The anti-Israeli propaganda war has been waged for decades already. Its intensity has greatly increased in the new century. Demonization events and incidents are now reported by the Israel media almost daily. One is continuously reminded of this war as well as of the frequent shortcomings of Israel’s reactions. Yet there is no Israeli organizational structure that is capable of overseeing the battlefield, let alone one that combats incitement abroad as well as anti-Semitism in a systematic way. This is despite the fact that the war of a million cuts has been raging for so long.
Such an overview of the battlefield would involve understanding who Israel’s most dangerous hate-mongering enemies are, what their various modes of activity are, how their operations interrelate, what impact they have, and so on. Such an agency would also assess and develop the best ways of combating the aggressors and guiding Israel’s allies on how they can help fight the enemy. No other country is confronted with a propaganda onslaught of such mag- nitude. One occasionally hears that the situation of the United States during the Vietnam War was somewhat similar. This is a misleading comparison. The most extreme opponents of the United States aimed to get it out of Vietnam, not to destroy it. Ultimately the Americans withdrew from Vietnam and left the South Vietnamese to their fate. With the disbandment of the Soviet Union, the biggest force of the anti-American propaganda war collapsed.
There is no similar “solution” for Israel. Many of Israel’s enemies want “Israel out of Israel.” Some want to do this by genocide. Others prefer a “one-state solution,” combined with flooding the country with Palestinian refugees and their huge number of non-refugee offspring. It is thus essential to establish an Israeli organization for fighting the global propaganda war as quickly as possible.
Over the course of past centuries, entities that were attacked always developed fitting, often innovative tools to respond to the attacks. They usually analyzed the level, nature, and mindset of the attackers and the methods they used. Over time, new defensive and offensive methods were developed and became more sophisticated.
Structures in Battle
That is how armies developed over the centuries to fight military wars more effectively. Israel’s army, the IDF, has become a relatively efficient organization if compared to other armies. Its development was a gradual process, employing trial-and-error approaches that led to improvements. Similarly over the decades, intelligence services evolved to fight terrorism and enemy intelligence. Israel’s military and nonmilitary intelligence services—the IDF intelligence branch, the Mossad, and the Shin Bet—are considered among the best in the world.
Israel is also a major target of cyberattacks. There are increasing indications that the vulnerability of the global internet system is so vast that risks are huge. Israel has established a cyberwar unit and aims to become a world leader in this area as well.1
In January 2014, Netanyahu announced that a new cyberpark would be built in Beersheba called Cyber-Spark. He said it would be one of the world’s most important places in the cybersecurity field. Furthermore, it was announced that the National Cyber Bureau and the Chief Scientist’s Office have budgeted eighty million shekels over two years to support Israeli companies in the field.2
How a Structure Develops
Once one is heavily involved in a certain field, many more questions emerge for which answers have to be found. By analyzing those and finding solutions, the knowledge and experience in a field increases. This is also clearly the case in the development of Israel’s cyberwarfare capabilities. It can serve as an example for the methodological future of the Israeli “contra-propaganda structure.”
Israeli Colonel Sharon Afek published a text on the future of cyberwarfare and law that policymakers should make use of. He says that the challenges in this field lead to “a conceptual revolution.” Afek notes among other things the need to redefine which actions are “offensive” and which are “defensive.” Another question concerns which objects constitute “military targets” under law and which do not. He also observes that cyberwarfare means the difference between military and civilian operators may become blurred. Afek concludes that Israel must be involved and up-to-date in international-law developments concerning cyberwarfare and must also seek to influence these.3
Once a nation’s leaders are aware of the importance of cyberwarfare and strongly support it, that also cross-fertilizes its industrial operations in the field. The major Israeli military contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said that in 2013 it had expanded its activities in cyberdefense and started to work on solutions for clients in Israel and abroad.
Esti Peshin, director of IAI’s cybersection, says that Israeli defense indus- tries have to take the lead role so that Israel becomes independent in the field. She points out that cyberwarfare and intelligence activities are intermeshed. Peshin hints that while initially one focuses on defensive measures, ultimately offensive capabilities may also be developed. She also remarks that according to some experts, cyberwarfare may take a leading role in overall warfare.4
Diplomats and the Propaganda War
The above gives some conceptual guidance for an Israeli agency to fight the propaganda war. The incitement against Israel concerning alleged “atrocities” is only one of its many aspects. The current propaganda war is very different in nature from past propaganda wars, where nations were the main instigators. Nowadays propaganda attacks against Israel by foreign governments— mainly Muslim ones, but also others—are only part of the total offensive. Many others come from a wide range of disparate sources. This fragmentation is part of the postmodern character of the anti-Israeli assaults.
One often hears that fighting the propaganda war is the task of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. This is a misjudgment of both the nature of the propaganda war and the aptitudes of diplomats. Professionals in this field must be able to maintain as good relations as possible with others, even if they are hostile. This requires dealing expertly with foreign governments and individuals without causing bad feelings. It often entails not mentioning the full truth or circumventing discussions on problematic issues. People who have these abilities are not very suitable to fight a propaganda war.
More recently, another area of the diplomats’ role has developed: public diplomacy. Th s involves communicating with the public abroad so as to influence them to view the country the diplomats represent more favorably. A variety of tools have been developed for this purpose. One often hears that Israel should be more effective in its public diplomacy. That is true because many people abroad are uninformed but do not have a structured, hostile attitude toward Israel. Fighting the propaganda war, however, is a very different issue. There one does not mainly deal with the poorly informed but, rather, with one’s enemies.
The Proposed Structure
The fact that nowhere else does a structure for fighting a propaganda war exist such as the one proposed here is not relevant. No other country in the world is exposed to a global propaganda onslaught as huge as the one against Israel. Israel has often had to develop tools and instruments of battle before anyone else, however unfortunate this may be.
Such an anti-propaganda-war agency would have to involve three major pursuits: research, monitoring, and “operations.” The research branch would cover a number of areas. In far greater detail than what has been done in this book, it would have to investigate how the unprecedented total anti-Israeli propaganda war works. This includes analyzing the key motifs of demonization, where major attacks originate, investigating the main perpetrator categories in detail, the interaction between various perpetrator categories, how hatred is transmitted, and so on. Thereafter it would start investigating major enemy bodies. For instance, it would create profiles of leading anti-Israeli media, identifying the main hate promoters in these and their methods.
In other words, for Israel to expose and fight its multiple enemies, it would have to know much more about them than it presently does.In recent years several studies have delved into the methodology of specific aspects of the global propaganda war. Several people have occasionally made methodological observations. The anti-Israeli defamation and hate system is far from having been explored in its totality, however. For the research function, developing understanding about the structured and unstructured anti-Israeli incitement and how it mutates should be an ongoing project.
There is another activity that is not in itself part of the propaganda war yet must be dealt with. Medium and long-term societal and global developments have to be followed so as to discuss possible future impacts on Israel and the Jews. This would gradually enable the design of remedies before potential problems become acute. For instance, if this body had been in existence for some decades already, it would have had a far better understanding of the impact of globalization on Israel and the Jewish people than any current Israeli organization has. It would also have much better understood the nature of the battle for hearts and minds abroad.
A second branch of the proposed agency would have to monitor developments in the main areas of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism. The overall situation has deteriorated to such an extent that new incidents of incitement and aggression against Israel and Jews are being reported on an almost daily basis.
Such monitoring should be done by specialists in various ways. One group would follow specific countries. Had there already been such a structure in place, the Norwegian hate-Israel movements and individual demonizers under the Norwegian Labour Party-dominated governments—which were in power from 2005 until 2013—would have been fought far more effectively. They would have had a much more difficult time bashing Israel if they had had to confront systematic counteractions. Israel has a number of friends in Norway who could have helped much better if there had been a powerful Israeli agency to advise them or consult with.
Another monitoring group would follow specific worldwide originators of hate. The work of specialists in areas such as media, Muslim countries, Muslims in the Western world, Christians, NGOs, trade unions, the extreme left, the fascist and neo-Nazi right, Socialist and Social Democratic parties, the lawfare operators, academics, schools and so on would afford Israel an overview of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activities within these global arenas.
