …
      .
      Now, you guys will call me a Hasbarah troll. But I am happy to be called that even if you are not interested in getting things explained to you. I still feel the need to counter act your ever increasing efforts of anti Israel propaganda. And I am happy to be labeled as a Hasbarist for doing it

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jamie

      I know of many people who do buy Israeli Hasbara, and they’re generally American Jewish youth.

      Many Jewish high schools introduce Hasbara via the David Project, which is kind like the Anti-drug awareness programs most schools have, but instead of focusing on how the world wants you to do drugs and you must say no, the world wants to destroy Israel and you are the only person who can stop this from happening. Most of these students go on to spend a year volunteering in Israel or going to yeshiva or seminary, and most begin to see Israel not through their own eyes, but that of the David Project.

      In addition, you mention the Hasbara Fellowships here, which are run Aish HaTorah, a religious organization. This is particularly problematic, because I’ve had friends go on these trips. Most of them are Jewish university students who have been on Birthright and want to come back to see “The Real Israel” but still on an expenses-paid organized trip. Instead, they visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs and none of Hebron’s surroundings, and hear speakers like the leaders of the Gush Etzion council. It’s only a ten day trip, but surrounded by this constant racist and ultra-nationalist rhetoric, it can really influence a person.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Bosko

      ” the world wants to destroy Israel and you are the only person who can stop this from happening”
      .
      More simplistic propaganda. The world does not want to destroy Israel but many Arabs still do. What about the world? Most of them don’t care one way or the other but many of them would go along with the idea if it would guarantee their oil supply for the foreseeable future.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jamie

      I have been forced to take David Project classes in the last year. Here, we learned about how the BDS movement is just another attempt by anti-Semites to destroy Israel. As you probably know, it has taken off the most in Western Europe, the US, South Africa, and Canada. So yes, the world.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Piotr Berman

      “I am an Arab woman. … I can run for office.”

      Video of Haneen Zoabi amicably interacting with other members of the Knesset would drive the point of the poster even better.

      Reply to Comment
    11. RichardNYC

      @NOAM
      You forgot to explain that the term is also used to accuse critics of anti-Zionism on +972 and other blogs of being part of a Jewish conspiracy. Since according to you, Hasbara is “… carried out by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, lobbying groups, private citizens, students, journalists and bloggers”, I guess anyone who happens to agree with Israeli policies are properly judged in absentia and convicted of being part of the Jewish propaganda machine. I am against the occupation and believe its end should begin now, unilaterally. But this characterization is borderline antisemitic. I recall you expressed an interest in understanding the American Jewish community’s relationship to Israel in your visit to Busboys. Well understand that describing what American Jews think and say using conspiratorial undertones will earn you no sympathy. Not a productive move as far as ending the occupation is concerned. Better to stick to substance.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Piotr Berman

      The Balad MK told the tribunal that Israel is an inherently racist state.

      Schneller filed a complaint against Zoabi to the Knesset Ethics Committee, and said that “the time has come to find a way to revoke Zoabi’s citizenship.”

      “Zoabi makes every effort to disconnect herself from the country, and the government should answer her wishes,” he said. “Israeli Arabs must denounce this rotten apple that is identified with Hamas and Hezbollah.

      “Anyone who supports this criminal is announcing that he wants to give up his Israeli citizenship and join Israel’s enemies,” Schneller said.

      (Last week in Knesset) I find the train of thought of Mrs. Schneller a bit confusing: should EVERYBODY defending Zoabi be strip of citizenship and deported, or just Arabs? Or Arabs who do not denounce and Jews who defend?

      In Hasbarah-speak, this is “rambunctious democracy of Israel”, where loyal Opposition and the Majority can compete in designing the best way of ridding the Homeland from traitors, followers of degenerate art, deviants (no? just the Arabs?)

