Hasbara, opinion manipulation and disinformation

Hasbara does not mean 'advocacy for Israel' as we may understand it. As it is practised by Israel's supporters, it means ''the duty, when the truth would be damaging, to dissemble or to disseminate misinformation to protect the interests of Israel as a Jewish state -- that is, a state with an unassailable Jewish majority.''

Israel's leaders and supporters, up to the center left, have been forcefully defending the equation between Palestinians and Terrorrism in order to conduct unilateral policies giving them full control on the decisions for Israel's borders in contempt of the Palestinian people and UN decisions with in mind the unavowable goal of getting rid of the Palestinians in the long term.

''And so history repeats itself. Now Olmert wants to persuade Washington that the newly elected leaders of the Palestinians -- the Hamas government -- are as tainted by "international terror" as the old ones. It's not about resisting the occupation, but a plot against the West. Arafat, Hamas, the ayatollahs, al-Qaeda -- it makes no odds.
According to Olmert, the solution now as then is to isolate and starve the Palestinian leadership of funds and international standing until it is made irrelevant again. Irrelevant to what? To whatever "process" Israel and the Americans want to impose on the Palestinians.''

''Take one example: that of A B Yehoshua, Israel's foremost novelist and a leader of the peace camp. Back in March 2004 he offered his own reasons for supporting an Olmert-style unilateralism -- disengagement from Gaza and annexation of the the main West Bank settlements -- before the programme even existed. What was Yehoshua's vision of "peace and stability" after convergence?
"After we remove the [isolated] settlements and after we stop being an occupation army, all the rules of war will be different. We will exercise our full force. We will not have to run around looking for this terrorist or that instigator -- we will make use of force against an entire population. We will use total force. Because from the minute we withdraw I don't want to know their names. I don't want any personal relations with them. I am no longer in a situation of occupation and policing and B'Tselem [the Israeli human rights organization]. Instead, I will be standing opposite them in a position of nation versus nation. State versus state."
Though he could not say it to Congress, this is the true goal of Olmert's unilateralism. This is why he broke with all Israeli practice by upgrading Mahmoud Abbas from the "Palestinian chairman" to the "President of the Palestinian Authority". If Israel is facing another state (even if it is one imposed unilaterally, without an army or control of its borders) then Israel will be free to use "total force" to suppress any resistance to its continuing occupation. More than that, it will have the world's sanction.

This is my chief worry if the Palestinians still want their own state in these conditions. Without international protection, a Palestinian state is doomed to fail and Palestinians will suffer further. In the present conditions, Palestinians have to renounce statehood and let Israel occupy because with occupation comes responsibility and accountability even if they are not exerted or vindicated (as in Iraq or in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel), they still are backed by international law. I hope the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people understand these issues and that they will be able to make the correct decisions to counter Israel's agressive and destructive policies against them.


Anonymous said...

Precisely Sophia,

The Palestinians are adrift. They need to either declare a state and ask for international recognition or they must dismantle the PA .

Whatever happened to Arafat's slogan of setting up a state in any land from which the Zionist enemy withdrew.

For reasons only known to Palestinian leaders this is not going to happen soon.
The PA,their legacy from Oslo, is a device to disenfranchise the Palestinians and to further their dispossession.

There is really only one effective and just solution to this question and that is for the Palestinians to dismantle the PA, renounce armed struggle, seek international protection and to ask for citizenship and equal rights in a binational state.

This would be the Zionists worst nightmare.


Cosmic Duck said...


What is needed is for the Israelis to give up the übermensch mentality and admit that they are normal people and underdogs who have to live with their neighbours. It is inhuman at this stage to advocate the kicking out of the Jews from Palestine. The two peoples have to accomodate to each other in some way. Israel must stop being a postcolonial bridgehead for Western interests. That'll take some social conditioning to achieve that, though.

Sophia said...

Issam, I think we agree 100% on this issue. The Palestinian statehood is becoming an excuse to the greater Israel and to the opression of Palestinians. If I have to choose between the stste and the people, I choose the people !


I think you are being too optimistic. The international community cannot exert pressures on Israel and as long as this matter persists Israel will do whatever it pleases them. I think the dismantling of the PA, renouncing violence and renouncing a statehood is something and the only thing the Palestinians can do without Israel and the US and hope to have an impact from.
Sometimes, you have to make difficult decisions and I think this one should be made sooner and no later by the Palestinains without further suffering and useless talks and negotiations.

Since March 29th 2006