A third monitoring group would follow specific types of incidents such as boycotts, divestments, sanctions, false accusations, applications of double standards, false moral equivalence, scapegoating, and other fallacies.
A major instrument for the monitoring section would be a “database of enemies” to be established. As soon as a new action of one of these organizations or persons would emerge, counteractions could be considered on the basis of the files on his past, including many of the data on his previous hateful actions. The initial database could be built from existing media reports and other publications.
The research and monitoring branches would initially have to make a major effort to integrate and assimilate know-how from the various organizations, grassroots and others, which are presently involved in the combat against anti- Israeli propaganda and anti-Semitism. Studies should also be undertaken of best practices applied by these organizations so as to avoid reinventing the wheel.
Operations and Activism
Activism is a delicate subject for a state-controlled body. Yet intelligence services of many countries are activist bodies under the aegis of the government. The operational branch of the new structure would have to develop increasingly effective methods to fight the anti-Israeli propaganda as well as anti-Semitism. It would have to assess which activities it undertakes itself and which should be left for others, such as other government services, nongovernmental bodies in Israel and abroad, or even some individuals.
One example of how Israeli government services and other organizations collaborated is the action taken before and during the Durban II Conference, which was held in Geneva in 2009. Because of the NGO Forum’s hate characterization of Israel at Durban I in 2001, Israel, the United States, and seven other nations boycotted the 2009 Durban Review Conference.5
The Israeli Foreign Ministry together with many NGOs and other organizations had devised a campaign for that conference. The result was that the anti-Israeli racists in the antiracist NGO camp—which had been so successful during Durban I—remained at the margins of the conference. However, this battle only concerned one anti-Israeli hate activity, which was limited in time. The 2014 UNHRC commission that will investigate Operation Protective Edge, along with its biased chairman, should be exposed from the outset. The proposed structure would have to deal with all major ones.
To some extent, each major hate case should be studied specifically. This is a time-consuming yet necessary activity to develop effective actions against Israel’s enemies.
Funding of the Fight Against Propaganda
There are no figures available on how much annual funding would be required for effectively fighting against the global propaganda war. Guesstimates deriving from some informal conversations with experts reached $200-$250 million per year. For lack of any professional assessment, one has to use this figure as the best estimate available.
Major monies should have been spent already for decades, starting at the latest with the 1982 Lebanon war. Israel is thus by now short of investment in the propaganda field, by several billion dollars.
Not all the funds to combat the delegitimization of Israel in a structured way should necessarily be provided by the Israeli government, even though the majority has to be made available by it. For instance, all the research and monitoring expenses could be carried by the government. As far as activism is concerned, part of the funding could come from private sources whose activities should then not be associated with the government.
A Few Basic Concepts
In the propaganda war, Israel has a structural advantage over its enemies. The ideological and actual criminality of leading political and other bodies in Palestinian society is so major that one only has to shine the spotlight on them to provide counterweight to the anti-Israeli incitement campaigns even before the proposed Israeli contra-propaganda structure is established and operational. There is no need to exaggerate; the Palestinian reality is bad enough.
Palestinian hate campaigns and ideological criminality should also be put in the context of the many atrocities and huge criminality in large parts of the Arab and Muslim world. With the expansion of the Islamic State movement this has reached new extremes. Major criminal phenomena are not limited to the Middle East but also go beyond it, such as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and several African countries. In some of the latter, the extreme cruelty of the violence of other religious and ethnic groups seems to be in similar categories. The propaganda campaigns by the Palestinians and other enemies of Israel include accusations about alleged Israeli “atrocities.” Some of the crimes attributed to Israel are invented; others pale next to the criminal acts in segments of the Muslim world and elsewhere. Only by ongoing publicizing of the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim atrocities, crimes against humanity, human rights violations, and so on can one gradually rebuild a more realistic picture of Israel’s activities. The main target, however, should be the Palestinians.
Maximum exposure should be given to the widespread anti-Israeli incitement in Palestinian Authority government-controlled media, schools, sports activities, and so on. The PA’s glorification of murderers of civilians should be highlighted. It should be stressed that the Palestinian Islamo-Nazi movement Hamas became the largest Palestinian party in the only Palestinian parliamentary elections ever held. Polls in 2014 after the Protective Edge campaign indicated that Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would be elected president of the Palestinian Authority if running against Mahmoud Abbas.6
The Palestinian Media Watch website provides much information on Palestinian criminality. The major hypocrisy of several leaders of the European Union, many of its member countries, and others in the West can also be exposed indirectly in this way.
Israel’s leaders should, indeed, pause to wonder how they have let the Palestinians and their allies succeed in presenting the Palestinian criminals as radically different from the many villains in other Arab countries.
Several broad strategic principles for better conducting the battle against the propaganda war are outlined below. As noted previously, however, each major campaign or case of anti-Israeli incitement merits specific analysis.
No More Free Anti-Israeli Lunches
The first strategic principle is that there should be no more free anti-Israeli lunches for its enemies. Many countries, organizations, and individuals do not hesitate to attack Israel because they know that its reaction will often be weak or even nonexistent. This leads to a situation where the hate-mongerer against Israel believes he has little to lose. Israel has given frequent free anti-Israeli “lunches” to the European Union and many others. The weak Israeli reactions to the hate-mongering of Turkish President Erdogan are an extreme example. Israel’s ambassadors are regularly called in to be reprimanded by foreign ministers of European countries. Any such attacks on Israel should be answered by calling in ambassadors of these nations in Israel. It should be mentioned regularly in such situations that the combined incitement has led to a wide- spread criminal view of Israel in Europe. As pointed out in earlier chapters, this in turn indicates the criminal mindset of many Europeans. Another recurring issue is that the European countries and others do not meet their commitments under the UN Genocide Convention. This has been pointed out by former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.7
At the same time, one can only wonder why Israel rarely attacks the term “occupied territories” with full force. There are many legal experts who contest this term and use “disputed territories” instead. There are also leading legal experts who support Israel’s rights under international law to build and expand communities in these territories. The European Union’s refusal to enter into a debate on this issue is an indication of the highly political and abusive nature of its battle against the settlements.
The often weak Israeli reactions to extreme Palestinian statements have led to a situation where in many circles the Palestinians’ image greatly differs from that of Arab countries. Palestinians are often seen mainly as victims. This is at a time when the criminal ideology of the largest Palestinian faction, Hamas, includes incitement to genocide. The Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Ab- bas himself, and other leaders practice the glorification of murderers. Many Westerners look away from this. This selective blindness and silence should be made more difficult for them. There are many who attack Israel and ignore Hamas’s exterminatory agenda. These hate propagators should be exposed as indirect allies of a Palestinian Islamo-Nazi movement.
Offense Is the Best Defense
Related to the previous strategic principle is a second one: offense is the best defense. This approach is often applied in military, business, and political strategies. In the military field, for instance, it was applied in the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel was attacked by Egypt and Syria. After a few days of defense, the Israeli army crossed the Suez Canal and moved into Egypt.
In election campaigns in many countries, much of the publicity of parties and candidates involves attacking one’s opponents in addition to presenting one’s own plans. This is done because negative advertising has often been shown to be most effective.
Going on offense, rather than being on the defensive, is so important in the propaganda war because no one, however knowledgeable, can have all the information and answers available for the many claims—false or true—against Israel.
An interesting example of the application of this strategic principle concerns Russia and the Netherlands. Although Dutch governments and various other bodies in the country often condemn the behavior of others, Dutch postwar history is marked by extreme moral failures. Some of them concern the large-scale murders and war crimes by the Dutch military in what is now Indonesia.