      Reply to Comment
    13. There is no need to do a propagandistic overkill:
      “Hasbara efforts are wider [than propaganda] and their goals much more ambitious than any similar activities taken by all democracies and most non-democracies.”
      Really?
      Hasbara in its present usage or abusage means in this context propaganda, not more and isn’t very singular. Must everything about Israel or Jews special?
      Ever heard of Agitprop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agitprop) and its US counterpart?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bosko

      You guys are not even aware of yourselves. Most of you in here never tire of spreading endless tirades of half truths and out of context negative stories about Israel. And you are not alone. Yet you resent attempts by Israel to explain (as Noam translated, the word Hasbarah means – Explain), or put into perspective the myriad of simplistic accusations against it on sites like this.
      .
      In my opinion, the dismissal of Hasbarah as propaganda, itself is subtle propaganda. How? You guys are trying to set up the word “Hasbarah” as a negative label. By doing so, you can and do dismiss explanations and alternative points of view that you don’t like as “just Hasbarah”. Instead of having an honest debate, you use a label to dismiss points of view that you don’t like. You want propaganda? That is propaganda.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Bosko

      Here is an example …
      .
      Listening to most of you guys, anyone not in the know would be fully convinced that Israelis just love the occupation. They just love doninating and oppressing Arabs. But is it really so? Of course not! Some of us come along and need to explain that the occupation did not just happen one bright and sunny morning when Israelis decided to take over Arab lands and dominate. It happened because of a war that was forced on Israel by the Arabs in 1967. That is fact. Not propaganda. And the occupation continues because many Israelis don’t want to accept the conditions that the Arabs want to impose on Israel in exchange for a dubious peace. Are we who think like that correct? Maybe, maybe not. But we genuinely feel that way. We feel that accepting the conditions that the Arabs are trying to impose would be a trap which would result in worse outcomes than the current occupation. Does that mean that we are happy about the occupation? Of course not. It means that we consider it to be a lesser evil.
      .
      Hasbara is putting those facts in perspective. Because if we don’t, most people would believe your propaganda that Israelis are inherently evil people who love the occupation and who just want to lord it over the Arab people.

      Reply to Comment
    16. ToivoS

      The meaning of words change over time according to how they are used. So if Bosko’s example of hasbara –

      “It happened because of a war that was forced on Israel by the Arabs in 1967. That is fact. Not propaganda.” –

      is typical then hasbara should now be perceived as not just propaganda but also outright lying. We have been exposed to so many other “explanations”: “The Arabs voluntarily evacuated Palestine in 1948″, “a land for a people in a land without people”, “Israel made the desert bloom”, “Israel has offered the hand of friendship to the Arabs for over a century”. If not outright lies then just severe distortions of the truth that this must today be incorporated into the meaning of “hasbara”.

      Reply to Comment
    17. alessandra

      Finally I understand what do you mean with “hasbara”. A few weeks ago I tried to get into the debate here (without realizing this was a mine field, with very expert people and completely focused on Israel-Palestine topics only, something which I’m not) and I was labelled by someone as hasbara. Suddenly i felt very ignorant (I actually am on this subject) and I looked for the meaning of this word on the net. and I found out what it was, and that no, I’m not an hasbara. By way it was very interesting to me to know about this sort of propaganda, which in my opinion is not reaching Italy: probably it is very strong in the US where there is a big Jewish community, but not so in Italy or in southern Europe.
      On the other hand in many cases I have to confess it is difficult to get into the subject of all 972 posts because I do not know well your local history. I feel, anyway, that many 972 authors are very critical about their own country Israel. and that the majority the posts you write are negative news on Israel policy (ok, ok I’m not the one who can teach something… we had Berlusconi till 2 days ago), but are there any chance here to read one positive or at least not so sad news about what’s happening there? are there people of good will also between some Israelis ot not? I’m wondering so because I have some friends there and they are not racist or haters or liking the warmonger politics over there. Sorry for being too long and boring, but I’d like to know better and understand.

      Reply to Comment
    18. alessandra

      I forgot to say that we had a few months ago an exhibition in Milan about Israel and its scientific discoveries, technologies, arts and so on. It was in piazza del Duomo (and I guess it was part of this hasbara campaign). By the way there were protests by pro-Palestinians activists and associations, and protest against the Mayor of Milan for allowing this event (asking him to do the same with Palestine). so, I have to correct my earlier post. We have hasbara activities (before coming here I did not know they may be called like that), but not so strong such as in the US.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Bosko

      “It happened because of a war that was forced on Israel by the Arabs in 1967. That is fact. Not propaganda.”
      .
      Which bit of that is outright lying Toivos?
      .
      The fact that Nasser ordered the UN peace keepers out of Sinai?
      .
      The fact that Nasser lined up his troops along Israel’s borders and promised a final solution?
      .
      The fact that Nasser blockaded the straits of Tiran which he knew full well was casus belli for war?
      .
      The fact that Syria and Jordan lined up their troops along Israel’s borders and also promised a final solution?
      .
      The fact that as a consequence, Israel too had to mobilize it’s citizen army and that there was a stalemate?
      .
      The fact that as a consequence, Israel’s economy ground to a halt and Israel could not wait for the stalemate to continue indefinitely?
      .
      Which of those facts are lies Toivos?

