Israeli hasbara organizations have been calling Stephen Hawking a hypocrite for daring to boycott Israel while simultaneously using an Israeli-designed chip in his wheelchair. And this, in essence, is the emblematic Israeli response: shut your mouth when you criticize me. (Translated by Sol Salbe) One of the more repulsive concepts underlying Israeli hasbara (the Hebrew term for the public relations efforts geared at disseminating information about Israel) is "redemption through technology." The concept states that since Israel is a technology leader, it is exempt from any criticism for the fact that it oppresses the Palestinians and other minorities. The same get-out-of-jail card…Read More... | 71 Comments
By Idan Landau A certain air of nostalgia dominated Maariv’s headline last Thursday: “Due to criticism in the world, IDF parts ways with white phosphorus”: just like the old Galil assault rifle and the old two-way radios that generations of soldiers grew familiar with. A couple of years ago we learned the IDF was giving up its cans of preserved meat (the kosher version of SPAM). Now, it’s white phosphorus that we say goodbye to. [Twilight. The IDF and white phosphorus exchange a final gaze. A sad violin tune is heard. Curtain down.] So the IDF is looking for a…Read More... | 39 Comments
Controversial poster juxtaposes Holocaust survivors with IDF soldiers. The only thing is, the Nazis' victims in the picture are probably not Jewish. Ami Kaufman reported here on a tasteless Stand With Us poster, politicizing the memory of the Holocaust in order to support Israeli policy and the IDF. Here is the poster, and I urge you to read Ami, who makes all the important points. (UPDATE: Stand With Us took the picture off their Facebook wall) I, however, want to bring attention to an interesting fact (pointed out by a commentator on the Stand With Us Facebook page): the survivors in the…Read More... | 15 Comments
Although the Shuafat refugee camp is under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, one look at the lack of basic infrastructure, the sewage running in the streets and the unsafe conditions reveal that it is part of a different world. By Chen Misgav Several weeks ago, during a late Saturday morning, a group of 20 Jewish-Israelis leave their cars at the entrance to an intimidating military checkpoint outside Shuafat refugee camp. We are meeting with A., a representative of the Jerusalem Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements, who will be giving us a tour of the camp. We walk…Read More... | 5 Comments
In response to Olga Gershenon's critique of one-sided programs that bring American academics to discover Israel, one writer counters that those very programs are actually a step in the right direction, both due to the openness by which they are run and by the people they attract. By Brent E. Sasley Olga Gershenson wrote a strong critique in these pages of three programs that aim to bring academics from around the world to Israel. Her criticism centers on the accusation that these programs, all funded by Jews, Israeli, or right-leaning individuals and organizations, present a sanitized version of Israel that highlights the…Read More... | 3 Comments
A number of programs bring international professors to Israel, shaping the way they teach their students about the country and conflict. What's missing is a Palestinian narrative. But can any alternative program match the all-expenses-paid tours and luxurious accommodations offered by the hasbara-centric Israel programs? By Olga Gershenson In the last few years, a new discipline by the name of Israel Studies has emerged on the academy scene. The field, which includes politics, society, and culture of the State of Israel, is a rather new development which has resulted in an effort to train faculty in the field and to encourage…Read More... | 25 Comments
Israel's Hasbara Ministry is starting early these days. 'Yedioth Aharonoth' profiles the 10-year-old children who are being trained to 'make the case for Israel,' and tests their new skills. Yedioth Aharonoth published today a story about two 10-year-olds from Sderot, Noa and Christopher (quite the Jewish name there, eh?) who have been “hired” (the kids volunteered) by the Ministry of Hasbara (Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry) to explain Israeli positions. After school, the kids went to a special Hasbara course in which they honed their skills in English and practiced standing in front of cameras. Here are the answers…Read More... | 96 Comments
A study shows that Israel's tarnished image has nothing to do with its Hasbara mechanism. Actually, the reason for the failure is pretty straightforward. Some ad companies can do miracles. They can actually do the impossible: sell a bad product. The easiest examples come from the food industry. Take Coke, or McDonald’s burgers. These are products that are known to be unhealthy. Yet, the Mad Men still somehow get these companies to sell, sell, sell. Israel has its own ad company. It’s an enormous, cross-ministry-organization apparatus known as Hasbara. Yet, despite being one of the most successful propaganda machines ever…Read More... | 30 Comments
By Anna Momigliano It has been noted that this is the first war declared on Twitter. At this point I find myself wondering if this might be as well the first war lost on Twitter. Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that there are thousands of people on both sides in fear of their lives and that the use of social media is the least of their concerns. Nor do I think that the “media war” is even remotely as relevant as the actual conflict that is raging over Israel and the Gaza Strip. Yet, as someone who…Read More... | 10 Comments
An Israeli judge claims activists who oppose house demolitions - and not those who demolish them - are the perpetrators of violence. The Israeli court system was, for a long time, the most successful fig leaf of the only Jewish state in the Middle East. Now it has gone diving into the Hasbara morass. After "diplomatic terrorism" (opposing Israel in the world, a phrase favored by our foreign minister) and "economic terrorism" (boycotting settlements) we now have the District Court of Haifa blaming (Hebrew) the ISM organization of being "practically violent," even though the court admits it had nothing to do with…Read More... | 32 Comments
The one-state solution is anti-Semitic? In response to a piece recently published in the Forward, Jerry Haber takes down, one by one, criticisms of the left we've heard time and time again. By Jeremiah Haber Recently, Forward contributing editor Jay Michaelson wrote a long piece challenging the leftwing critics of Israel to reveal their endgame. According to Michaelson, Jewish Voice for Peace says that it is agnostic but the JVP folks he has talked to are for one state. And a one-state solution involves nothing less than the "cultural genocide" of Israel. "There is no way that a binational state will be a safe haven for…Read More... | 116 Comments
Perhaps the greatest myth about Israel is the one the New York Times subscribes to: that it started out as a 'liberal' country committed to 'human rights.' An examination of the early days demonstrates that the country led by Ben-Gurion and Mapai was no progressive picnic. Recently, the New York Times was bemoaning the declining state of democracy in Israel. My colleague Dahlia Scheindlin noted several errors in the facts cited by the paper. I was more struck by the concluding passage: "One of Israel’s greatest strengths is its origins as a democratic state committed to liberal values and human…Read More... | 50 Comments
Diplomats warn that reports of Israeli attitudes and acts towards refugees may harm Israel's image, ignoring the acts themselves. Our Foreign Ministry finds itself in a quandary. Israel brutally expels refugees from South Sudan, and runs a vicious and racist campaign against refugees from Sudan. Ministers and MKs are competing to see who can lead a more beastly campaign of hatred. The current winner is Madam MK and former IDF Spokeswomen Miri "I did not intend to compare the refugees to human beings" Regev, but the race is far from over. This, reports activist Rotem Ilan (Hebrew), is how the…Read More... | 8 Comments
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Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
- MOST READMOST COMMENTED24 HOURS|WEEK|MONTH
Is a binational identity possible in Israel? http://t.co/yFmq5vBPGV
The unwitting common ground in the debate over binationalism in Israel http://t.co/qDoWMqR8fO by Jeremiah Haber
VID: Former female Israeli soldiers break their silence http://t.co/2H7V47Cj9I by @MairavZ
Israeli MK's 'sexy' pose goes viral on Facebook http://t.co/vktM2Rk4OH by @AmiKaufman
The soldiers' stories that Israel lacks the courage to hear http://t.co/rlleFPDVVq By Larry Derfner, cc @ShovrimShtika