The Russian Example
In 2013 during a visit to the Netherlands, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin used the principle of “offense is the best defense” to deal with his hosts’ criticism. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke with him on human rights and the status of sexual minorities in Russia. Putin not only reacted defensively by falsely stating that sexual minorities are not discriminated against in Russia; he then went on the attack by saying that the Netherlands has a pedophile club whereas Russia does not. Putin added that there is a Christian party in the Netherlands that forbids women to become parliamentarians, while all Russian parties are allowed to have female candidates.8
In 2014, the Russians went one step further. Their Foreign Ministry published a report on human rights in the European Union. The report included much criticism of the Netherlands. One aspect of it was that foreigners who stay in the Netherlands are continuously discriminated against. The report also mentioned the Russian Aleksandr Dolmatov, who in 2013 committed suicide in a detention center in Rotterdam. Dutch investigations revealed major failures in procedures concerning immigration and asylum.
The Russian report also expressed concern about the lack of protection against pedophiles in the Netherlands. It mentioned the Dutch pedophile organization Martijn, which has since been outlawed, and how a scandal involving a former senior bureaucrat accused of child abuse was whitewashed.9
The Ukrainian 2014 revolution and the Russian reactions to it have led to new frictions between Russia on the one hand and the European Union and the United States on the other. Here truth is taking a back seat to propaganda. Israel cannot afford to use the same direct approach against European criticism as a major power like Russia. Yet it can develop the “offense is the best defense” principle in a far more sophisticated way.
Words Without Backup
One cannot conduct the propaganda war in an incidental way. At the 2014 UN General Assembly, Netanyahu said:
Weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.
Without an Israeli propaganda infrastructure that repeats this comparison and the one between Hamas with other genocidal Muslim movements regularly, such statements have little force.10
The same is true for many other statements by Netanyahu. For instance, after the U.S. State Department criticized Israel in October 2014 about building in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that it was such criticism, and not the building itself, that harmed the chances for peace with the Palestinians. In his words: “I have heard a claim that our construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes peace more distant. It is the criticism which is making peace more distant. These words are detached from reality.” He added that this criticism “foster[s] false statements among the Palestinians. When Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] incites to murder Jews in Jerusalem, the international community is silent, and when we build in Jerusalem they are up in arms. I do not accept this double standard.”11
Once again, Netanyahu was right, but Israel is without an apparatus to make this heard worldwide. That will enable the State Department to continue condemning Israel for building in Jerusalem and the territories while ignoring huge crimes occurring in many of the world’s countries. Many more examples can be given that illustrate Israel’s problems in this area.
The “Arab Spring” Killings
The falsely labeled “Arab Spring” has greatly increased the opportunity for Israel to go on offense. The present or recent mass murders and atrocities against various groupings in Libya, Syria, and Iraq provide almost unlimited material. To this can be added other Muslim countries where atrocities are common but murders are committed in lower numbers, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon.
One may add that a selection of these brutal crimes is probably a good indication of what invading Arab countries and their Palestinian allies would have done to Jewish citizens of Israel had they been successful in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence or later battles. The fact that this may be politically incorrect in European eyes does not lessen its truth. To prove the point, one only needs to collect announcements of genocidal intentions from prominent Arabs before and during that war in 1948, as well as testimony from Israeli witnesses of the war on what they heard from the Arab side.
Exposing the Orwellian anti-Israelis and the lies and fallacies they use should be an ongoing endeavor. On campuses this can, for instance, be partly done by using mutations of the famous maxims from Orwell’s book 1984: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.” The new version concerning foreign
universities, as well as a number of teachers mainly in the humanities departments in some Israeli universities, could read: “Propaganda is advancing knowledge, indoctrination is higher education, incitement promotes scholarship.”
Sunlight Is the Best Disinfectant
A third related principle is what one may call “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” One aspect of it is continuous exposure, without comment, of negative developments in the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim world. The same goes for certain groups of anti-Israeli inciters in the Western world.
One small example concerns a side issue to the murders by Norwegian criminal Anders Breivik in 2011. Because of the huge worldwide attention that these killings garnered, it slowly became known that there was extreme anti-Israeli incitement on the island of Utoya where Breivik killed most of his victims. A major activity of this camp of the Labour Party youth organization, AUF, was the demonization of Israel.
An example of a different type of exposure comes from the blog Norway,
Israel and the Jews. This website in English has provided access to information concerning Jews and Israel in Norway for more than five years. Even though part of the website is commentary, much of it just offers facts. Hence it has also become an archive for the hatred, bias, double standards, and other incite- ment emanating from Norwegian politicians, trade unions, media, academics, church leaders, NGOs, and others in civil society.12
This can, for instance, be illustrated by the anti-Israeli boycott campaign at the NTNU university in Trondheim in 2009. There is probably no better source available than this blog on how the boycott campaign started, how its promoters operated, the rector’s supporting role for the inciters, multiple reactions from the international community including Jewish organizations, and the campaign against the boycott by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
For some time a similar blog modeled on the Norwegian one, Sweden, Israel and the Jews, was updated regularly.13 However, it could not be maintained due to lack of funding. The establishment of similar blogs for a number of other countries would make much more material accessible in English and thus facilitate exposure of anti-Israeli inciters there.
Stop Being Verbal Vegetarians
One should never understate the criminal behavior of one’s enemies. Yet when Israel fights back in the propaganda war, it often does so with one hand tied behind its back. Various Israeli political parties and politicians have not only remained silent but have also shown empathy for Palestinian incitement and certain other crimes.
In the past some have suggested that Jordan—the former Eastern Palestine when the British Mandate was created—is the first Palestinian state. Israeli governments have at best usually been very reluctant to promote this claim, however true.
Yet, had a policy been pursued for decades by now of calling Jordan the first Palestinian state, the Jordanians would have understood that it was useless to fight against the truth. That would have made it possible to turn the so-called “peace process” into a negotiation about a second (Palestinian Authority-ruled) Palestinian state and a third (Hamas-ruled) Palestinian state.
This Israeli approach of fighting propaganda with one hand tied behind its back might be called “verbal vegetarianism.” It fits in with a major, millennia-old Jewish masochistic current of self-accusation. One of the most far-reaching examples in this century was the unjustified Israeli apology for the supposed killing of Muhammad al-Dura at the beginning of the Second Intifada. It took thirteen years before Israel declared that it had not killed al-Dura.14
Expose a Few, Teach Many a Lesson
Israel is a small country, attacked by many. There is no way one can fight all of the attackers simultaneously. This is also unnecessary in view of the fact that many people are cowards. If Israel were to succeed in destroying the reputation of a few journalists, media outlets, politicians, NGOs, church leaders, and academics, many others would think twice before engaging in hate-mongering against it.
The strategic principle is thus: “expose a few, teach many a lesson.” One should, however, choose the ones to target carefully. They should preferably be reasonably well known. Even more important is to be convinced before embarking on the attack that the chances of winning the battle are very high. Any defeat would be counterproductive.
All of the principles proposed so far interlink and lead to a larger strategy of fighting the propaganda battle. The emphasis should be on offense but without neglecting defense.
Use Resources Effi
As Israel is a small country and the Jewish people are relatively few in number, resources such as time and money have to be used very efficiently. This means, among other things, that court cases should be minimized and used only if there are no other ways to achieve one’s goals.
For instance, if one has contact with a parliamentarian, time is much better spent convincing him or her to pose an embarrassing question to an anti-Israeli minister than in writing a letter to the editor of a paper that often will not be published.
In line with this maxim is another principle, that of finding “out-of-the- box solutions.” One small example occurred in July 2006: when more than a thousand American professors signed a petition condemning Israel’s alleged aggression in Lebanon and Gaza, somebody added the signature “Mr. H. Nasrallah, Joseph Goebbels Chair in Communications at Duke University.” With one signature he succeeded in ridiculing the action of all the others.15
Another example occurred when in 2013 a Swedish Jewish woman, An- nika Hernroth-Rothstein, filed for asylum in her own country.16 In this way she drew attention to the mounting anti-Israeli incitement and multifaceted anti-Semitism in Sweden. She received much international publicity for her relatively small effort, which was a classic example of how to spotlight the behavior of the many hypocrites in Swedish society and among its leaders.