      Reply to Comment
    20. ToivoS

      Bosko you probably sincerely believe what you say is the truth — that doesn’t matter. The narrative was begun by an Israeli propagandist in 1967 who knew what was true. It started as a lie or, at least, a major distortion of the truth and that is what has shaped the popular meaning of hasbara today.

      Most people who frequent this site are aware of the true history so it would be a waste of my time to engage you in a debate — with you it will go nowhere.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Piotr Berman

      See this story:

      http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/149702#.TsFDl4BZgcV

      As far as I understand it, Israelis LOVE occupation and they explain foreigners, like US congresscreatures that they should love it too.

      Then BOSCO says that Hasbarah can explain that Israeli do not love the occupation. May be it can, but it does not. Apparently, the only problem with occupation is that is all too often misinterpreted, and usually with ill will and prejudice. Occupation is beautiful, Jewish life at the fullest, connecting with 3000 year old roots (or 4000, details differ, research is ongoing), crates industries, universities, theaters, great real estate opportunities, the choice of outdoor sports not known anywhere else (killing sheep, burning non-existent olive trees that belong to non-existing people — ah well, the sports are usually not emphasized).

      And it is sad, really, that Israel needs secure borders, and these are not easy to demarcate. For example, settling for Afghanistan as the eastern neighbor would have pluses — no more mullahs threatening beautiful Israel — and minuses, another dangerous neighbor. We should leave it to Israelis to figure out.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Bosko

      “so it would be a waste of my time to engage you in a debate — with you it will go nowhere”
      .
      Now there is an example of propaganda. Make a generalised accusation and then pretend that “everyone who matters” knows the truth. Debate is not propaganda. I am prepared to debate what you think is the truth. You are not. So I’ll leave it to others to decide who is guilty of propaganda.

      Reply to Comment
    23. ToivoS

      Bosko I think we agree on one thing. What you write is hasbara. You believe it is truthful while I do not. The eventual definition of that term will likely be determined by the truth or not of your narrative. Like I said initially, the meaning of words in any language is determined by what the people using those terms thinks it means. The Israelis have introduced that term into English so us English speakers have a stake in determining a modern definition.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Bosko

      Hey Toivos
      You accused me of perpetrating a lie. I presented facts which to any reasonable person would suggest that what I said was not a lie. But you just side step those facts and continue to assert (you do know the meaning of the word “assert”, don’t you?), that my fact is a lie. But you refuse to back up your assertion. That, my friend, is a form of propaganda in anybody’s language.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Bosko

      Piotr Berman
      That reference link is your idea of proof that Israelis love the occupation and love lording it over Arab people? I guess in your next attempt to prove your case, you will point at how in Israel itself, within the green lines, Israelis enjoy a good life, their universities and their industry. And you will call that too as loving the occupation?
      .
      I guess your definition of occupation is different to mine. My definition is being in areas that are acknowledged by both sides, at least most of both sides, as territories that would belong to an independent Palestinian Arab state after a peace deal. I am sorry, Piotr, but I don’t see Ariel in that category

      Reply to Comment
    26. Bosko

      Toivos
      Here is one summary of what happened in 1967 …
      .
      “Nasser, apparently concluding that he had the force necessary to get even, required the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force that had been present in the Sinai since Suez. The UN complied, and Nasser then proceeded to move 100,000 troops, and 1000 tanks to the Israeli border, at the same time closing the Straights of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Syria also mobilized its forces during May, and Israel had been brawling with both Syria and Jordan during the previous year. This set the stage for the “Six Day War”. ”
      .
      http://www.britseyeview.com/ebook/1967/
      .
      Which bit of that contradicts what I said above? I know … The person who wrote that is a Hasbarah troll too. Right? Wrong!!! Because if you want, I can give you literally hundreds of similar summaries by sources that you can’t easily smear as Zionists. Just take the trouble to read non partisan non revisionist history books, Toivos!

