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Israel Hayom: Manufacturing "consensus" on Iran

When it can’t find national consensus for an attack on or “steps” against Iran, pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom, makes one up…

Israel Hayom is Israel’s most widely read Hebrew-language newspaper. It is distributed for free on street corners throughout the country and is owned by American businessman Sheldon Adelson, who maintains a cozy relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Friday the 25th, Israel Hayom ran the following:

Israel Hayom survey on preventing a nuclear Iran (photo: Screen shot / www.israelhayom.co.il)

The headline reads: In your opinion, would steps implemented by the Western countries prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon?

This question seems, to me, a bit vague. What are the steps? Economic sanctions? A military attack? But the point here is Israel Hayom‘s graphic and the way it seeks to manufacture an appearance of consensus–that is, consensus with Netanyahu and Barak’s hopes to strike Iran.

The results of the survey, below the frightening graphic of a mushroom cloud:

41.3% Yes

48.6% No

10% I don’t know

While the majority responded “No,” it is indicated by the short green bar. The long blue bar–blue being a patriotic color in a country where the flag is blue and white–represents those who think that “steps” would prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon.

Those who bother reading the numbers will realize, of course, that the bar graph is misleading. But those who simply glance at it might not. Further, the visual of that long, blue bar next to the word yes is powerful, even if one reads the numbers–it creates a feeling of national consensus that “steps” are the way to go when it comes to Iran.

Or, maybe, it was just a big typo…?

For background and related posts on +972:
Is Israel preparing an assault against Iran? The media is ready
Bloggingheads: Will Israel strike Iran?
Israeli public, politicians split on Iran (with advantage to skeptics)
Finally, Iran plan wakes Israel up to “the Israeli threat”

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Yossi Mossel

      I’m struggling to get your point. If Yisrael Hayom is aiming to create the impression that there is a consensus in Israel around a military strike against Iran, then actually the “no” answer is the one they would be emphasizing not “yes”. If one believes that the international sanctions are effective then an Israeli strike becomes less justified, not the other way round.

      Pretty stupid graphic though.

      Reply to Comment
    2. mya guarnieri

      hi yossi,

      thanks for the comment. one of the points i made above is that the “steps” to be taken aren’t specified… so that doesn’t necessarily mean economic sanctions, it can include a military strike.

      the point is that israel hayom is trying to paint a picture of a menacing iran–as the mushroom cloud photo suggests–one that israelis “agree” must be and can be stopped with steps. (even though a majority said “steps” can’t stop iran’s plans).

      Reply to Comment
    3. Nilus

      Mya, I completely agree with Yossi’s point. And to me it’s very clear that the “steps implemented by the western countries” are NOT a military strike. The western countries are without exception against a strike and are trying to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear option through all other means. The poll was very obviously meant to be understood like this: do you believe that eventually we need to attack or not? Of course it’s a very suggesting poll, cause there’s no option to say that maybe Iran doesn’t build a bomb or that a bomb in their hands might actually not mean genocide against Israel. In any case to highlight the KEN option doesn’t make sense for a pro-intervention-newspaper. So my guess is that it’s a simple mistake. No reason to get excited.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Knowing Israel as I do (albeit living here for only a year), I would that the most likely answer is that it is what some colloquially refer to as a “fashla” (in polite language – a mess-up).
      As an anonymous pro-govt. Iranian friend of mine mentioned to me recently: “the only thing that works properly in the Middle East is oil and the military”.
      A sad indictment indeed on our region, but perhaps a drop of common-ground in an ocean of discontent and confrontation?
      On a more serious note, the Iranians are clearly seeking a nuclear weapon and have grand designs on the region. It is not clear however whether the flurry of publicity surrounding an Israeli strike was merely an act of bluster to get the Americans more involved or was another “fashla” as the plans may have been leaked against Barak and Netanyahu’s will?
      What is your view Mya?

      Reply to Comment
    5. mya guarnieri

      hi daniel, thanks for the comment. the question an friend raised yesterday was: if this was a mistake, surely someone has noticed it since it was printed. why hasn’t it been corrected?

      in my humble opinion the plans were not leaked against barak/yahu’s will. the “leak” is an instrument to get tougher sanctions on iran so israel won’t “have” to hit it. the “leak” and the saber-rattling that followed are the political equivalents to a man standing on the street, yelling at a foe, thus forcing his friends to “hold him back.” it’s for show.

      i don’t think israel truly wants to hit iran because the war that would follow would be disastrous for everyone involved.

      Reply to Comment
    6. mya guarnieri

      i might add, daniel, that this israel hayom article could be viewed in that, too… more noise.

      however, ask me tomorrow, and i might feel differently about the whole “leak” thing. it’s hard to think about all this iran stuff with a clear head from here, perhaps.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Richard Allen

      That’s amazing.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Hi Mya,
      I would refer you to your colleague, Larry Derfner’s article from a month ago entitled, “the fight is on to stop Bibi and Barak”. Of course Larry is no fan of these two individuals (a view shared by many Israelis, particularly of the latter), but I think he has a case in arguing that top officials in the security establishment sought to foil the PM and his Defence Minister by deliberately leaking.
      The fact that Dagan came out so publicly in criticising the government over a potential strike against Iran adds further weight to the argument that there was serious distress among the current elites of the defence and intelligence organs. (Here again I reference Derfner’s comments on bloggingheads.tv).
      We may have just barely averted a very serious incident of regional and perhaps global proportions. The future is very uncertain indeed!

      Reply to Comment

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