CAMERA has frequently exposed The New York Times’ bias against Israel.
In January 2014, it applied an innovative approach. It put a three-story billboard on a building facing The Times’ headquarters. The text read: “Would a great newspaper slant the news against Israel? The New York Times does.” The text went on to say: “Misrepresenting facts, omitting key information, skewing headlines and photos.” Under this it said: “Stop the bias. CAMERA.”17
Another very successful example is the Latma weekly satirical show, cre- ated by a number of journalists. It reached major international renown.18 Yet another example of an out-of-the-box approach is this author’s Bad News from the Netherlands blog.19 On it, only negative news items about the Netherlands are posted. The blog states this up-front and notes that this is a reaction to the many Dutch papers and journalists who frequently apply double standards and distort information about Israel. It also points out that contrary to many incorrect details in the articles these Dutch journalists have written, the facts mentioned on the blog are true. To back up the items posted, the blog provides links to Dutch news sources. Furthermore, it points out that the Dutch media do not tell their readers that they present a distorted picture of Israel, whereas the blog stresses that with the method it uses, it misrepresents Dutch reality by not giving any positive news.
This blog plays an additional role. As there are now thousands of items in its archive, it can also serve as a repository of information that can be retrieved for articles, debates, and so on.20 The establishment of similar blogs about other countries can provide a resource for exposing their misconduct whenever they criticize Israel. This, however, requires a certain degree of sophistication. A recent example of a similar blog is the section on “Ugly Europe” at the Tundra Tabloids blog.21
It is known from the business world that one can train people to develop out-of-the-box-solutions via “lateral thinking.”22 Such activity should be pro- moted by the proposed contra-propaganda structure.
The principle that one should try to use one’s resources, both financial and temporal, as efficiently as possible has many other aspects. Cases should be brought before courts only if there is no alternative, as trials are both expensive and time-consuming. The situation gets even worse if such a case is lost. This happened when UK activist Ronnie Fraser brought a case against the British University and College Union. The judge decided against him.23
Partly because of the small number of Israelis and Jews, it is crucial to mobilize allies, the more so as the number of enemies is so huge. A typical example of such a successful mobilization was the defeat of the anti-Israeli boycott supporters at NTNU in Norway. Many Jewish organizations were mobilized in this cause. They in turn succeeded to gain the support of non-Jewish bodies such as the Association of American University Professors and the Russell Group of twenty leading British universities. Although little is known about this, the American ambassador had also apparently intervened with the Norwegian government. The defeat of the proboycotters at NTNU dissuaded people at other Norwegian universities, in particular Trömso University, from initiating similar boycott actions.24
Several examples can be found in reactions to American academia. After the 2013 boycott of Israeli academia by the American Studies Association, many universities condemned it.25 Numerous congressmen came out against the boycott26 and several universities pulled out of the association.27 The American Association of University Professors called the boycott resolution a setback for academic freedom.28
In January 2014, the New York State Assembly passed a law introduced by its speaker, Sheldon Silver, that bans state funding to colleges that fund groups that boycott countries that host higher-education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.
Silver had made it clear that he was aiming at the American Studies As- sociation’s boycott of Israel and its academic institutions. The result of the bill is that institutions that pay dues to an organization like the ASA or subsidize travel to its conferences would lose state funding.29
One major area where Israel should try to find allies is among Palestinian Christians abroad. The exposure of the discrimination and crimes of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas against Christians can best be done by other Palestinian Christians.
Cashing In when One Wins
Yet another important principle for fighting the propaganda war is that Israel and its allies should make the most out of successful actions. This is yet another facet of maximizing the results when one scores a win against one’s enemies. It also fits in with the earlier-mentioned principle that many people, including Israel’s adversaries, are cowards. Therefore it is important that they realize that there are risks involved in promoting anti-Israeli incitement.
This is probably the only major aspect where the pro-Israeli activists failed in their activities against the NTNU. Little publicity was given to the defeat of the boycotters. Since then various Norwegians, including the previous ambassador to Israel, have been falsely claiming that the Norwegian government and major media specifically opposed the proposed Trondheim boycott from its beginning.30 The truth is that they came out against it only several weeks after the issue had garnered international attention.
Israel’s enemies try to delegitimize Israel by using multiple approaches and techniques. Similarly, once one has defined an anti-Semitic target to be hit, it should be attacked in all ways possible, provided they are within the law.
Major actions in the struggle against the propaganda war are often under- taken ad hoc. One example mentioned previously is the successful effort led by the Israeli Foreign Ministry before and during the Durban II conference in the spring of 2009. The weakness of such an approach became evident, however, when Israel was caught off guard by the publication of the caricatural Goldstone Report. Similarly, Israel barely reacted after the publication of the Kairos Document. Thus an insignificant grouping of Palestinian Christians had a widespread international hate impact. Once again this demonstrated how one cannot be prepared for events if one has no strategic infrastructure to cope with emerging problems caused by anti-Israeli propaganda.
Only when Israel has such an organizational structure for fighting the pro- paganda war, providing detailed understanding of how the enemy operates, can it start training its officials and supporters to be more effective in the battle against delegitimization.
It will not suffice to continue to improvise reactions to propaganda attacks if one poorly understands the system of delegitimization of Israel and lacks a con- tinuous monitoring mechanism of how it develops. As long as the battle against Israel’s delegitimization is not fought with similar strategic concepts to those used on the military and intelligence battlefield, it is doomed to relative failure. There are so many relevant and important aspects of battling against the propaganda war that, with the current limited resources, one can only formulate a few suggestions. The following are some examples of issues to be considered.
Education about anti-Semitism and its dangers is gradually making its way into the school systems of some Western countries. Education about anti-Israelism in these countries is, however, nonexistent. It is not even widely known that, in those countries where statistics are available, the percentages of people holding demonic views about Israel are shockingly high.
In Jewish circles, some efforts are made to explain how anti-Israelism func- tions. This has hardly ever been done, however, in a systematic way. Curricula on this subject should be developed as much as possible. How to fight against anti-Israelism should also be taught and promoted.
Before one can even expect that any Western governments will start insti- tuting education against anti-Israelism, this subject should be brought up in the public discourse. This can be done, for instance, in foreign parliamentary debates or through parliamentary questions. This occurred in the Netherlands in January 2014. The Christian parliamentarian Elbert Dijkgraaf raised the issue. Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher replied that the facts were “worrisome” and “unacceptable.”31 He did not, however, indicate any measures he intended to take.
Thereupon, in February, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to Asscher. He asked the Dutch government to investigate the anti-Israelism in the country in view of the finding of the University of Bielefeld that 39 percent of the Dutch adult population think Israel is conduct- ing a war of extermination against the Palestinians. He wrote:
An important first step should be a government-ordered study to trace how such an utterly false and insidious image of Israel was created. Those who conceive and promote an unjustified extreme criminal view of others should be exposed and held accountable in the court of Public Opinion. We know too well from the 1930s in Germany what can happen when the delegitimization and demonization of a people goes unchallenged.
In our time, in such a climate in the Netherlands, it is no surprise that there are calls for boycotts against the Jewish State. A study by an independent highly professional firm as proposed would focus on how this climate was created and what can be done to remedy this unacceptable situation.32
Rabbi Cooper offered his organization’s help in defi g the terms of the study.33 A few weeks later he sent rather similar letters to European Parliament Chairman Martin Schulz and German President Joachim Gauck.