      Reply to Comment
    27. aristeides

      Bosko – you talk like the wifebeater: She made me do it! Egypt MADE Israel attack it. Egypt FORCED Israel to attack it.

      .
      This is why people despise hasbara. It’s medacious to the core.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Bosko

      Aristeides
      Despising Hasbarah does not make Hasbarah a lie. I don’t expect understanding from the likes of you about the fact that Israel simply had no choice but to launch a preemptive strike rather than wait indefinitely for Nasser and his allies to withdraw their troops from Israel’s borders after ordering the UN peace keeping forces to scram. I don’t expect the likes of you to be sympathetic to the fact that Israel could not afford it’s citizen army to be indefinitely mobilized while Israel’s economy would have collapsed. Nor could I expect the likes of you to understand that the closure of the straits of Tiran by Nasser constituted an act of war. And the fact that Nasser was under no illusions about it. He understood that fact. But hey, Aristeides, that still does not make me a liar. Which is what Toivos alleged …

      Reply to Comment
    29. ToivoS

      “But hey, Aristeides, that still does not make me a liar. Which is what Toivos alleged ”

      Naw that is not what I alleged. I think you believe that stuff. You are just propagating lies that earlier hasbara generations fed you. I think you just happen to be naive dupe.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Bosko

      Toivos
      Whether you call it MY lies or me propogating somene else’s lies, is not the problem. The problem is that you haven’t proved that what I said are lies. Nor can you because any non revisionist history book backs up the plain facts that I presented to you, no matter how much you try to dismiss those historical facts.
      .
      No matter how hard you try, you can’t substitute assertions for facts.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Bosko

      Toivos
      The bare minimum that anybody even half reasonable would expect from you, is to tell me which of the facts that I presented to you are lies? Some of them? All of them? Or what? Otherwise, your claim that my facts are lies is a deception in itself. It is just YOUR assertion and one cannot take what you say seriously.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Bosko

      Toivos
      The bare minimum that anybody even half reasonable would expect from you, is to tell me which of the facts that I presented to you are lies? Some of them? All of them? Or what? Otherwise, your claim that my facts are lies is a deception in itself. It is just YOUR assertion and one cannot take what you say seriously

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      Sorry for the duplicate message but my first attempt to post seems to have failed. I got a proxy error message but then it turns out that my first post was posted successfully after all.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Piotr Berman

      “That reference link is your idea of proof that Israelis love the occupation and love lording it over Arab people? [...] I am sorry, Piotr, but I don’t see Ariel in that category [occupied]”

      So which settlement you DO see in that category? Of course, “Israeli do not love occupation”, they deny it exists. At least, this is the explanation patriotic Israeli give (not all Israeli are patriots in that sense, but the government is working on it, plans are in motion). Nobody is oppressed, there are just some TRESPASSERS who are more tolerated, coddled really, than they deserve. By why should we dwell on the unseemly aspects if we can marvel the sound of Symphonic Orchestra, or enjoy cell phones which we would not have without Israeli genious — according to Netanyahu.

      Reply to Comment
    35. ToivoS

      I had no idea it would be so easy watching Bosko flopping around like a fish isolated on the deck. Poor boob, he has no idea what is happening to him. I guess that is the fate of Zionism.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Bosko

      “I had no idea it would be so easy watching Bosko flopping around like a fish isolated on the deck. Poor boob, he has no idea what is happening to him. I guess that is the fate of Zionism”
      .
      Ok Toivos, now you are wasting my time. You are just being trivial.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Bosko

      “So which settlement you DO see in that category?”
      .
      None of the major settlement blocs. You will never get Israel to ethnically cleanse nearly 500,000 of it’s citizens from their homes. Land swaps is the only viable compromise. The sooner both sides will accept that fact, the sooner there will be peace and an end to the occupation.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Bosko

      “…. isolated on the deck”
      .
      Hey Toivos, do you think that if I was the type who is worried about being isolated, I would post here?