After Rabbi Cooper’s letter to Asscher, Dijkgraaf posed parliamentary ques- tions to two Dutch ministers. They included:
Do you acknowledge that a demonized picture of Israel offers a dangerous substrate for anti-Semitic incidents? What consequences do you connect to your own statements that the research findings of the Bielefeld University about the image of Europeans concerning Israel are “unacceptable and very worrisome?” And do you intend to have investigated what the reasons are for the worrisome creation of Israel’s image in the Netherlands? If not, why not? If yes, do you intend to define, together with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the parameters for the research as Rabbi Abraham Cooper has offered in his letter?34
Asscher replied to Cooper in the same month, addressing mainly anti-Semitism issues and largely evading the issue of anti-Israelism. In March Rabbi Cooper sent a second letter to Asscher on this subject, addressing the anti- Israelism issue. He asked for another meeting with the minister. Nine months later he had not yet received a reply.35
There are many organizations and a sizable number of individuals who are willing to defend Israel. Little is done by the Israeli government to improve their professionalism. Yet there are other, even more urgent matters. It is necessary that all Israeli diplomats are trained to understand and explain fundamental issues concerning the hate-mongering against Israel. This includes why much of the anti-Israelism is essentially identical to classic forms of anti-Semitism, and why expressing opinions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without mentioning the genocidal agenda of Hamas constitutes indirect support of an Islamo-Nazi movement.
In a similar vein, Israeli diplomats should be taught how to analyze anti- Israeli lectures and articles. They should understand how to discern false arguments and how to expose them. Only thereafter can they respond effectively to lies promoted about Israel and also to the fallacies, which are much more difficult to understand. They should be trained to deal more professionally with issues such as the application of double standards against Israel, false moral equivalence, scapegoating, sentimental appeals, and so on. They should also be made familiar with the strategic principles outlined earlier.
Similar crucial information should be widely disseminated among pro-Israeli grassroots organizations, students visiting Israel from abroad, and many others.
The Battle of Semantics
An issue that is hardly ever considered in the political battle is how to deal systematically with distortions of semantics. One aspect of this should be the regular exposure of what “peace” means for many Palestinian leaders, namely, an intermediary stage for the destruction of Israel. Much information on this can be found on the website of Palestinian Media Watch.
Yet another issue among many is the use of the term “occupied territories.” Foreign diplomats in Israel should be exposed when they use it publicly. This term has permeated international discourse to such an extent that the correct phrase, “disputed territories,” is barely ever mentioned.
Foreign diplomats in Israel should also be reprimanded when they speak about 1967 “borders” instead of “armistice lines.” When speaking about Jordan, frequent Israeli mention that it is the “former East Palestine” will draw atten- tion to where its origins are.
Other approaches must also be found to clarify how semantics are used as a tool of bias and incitement against Israel. This is a huge and mainly unexplored field that requires major attention. In this vein, Israel’s official representatives should be told to use the phrase “a second Palestinian state” concerning the establishment of such an entity in the West Bank and Gaza in the future.
The Battle for the Public Square
Enemies of Israel and anti-Semites have succeeded to remove parts of the Israeli and Jewish presence from the public square in Europe. Violence and intimidation have played an important role in this. Every time a Jew who was used to wearing his skullcap in the public domain removes it out of fear, the anti-Semites have scored another victory. The same goes for Israeli tourists abroad who are advised to hide their identity.
Intimidation takes many forms. Some of it results from lethal attacks by Palestinians and their allies. As mentioned, the murders by Mohammed Merah had a major impact on international Jewish communities. So did the Brussels Jewish Museum murders of May 2014. Other examples occur when pro-Israeli demonstrators are beaten up or aggressed in other ways.
In view of these efforts to eliminate the Jewish and Israeli presence from the public domain, it is very important that pro-Israeli public demonstrations are also held. One country where this happened early in this century is Italy, thanks to the initiatives of a few courageous people. In 2002, Giuliano Ferrara, editor of the conservative daily Il Foglio, took the initiative to organize a demonstration called “Israel Day.” Ferrara explained:
In those days it was not easy to organize a pro-Israel demonstration, but we decided we had to do it. This event was a great success, gaining the support of personalities from both the Right and the Left . . . Romano Prodi, then-presi- dent of the European Commission, expressed his empathy. Among backers on the Right was Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini, leader of the Alleanza Nazionale party. In 2005, Ferrara organized another demonstration in favor of Israel. He said:
I felt it a political, cultural, and civil duty to organize a protest against Ahma- dinejad’s call for genocide. I wanted this demonstration to have a simple goal: to proclaim that we uphold Israel’s right to exist and object to a head of state who denies this. An estimated 15,000-20,000 people took part in the demonstration, among them Cabinet Minister Roberto Calderoli who said he represented both the government and his Lega Nord party.
The demonstration was a great political success: it went beyond a gathering of many people who were determined to affirm their principles. Among those who marched or supported the demonstration, almost the entire Italian political spectrum was represented, from the Center-Right to the Center-Left. The Rifondazione Communist party was the only one with a parliamentary faction that did not participate. Like other forces of the extreme Left, their prejudice is to support the national struggle of the Palestinians, and their ideology tends toward anti-Zionism.
We succeeded in holding the demonstration one week after Ahmadinejad’s initial anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist declarations. Our support went far beyond political parties. Corriere della Sera, Italy’s largest daily came out in favor of the demonstration along with many other papers. Repubblica, the second largest
daily treated the rally benevolently, which was the maximum one could expect from them. The communist daily Il Manifesto opposed the demonstration, but some of its journalists marched nevertheless. Numerous associations also came out in support and so did various other bodies of Italian civil society, from the Catholic sector and elsewhere. Many intellectuals and public personalities also expressed their backing.36
In 2012, then-parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein organized another pro-Israeli demonstration in front of the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. Nirenstein’s “speaking marathon” featured over fifty pro-Israeli speakers, and a total of 1,500 Israel supporters attended the event. Stressing the importance of the event, Nirenstein said, “I believe that for the sake of peace we need to restore the truth about the ongoing conflict. We need to neutralize the denigratory language used day by day to criminalize Israel and to delegitimize its right to defend its own citizens under attack.”37
Reactions to Changes in Government
Whenever an important change in foreign governments takes place, assessments have to be made on how it will affect anti-Israelism and classic anti- Semitism. Sometimes this change is somewhat for the better, such as the one in Norway in 2013. The Labour-dominated left-wing government, of which several ministers were part-time anti-Semites and anti-Israeli inciters, was defeated. It was replaced by a government of the Conservative Party (Høyre) and the Progress Party. Several of the new government’s ministers had previously belonged to the parliamentary Friends of Israel.
Already in the first few months, it became clear that a minor pro-Israeli change in government policy had taken place. One indication was that after an invitation from King Harald V in May 2014, then-Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Norway. However, this does not affect large parts of Norwegian civil society where the incitement continues. This involves the powerful trade unions, many media, various church leaders, NGOs, academics, and so on. One of Israel’s diplomatic aims should thus be supporting the cessation of Norwe- gian government funding of hate NGOs that promote incitement against Israel. Yet another issue that should be raised with the Norwegian government concerns a government-financed study’s finding that 38 percent of the Norwegian population thinks Israel is behaving toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews. Israel would be justified in demanding that the Norwegian government investigate how this extreme and evil mindset was created in Norwegian society, which bodies and structures were responsible for it, and how the situation can be remedied.38
On the other hand, in the Netherlands the current coalition of the liberal party VVD and the Labour Party falls far short regarding Israel of the previous coalition of the VVD and the Christian Democrats supported from the outside by the Freedom Party. Before the new coalition came into power, there should have been a detailed assessment of how to deal with the Labour Party’s anti-Israeli incitement.
It should be part of Israeli policy to encourage various governments to investigate anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. Major studies have been done on anti- Semitism and to a lesser extent anti-Israelism by parliamentary committees or at the request of parliament in the UK,39 Canada,40 Germany,41 and Italy.42
Discriminatory political attitudes and incitement against Israel out of Europe have become an increasingly worrisome problem over many years. It is manifest- ed both at the level of the European Union and of several of its member countries. European motivations for this are numerous. They believe it serves them well politically in their relations with Arab countries and with Muslim popu- lations in their home countries. Another reason is the empathy of many on the left for the Palestinians, while ignoring the huge ideological and other types of criminality in Palestinian society, and the even greater extent of such criminality in several Muslim countries. A third motivation is that blackening Israel enables Europeans to somewhat whitewash their countries’ guilt over the massive criminal conduct during the Holocaust.
Successive Israeli governments have almost consistently reacted weakly to the insults and lies coming out of the political system and civil societies of Europe, including some foreign diplomats in Israel. The reasons for this are not clear. A major one seems to be the tradeoff for good relations in other fields, in particular the economic one. To a much lesser extent, this may be true for research, cultural, sport, and other European-Israeli relations.
One hears Israeli diplomats in Europe say off the record that Israel should not come out too strongly against anti-Semitism in Europe. A typical case concerns Hungary with its political support for Israel and good economic relations. Obviously, this is never phrased explicitly.
Israel has also let the Europeans get their way with the claim that according to international law, the settlements are unequivocally “illegal.” This stance has clearly led to incessant European condemnations of settlement expansion. It would have been far more useful if Israel had mobilized the numerous legal experts in Israel and abroad who believe that many parts of international law have a very weak legal basis, as well as those who maintain that under interna- tional law, the settlements are indeed legal.
The result of the widespread and ongoing European incitement against Israel is a situation where at least 150 million out of 400 million adult citizens in the European Union hold criminal views about Israel, believing that it is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians, or behaves toward them like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews.43
Thus, not only is there a huge number of Europeans with a criminal mindset toward Israel, but this reality further facilitates European pressure on Israel. One small example occurred when at the beginning of 2014 the new EU ambas- sador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, warned that European-Israeli relations could deteriorate if no peace was reached.
He used diplomatic phrasing to say that if there was an expansion of settlements, “I am afraid that what will transpire is a situation where Israel will find itself increasingly isolated.” He added that “this isolation would likely come not from decisions made at a governmental level but rather by a myriad of private economic actions, such as divestment by pension funds and consumers who will not buy Israeli products.”44
Yet what Faaborg-Andersen omitted to mention was the contribution the EU had made to the criminal mindset of so many Europeans toward Israel via its frequent, discriminatory condemnations of Israel.
An Israeli policy that neglects structural medium-term risks resulting from its demonization in exchange for short-term benefits is extremely dangerous. An overall and in-depth assessment of how to confront Europe on its incite- ment and the criminal mindset of many of its citizens must be made. There are many handicaps here, however. One significant one is the small number of Israeli specialists on European politics as compared to the many experts on Middle Eastern issues and American relations. Hence only a few cases of the incitement against Israel and what is behind it are exposed in Israeli and international media. After many years of Israeli neglect of this matter, much more attention should be given to it in the future.
Freedom of speech and “the right of media to know” have been turned into ab- solute values. Such “absolutism” has led to much abuse against Israel. Israel and the Jews, as in so many other cases, have become a sensor for a great variety of manipulations. As Israel has suffered from biased media attacks for many years that have caused great damage to its image, this issue requires special attention. Foreign journalists operating in Israel fall into two broad categories: honest journalists and pro-Arab propagandists who falsely claim to be journalists. If both categories have similar rights to Israeli press cards and to attend government briefings, there is no reason why the propagandists should change their approaches. This became clear once again after the passing of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Several media abroad republished the lie that his visit to the Temple Mount in 2000 triggered the Second Intifada. One wonders why these people are allowed to hold onto their Israeli press cards. Journalists who write about “1967 borders” instead of “armistice lines” should be reprimanded for spreading false information. Only a systematic and determined approach to this problem will yield results.
If an Israeli government structure to fight propaganda were in existence, it would study major media. It would expose them in as many ways as possible on each distortion. As the funds that should be made available for this purpose would far exceed those of organizations such as CAMERA and HonestReport- ing, such activity could become very embarrassing for some foreign media. In addition, the Israeli government could punish hate-Israel manipulative journalists by taking away their press cards.
The Business Sector
Economic boycotts against Israel have a lengthy history. Normally, the business sector of a country is one where reactions to negative developments occur faster than elsewhere in society because of this sector’s competitiveness. In view of the many commercial interests involved, one would have expected Israeli business associations to have developed a structure that battles these actions in a sophisticated way after facing decades of boycotts.
Rather little progress has been seen here, however. On the contrary, in the midst of the American-initiated “peace process” at the beginning of 2014, a group of Israeli businessmen told Prime Minister Netanyahu that “the world is running out of patience and the threat of sanctions is rising. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.”45
To make matters worse, these business leaders not only proclaimed this in Israel but announced their intention to promote these issues at the World Economic Forum in Davos, for which they were departing. They were thus weakening their own side in negotiations. This is even more severe because any senior business leader has experience in negotiations and knows what such undermining means.
Th s attitude also sheds further light on the damage resulting from the absence of a central contra-propaganda structure. Had it been in existence for many years already, it would certainly have developed working relationships with Israeli business-sector associations, making such actions by senior figures without internal opposition much less likely.
As aforementioned, Dershowitz was quoted as saying that international law is “a construct in the mind of a bunch of left wing academics.”46 Legal attacks on Israel have intensified so greatly that this should be a priority sector for government funding in the fight against the propaganda war. Legal attacks, and political assaults masked as legal, occur frequently. Presenting settlements as “illegal” and calling the disputed territories “occupied” are just some of the aspects. It should be evaluated whether showing that parts of international law are utopian or unworkable constructs is worthwhile. Its multiple distortions in the propaganda war against Israel should be exposed. The same is true for the distorters themselves.
Cotler has pointed out that many legal and other remedies exist to combat Iran. State parties to the UN Genocide Convention should file complaints against Iran—which is also party to the convention—before the International Court of Justice. Member states should request that the UN Security Council pass a resolution condemning Iran’s incitement to genocide and refer the matter to the International Criminal Court, which can indict Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and their collaborators, as it has done with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.47
The UN Genocide Convention is a typical example of an accepted international law that is not subsequently upheld by its signatories. The same goes for some legislation concerning anti-Semitism in various countries.
Rabbi Andrew Baker, personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in- office on combating anti-Semitism and director of International Jewish Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, argued before the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism that legislation to punish hate speech can be ineffective or even harmful:
From what I’ve observed, my sense is that legislation often does not work. It may exist but it is not uniformly or frequently imposed. In some cases where court examinations have been brought, the length of time between bringing a case and reaching some settlement can often be months or even years. Penalties, when penalties are applied, may be so limited as to really not be a deterrent. And I think in some countries, the mere fact that you have a legal process has allowed political leaders to be quiet, whether by choice or whether by law, to be able to say this is now a matter for the prosecutor, a matter for the courts, and they won’t speak. I think we need to do more to determine the best ways of dealing with this hate speech.48
Daniel Bodnar, chairman of the Hungarian TEV organization for monitoring anti-Semitism in the country, says, “In Hungary, current laws against anti-Semitic incitement are among the best in Europe. The problem is that the authorities do not apply them. Even worse is that the former Constitutional Court ruled that only in cases of direct and clear danger is there a transgression of incitement laws.”49
There is a huge pool of law experts willing to help defend Israel. For ex- ample, more than one thousand jurists signed a letter in a short period of time that stressed several basic points of false use of legal semantics and other issues of legal bias by the European Union.50 This pool of potential supporters has, however, barely been tapped.
The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) approach in the academic world already started in 2002. In this field, the main burden of the Israeli fight against propaganda should not rest on the government alone. Israeli universities must play a major role here, though they have largely failed to do so far.
There are a multitude of ways to fight boycotts and other anti-Israeli actions. Some of them were demonstrated after the 2013 boycott decision by the Ameri- can Studies Association. There are also many other ways to deal with anti- Israeli inciters in the academic domain. Sometimes one can obtain ideas from what happens in other countries. In Germany, various politicians lost their jobs because researchers found cases of plagiarism in their doctoral theses.51
No academic would like to have someone checking his or her publications systematically for plagiarism, false quotations, and distorted footnotes. One would only have to uncover a few academics in this way and expose them to their universities and colleagues to make the academic Israel-haters aware that also in academia, there are no free anti-Semitic lunches for inciters.