      Reply to Comment
    39. Nilus

      Who finds the obvious factual mistake in the brochure that Noam mentioned in his last sentence? On page 15. It seems as if it were American Jews who produced this brochure….:-)

      Reply to Comment
    40. aristeides

      “The likes of me”, Bosko, understands perfectly well that you are telling lies, whether your own or lies that you have been duped into believing. What you are serving up are not “facts” as you claim but excuses. (She made me do it.) In fact, the best definition of hasbara would have to be “excuses.” The likes of me have gotten pretty good at recognizing excuses when we hear them. It’s always the same old thing, evading and denying responsibility for Israeli actions. It’s never Israel’s fault. It’s always someone else’s fault. They made us do it. The dog ate our homework.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Piotr Berman

      Bosco: the tour for American congressman included a chat with the rabbi of Har Bracha who explained that in the course of his studies he had reached the conclusion that Christians who support Israel can be welcomed rather than treated with suspicion. The report I am linking to finds these findings a “pleasant surprise”. Har Bracha is definitely one of the settlements that we should love, according to the explanations in the story. It does not seem to be a “major settlement”. Were it is how these settlers describe themselves.

      Har Bracha is situated on the top of Mount Grizim overlooking the Arab city of Shechem(Nablus). Mount Grezim is the historical place where Joshua brought the Jewish nation when they entered the land of Israel. On this mountain the nation received all the blessings, and on the opposite mountain, Mount Eval, the curses. Har Bracha is no more than 3 miles from Shechem, which is the largest Arab city in Israel. On the other two sides we have the villages of Burin and Huwarah, both an easy walk away. Even given our difficult location, the settlement is growing all the time. [they reached 90 families]

      We are located about 45 minutes from Petach Tikvah to the west, and an hour to Jerusalem in the south. For people without a car the only way to travel is to hitchhike, and then traveling can take up to 3 hours. There are no direct buses anywhere from here. There is a local bus than comes in a few times a day, however that only helps getting out of Har Bracha in order to catch a ride elsewhere. At least 50% of the residents do not own cars. In any case both driving and hitchhiking have become increasingly more dangerous.

      A few months ago we expanded our borders to the neighboring hill to the west. Mobile homes were moved out there with a generator, two couples with 2 children each and another newly married couple moved out there. More mobile homes have since been brought in and there are now approximately 10 families on this outpost. According to the Oslo agreement all land not occupied by the Jews will be handed over to the Arabs, therefore it is urgent for us to expand as much as possible at this time.

      Reply to Comment
    42. Bosko

      Aristeides
      You are projecting again. You are describing precisely your side of politics and you pretend that it is Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Taoist

      “…Hasbara is putting those facts in perspective. Because if we don’t, most people would believe your propaganda that Israelis are inherently evil people who love the occupation and who just want to lord it over the Arab people…”

      REGARDLESS, most people already believe that not only the occupation, but the intentions of the Israeli messianic wing-nut establishment, and their ever-shrinking supporters in Israel, the US, and the world at large, are evil.

      Remember Dov Weisglass’ “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger?” That’s Israel’s general policy on the Palestinian people, that’s the daily life for the Palestinians, the narrative that Hasbara zombies have to translate for their narrow-minded (and narrowing) audiences into “we-are-the-lesser-evil” crap, repeat it ad nauseam a-la Goebbels, as you did it again for the n time above (what a capacity for redundancy!!), the bigger the lie and the more times repeated, the more who will believe it.

      But as the song goes, you can fool some people some time, but can’t fool all the people all the time.

      The world is waking up to the Hasbara, and the Israeli propaganda machine at-large, understanding the ways they work, identifying their MO, finding them in the media, online and printed, in forums, chat rooms, news comments, and recognizing the Hasbara agit-prop style from real news/comments, etc.

      The need for the Hasbara has increased ten-fold in Israel, with son-of-Stalin Lieberman funding its own FM Hasbara program, their importance growing in proportion to the crumbling of Israel and Netanyahu’s government credibility and support abroad, now extended to the domestic realm.

      In reality, and by the law of unintended consequences, the Hasbara octopus is the best ally of the enemies of Israel, the backlash for Israelis being the belief in a baseless construct, a lie of messianic proportions, which translates into a sort of Medieval mindset, with monsters and demons surrounding their settlements, and with the Seven Heads converging to destroy Israel, all of them Arabs.

      Fear and lies.

      That’s the Hasbara main currency.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Bosko

      Piotr Berman
      And your point is that ALL Israelis feel that way?