Exposing such academics would also be beneficial to academia. Universities should appreciate those who prove that some staff members are plagiarizers or extremely negligent in presenting their sources. Yet, as far as boycotts are concerned, Jewish and Israeli sources often seem to provide most of the public information. It should be assessed whether this publicity is not counterproductive.
It is far more difficult to fight the reputation of an institution than of an individual. Attacking the UNHRC as an exceptionally biased caricature of hu- man rights is totally justified. Yet in the political reality it may have little impact. Attacking biased anti-Israelis appointed by the council to express supposedly impartial judgments is far easier than attacking the UNHRC as a whole, and could lead to positive results if done professionally.
The same is true as far as attacking The New York Times or the BBC is concerned. Exposing the extreme bias of individual journalists is far simpler and can be ultimately successful. Fighting the biased Human Rights Watch NGO has had mixed success. Yet its senior military analyst Marc Garlasco resigned after he had been exposed as a collector of Nazi memorabilia.
Jewish and Israeli Anti-Semites
Jewish and Israeli anti-Semites may not be numerous, but they are often used by proponents of Israel’s delegitimization who regard Jewish and Israeli anti- Semites as lending legitimacy to their own causes.
This group of enemies of Israel is one of the most difficult to deal with, as freedom-of-speech issues often come into play. Yet a limited number of these people cause a disproportionate number of problems. This means that however complicated it may be, methods to diminish the damage have to be sought.
A different category is Jewish masochists, a group that varies from mild to severe sufferers of this aberration. In Israel one finds them even at the high- est levels of society including the government table. They call for unjustified concessions to the Palestinians. Several of them do so out of fear of what the world will do to Israel if no peace agreement is reached.
Countering Propaganda Visits to Palestinian Territories
One of the most effective methods of Palestinian propaganda is the brainwash- ing of foreign visitors to the Palestinian territories. Various organizations in the Western world, while diverting their gaze from the genocidal elements in Palestinian society, regularly bring groups to the territories.
They then stress the Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian population, resulting in much publicity abroad about how the Palestinians are oppressed. One element that gets much attention is the checkpoints. These inciters remain silent about the murderous Palestinian attacks that caused these checkpoints in the fi st place. Instead, imitation “Israeli” checkpoints have emerged in various places in the Western world. They are a regularly recurring tool in the propaganda war against Israel.
During 2012’s Israel Apartheid Week, a number of universities across the world erected mock checkpoints on campus. At the London School of Economics, such a checkpoint was positioned outside a campus building. The university’s Arab protesters stopped and harassed Jewish students, asking them for identification.52
At McGill University in Montreal, a similar mock checkpoint was created that year in addition to a “mock apartheid wall.”53 One Jewish student identified by Apartheid Week organizers as involved in pro-Israeli activism on campus recalled being verbally hectored to enter the mock checkpoint.
At Harvard University, in addition to a mock separation barrier, 2012 Apart- heid Week activities also included mock “eviction notices” posted on walls across the campus stating “Your suite is scheduled for demolition.”54
A mock separation barrier was also erected outside of the Church of St. James in downtown London at the end of 2013. More problematic, this wall was not part of any Apartheid Week activities. Instead it was the initiative of Anglican clergyman Stephen Sizer, who has devoted much of his career to challenging Jewish claims to the Holy Land.55
This problem is complex. Israeli embassies abroad and pro-Israeli orga- nizations should be taught to build up networks of people who react to these claims. Such allegations cannot be fought with one hand tied behind one’s back. One has to expose the many murderous acts of the Palestinians that led to the restrictions, and sometimes go so far as correctly accusing some of the pro-Palestinian activists as allies of those who glorify murder. How this should be done to avoid legal problems as much as possible has to be considered in each country.
Although trade union anti-Israelism is similar to academic anti-Semitism, much less is known about it. To fight it the Israeli government must collaborate with the Histadrut.
In irrational environments sentimental appeals often have a good chance to convince one’s audience. The Palestinians have understood that far better than Israelis. Sentimental appeals well fit the Palestinian promotion of the image that they are victims of Israel. It is far more accurate to say that they could have had a second Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan, if the Arab countries had not refused it after the UN General Assembly partition resolution in 1947. Nor have the Palestinians made anything like ongoing peaceful efforts to get one since.
One of the best-known sentimental appeals is Palestinian refugees show- ing the key of the apartment they or their ancestors left or had to leave in the 1948 war. Another sentimental appeal is advanced by some of their Western allies who claim that Israelis should have empathy for the Palestinians. That the Palestinians are weaker than Israel justifies such a claim in their eyes even if the largest Palestinian party, Hamas, promotes genocide of the Jews while the Palestinian Authority glorifies murderers of Jewish civilians.
The reactions to the Protective Edge campaign have once again proved the power of sentimental appeals. Hamas has used human shields, positioned its rocket launchers next to schools, and so on. Many media outlets, however, focused on children killed by Israelis as a result of the Hamas policy. Often that policy was not even mentioned.
Israel is paying greatly for its lack of understanding of sentimental appeals and their power. Nor has Israel’s leadership understood that attempts to an- swer sentimental appeals with rational ones are often doomed to failure. This is particularly so in light of the earlier-mentioned huge number of Europeans with extreme irrational views of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel will thus have to develop adequate answers to sentimental appeals.
Fighting a propaganda war is usually based on exaggerating the crimes of one’s enemies. Those committed by many leading and other Palestinians and in many other Arab and Muslim societies are so major that one only has to publicize them as they are. There is a crucial need to start exposing much more explicitly the huge hate-mongering against Jews and Israel coming out of parts of the Muslim world, and in particular the Palestinian leadership of both Hamas and Fatah. This may, however, easily lead to stereotyping.
There are many vile Islamic religious leaders and other hate-mongers. They promote jihad, issue fatwas to justify violence including suicide bombings, and may incite to genocide. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei can be defined as an icon of genocidal Israel-hatred.
Despite all this, Israel and its allies should not fall into the trap of generalization and stereotyping when they take the necessary measures in the propaganda war against extreme incitement from large parts of the Muslim world. They should not go further than saying that these phenomena are typical of parts of the Muslim world, without blaming Islam in its totality or all Muslims. Such generalized blaming is what a number of racist political movements in Europe frequently engage in.
At the same time, one should also expose a number of popular falsehoods. One is that there is “only one Islam.” A religion is what its followers make of it at a given time. As contemporary Muslims interpret their religion in rather diverse ways, there is no one Islam. A second falsehood is that the Muslim world consists of a certain number of radicals who are called Islamists and a far larger number of “moderates.” A far more correct description is: there is a wide, almost continuous spectrum of Muslim attitudes, with the radical Islamists at one extreme and the moderates at the other.
The Muslims—like the others—who marched in the anti-Israeli demonstra- tions in the summer of 2014 are indirect supporters of Islamo-Nazis. They are not moderates and should not be considered as such. Muslims who deny the Holocaust are not moderates. Muslims who take the Koran literally and think that Jews are apes and pigs are not moderates; nor are those who think that Jews are inferior beings.
Mahmoud Abbas and the other Palestinian Authority leaders who glorify the murderers of Israeli civilians are not moderate Muslims either. There are also indifferent Muslims who do not care. We do not know how many true moderates there are at the other end of the Muslim spectrum. It may well be that the number of such genuine Muslim moderates is not larger than that of the Islamo-Nazis.
Encouraging Individual Activists
In the past, several courageous individuals have undertaken pro-Israeli activities. To mention two examples from the academic world, Ronnie Fraser in the UK has been a pioneer in fighting—often alone—hate campaigns against Israel in academic trade unions.56 In the United States, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin has been in the forefront of fighting many cases of anti-Semitism and anti- Israelism on the University of California campuses.57
More recently, British actress Maureen Lipman took the private initiative to start attacking the British Labour Party, which she had supported for five decades. In particular she has written to expose Ed Miliband, the head of the party, a Jew who had led the party in the campaign to recognize a Palestin- ian state. Lipman wrote of Miliband: “He is a second-generation immigrant Jew, whose father escaped Nazi death camps, and inadvertently or not, he is pandering to the antisemitism masking as anti-Zionism, which is once again sweeping across Europe.”58
It is important to encourage these people in their fearless endeavors, the more so as they are often isolated and encounter much abuse. While this may seem like a minor issue, it is of great psychological importance. The Israeli government not only totally failed in the al-Dura affair but, even worse, hardly supported those abroad who stepped up courageously to expose the falsification of this story.
Even before the proposed Israeli contra-propaganda structure is estab- lished, more systematic attention to the issues outlined here can already provide some results. Finally, a central role in all of these battles will have to be played by teams of psychologists, public relations experts, and lawyers. Their expertise will be necessary to make the Israeli actions far more effective.
The above are only a few examples among many in the propaganda war where major Israeli focus and systematic approaches are long overdue. What could not be provided here is a systematic overview of approaches on all major issues. This should be one of the tasks of the proposed new structure.
1 Yaakov Lappin, “IAI joins the cyberwarfare race,” The Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2014.
2 Niv Elis, “Netanyahu declares Beersheba cybersecurity hub,” The Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2014.
3 Yonah Jeremy Bob, “Cyberwarfare: A game-changing issue in the next war,” The Jerusalem Post, January 31, 2014.
4 Lappin, “IAI joins the cyberwarfare race.”
5 Elad Benari, “Italy Stands by Israel, Boycotts Durban III,” Israel National News, July 23, 2011.
6 Yasser Okbi, “Hamas’s Haniyeh would trounce Abbas if elections held today, Palestinian poll says,” The Jerusalem Post, September 3, 2014.
7 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Irwin Cotler, “Existing Tools to Deal with Iran’s Crimes,” in Manfred Gerstenfeld, Demonizing Israel and the Jews (New York: RVP Press, 2013), 49-54.
8 “Poetin: Nederland heeft pedofielenclub, Rusland niet,” de Volkskrant, April 8, 2013. (Dutch)
9 “Russische kritiek op mensenrechten Nederland,” de Volkskrant, January 15, 2014. (Dutch)
10 “PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the United Nations General Assembly,” Prime Minister’s Office, September 29, 2014.
11 “Netanyahu rejects U.S. criticism of Israel’s eastern Jerusalem housing plans,” JTA, October 28, 2014.
14 Harriet Sherwood, “Israeli inquiry says film of Muhammad al-Dura’s death in Gaza was staged,” The Guardian, May 20, 2013.
15 Jacob Laksin, “Petition for Genocide,” FrontPage Magazine, July 28, 2006.
16 Spencer Ho and Lazar Berman, “Swedish Jew files for asylum in her own country,” The Times of Israel, November 19, 2013.
17 Andrea Levin, “CAMERA Billboard Campaign Calls out New York Times Bias Against Israel,” January 27, 2014, www.camera.org.
20 Manfred Gerstenfeld, “One simple example of how to fight Israel’s delegitimization,” The Jerusalem Post, September 3, 2014.
23 Jenni Frazer, “Pro-Israel activist’s case against UCU fails,” Jewish Chronicle, March 28, 2013.
24 Cnaan Liphshiz, “Norwegian official: Schools considering Israel boycott,”
Haaretz, November 8, 2009.
25 “55 U.S. universities condemn ASA boycott of Israel,” JTA, December 30, 2013.
26 Lori Lowenthal Marcus, “Congressional Letter: Academic Boycott of Israel is
‘Thinly Veiled Bigotry,’” Jewish Press, January 10, 2014.
27 “More U.S. universities withdraw from ASA over academic boycott of Israel,” JTA, December 24, 2013.
28 AAUP Statement on ASA Vote to Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel, www. aaup.org/sites/default/files/AAUPStatementASAVote_0.pdf.
29 “N.Y. State bill ends funding to schools linked to boycott groups,” JTA, January 27, 2014.
30 Jakken B. Lian, “Right of Reply: Norway is not anti-Semitic,” The Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2009.
31 Plenaire verslagen Tweede Kamer, “Noodklok om Jodenhaat,” January 16, 2014. (Dutch)
32 Letter from Rabbi Abraham Cooper to Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk As- scher, February 6, 2014, http://tundratabloids.com/2014/02/tt-exclusive-swcs- rabbi-abraham-cooper-writes-sharp-letter-to-dutch-prime-minister-over-antisemitism.html.
34 Written Questions of Parliamentarian Dijkgraaf (SGP) to the Ministers of Social Affairs and Employment and Security and Justice, March 11, 2013. (Dutch)
35 KGS, “Dutch Deputy Pm Asscher Still Hasn’t Responded To Swc’s Rabbi Cooper’s 13th Of March Correspondence Concerning Anti-Semitism In The Netherlands . . ,” Tundra Tabloids, July 29, 2014.
36 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Giuliano Ferrara, “Marching for Israel against Ahmadinejad,” in European-Israeli Relations: Between Confusion and Change? (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Adenauer Foundation, 2006), 204-210.
37 Benjamin Weinthal, “Italians hold speech rally for Israel,” The Jerusalem Post, November 23, 2012.
38 “Antisemittisme i Norge? Den norske befolkningens holdninger til joder og an- dre minoriteter,” Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, May 30, 2012, www.hlsenteret.no/publikasjoner/antisemittismei-norge. (Nor- wegian)
39 Report of the British All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism (London: Stationery Office Ltd, September 2006).
40 Report of the Inquiry Panel, Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-
Semitism, July 7, 2011, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/can- adareport2011.pdf.
41 Antisemitismus in Deutschland, Bundesministerium des Innern, August 2011, www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Themen/Politik_Gesellschaft/ EXpertenkreis_Antisemmitismus/bericht.pdf? blob=publicationFile. (Ger- man)
42 Joint Committees I (on Constitutional, Presidency of the Council of Ministers and Interior Affairs) and III (on Foreign and European Union Affairs) [of the Italian Parliament], Final Report of the Fact-Finding Inquiry on Anti-Semitism, October 14, 2011.
44 Herb Keinon, “EU envoy denies European bias toward Palestinians,” The Jerusalem Post, January 23, 2014.
45 Ari Yashar, “Israeli Business Leaders in Davos Forum Press for ‘Peace,’” Israel National News, January 20, 2014.
46 Gil Ronen, “Dershowitz: Ignore International Law,” Israel National News, December 16, 2013.
47 Gerstenfeld, interview with Cotler, 49-51.
48 Report of the Inquiry Panel, Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti- Semitism, July 7, 2011, 70-71.
49 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Daniel Bodnar, “Hungary: Holocaust De- nial, Incitement and Intimidation,” Israel National News, January 14, 2014.
50 Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Alan Baker, “The Dirty Legal Hands of the European Union,” Israel National News, October 23, 2013.
51 Charly Wilder and Andrew Bowen, “The World From Berlin: ‘The Chancellor Will Have To Reshuffle Her Cabinet,’” Spiegel Online International, February 6, 2013.
52 Rachel Hirshfeld, “‘Apartheid’ Week: Mock Check Points and Water Balloons,”
Israel National News, February 22, 2012.
53 Barbara Kay, “Barbara Kay shares her ‘feelings’ about Israel Apartheid Week,”
National Post, March 13, 2012.
54 Yitzhak Benhorin, “Eviction notices in Harvard promote ‘Israel apartheid week,’”
Ynetnews, March 7, 2013.
55 Denis MacEoin, “Response to Anti-Israel Event at London’s St. James Church,”
Gatestone Institute, January 8, 2014.
56 Ronnie Fraser, “The Academic Boycott of Israel: Why Britain?,” in Manfred Ger- stenfeld, ed., Academics against Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2007), 198-213.
57 Leila Beckwith, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, and Ilan Benjamin, “Faculty Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israeli Bias at the University of California- Santa Cruz,” in Manfred Gerstenfeld, ed., Academics against Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2007), 122-133.
58 Maureen Lipman, “Maureen Lipman: Why is Ed Miliband Pandering to Anti- Semitism Masking as Anti-Zionism,” The Algemeiner, November 26, 2014.