      Reply to Comment
    45. Bosko

      Taoist
      “the Hasbara octopus is the best ally of the enemies of Israel”
      .
      Really? From what the rest of your post said, I thought Israel has no enemies. I thought you were saying it’s all just fear and imagination.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Bosko

      Now I had three people, Toivos, Aristeides and now our inimitable Taoist, telling me that what I said about the 1967 war are lies. Even though I presented several facts to support my point of views, none of them has come out and told me which of those facts are lies.
      .
      It’s symptomatic of how some of those who wish to demonize Israel argue their case. They use generalisations and innuendo. Challenge them on it and they become hostile, aggressive and they ridicule those who disagree with THEM

      Reply to Comment
    47. aristeides

      Bosko, let’s begin at the beginning. What is a fact? It is NOT a fact that “Israel was forced to attack Egypt.” Unlike, say, the indisputable fact that Israel launched a sneak attack on Egypt. The question of whether anyone is FORCED to perform a certain action is a non-factual one. It’s a judgment. And usually a lie, as in the case that you cite. “They forced me to do it” is almost always a lie. “I had no choice” is a lie. Specifically, an excuse. Go into a court of law and try to lay that kind of excuse on the judge. An excuse is a lie used to cover up the fact that someone made a choice to act, as Israel chose to act by attacking Egypt.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Bosko

      Give me a break Aristeides. I’ll list ALL my facts again put them together and tell me with a straight face that those facts, put all together, just constituted an excuse “to launch a sneak attack”
      .
      The fact that Nasser ordered the UN peace keepers out of Sinai?
      .
      The fact that Nasser lined up his troops along Israel’s borders and promised a final solution?
      .
      The fact that Nasser blockaded the straits of Tiran which he knew full well was casus belli for war?
      .
      The fact that Syria and Jordan lined up their troops along Israel’s borders and also promised a final solution?
      .
      The fact that as a consequence, Israel too had to mobilize it’s citizen army and that there was a stalemate?
      .
      The fact that as a consequence, Israel’s economy ground to a halt and Israel could not wait for the stalemate to continue indefinitely?
      .
      I guess if you call wanting to survive as just an excuse then you can justify your assertion, that it was just an excuse. But most normal people will dismiss your reasoning.

      Reply to Comment
    49. Bosko

      Aristeides
      I guess, according to you Israel should have just acted as it did in 1973 and it should have allowed the Arabs to attack first. Even in 1973 such an act of gross negligence nearly cost it it’s existence. But it did not because it had strategic depth at that time. It had all of the Sinai as a buffer zone to absorb the effects of the initial attack.
      .
      In 1967, had Israel waited, then first it’s economy would have ground to a halt. Then if the Arab armies would have attacked first, Israel would have been sliced into two parts within literally minutes, remember the narrow 1967 borders which are about 15 km at it’s narrowest point, near Israel’s main population centres?
      .
      And Aristeides, I won’t even mention the civilian casualties that Israel would have incurred had it allowed Egypt to attack first because you would call that too as just an excuse.
      .
      By the way, in the case of Jordan, Israel wasn’t the first to attack it. Jordan attacked Israel first. And guess what, that’s how Israel ended up occupying the West Bank.

      Reply to Comment
    50. aristeides

      Now, Bosko, the usual tactic used by hasbarists, which is to say excuse-makers and liars, is to cherry-pick facts out of context that they think support their side of the case. But you can’t even manage to do that.

      .
      What are your “facts?” “that Israel simply had no choice but to launch a preemptive strike rather than wait indefinitely for Nasser and his allies to withdraw their troops from Israel’s borders” “that Israel could not afford it’s citizen army to be indefinitely mobilized”

      .
      Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that a preemptive attack can actually be justified. This justification would have to require an imminent and unavoidable attack from the other side. But your “facts” show no such thing. They show, if correct, that Egypt was NOT about to attack Israel but rather to “wait indefinitely to withdraw its troops.” It was Israel, according to your “facts”, that acted out of choice, to attack a nation that was not attacking Israel, that in fact held its positions for weeks without attacking as Israel dithered and argued about what to do.

      .
      Here’s the fact, Bosko. Israel had a bunch of aggressive generals who WANTED a war and took the opportunity to start one, against the advice of such leaders as Ben Gurion. What the actual facts show is that it was a war of choice, a politically-motivated war, an unnecessary war, an aggressive war.

      .
      And what all this has to do with the occupation and your feeble attempt to justify it, is entirely unsustainable.

      Reply to Comment
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