Debunking Hasbara

Israeli spin (= propaganda = bullshit) is known as hasbara. Coordinated by Israel’s National Information Directorate, hasbara is aimed at creating an unrealistically wholesome image of Israel so the average person accepts the Zionist state’s aggressions against its neighbours and land thefts without question. In this ongoing post, I’m going to collect thoughts and links which demonstrate Israel’s pernicious perversions of reality.

From the Guardian article “Special spin body gets media on message, says Israel“:

The directorate acts across ministries and decides key messages on a daily basis. Of its core messages for the media, there has been the advice that Hamas broke the ceasefire agreements with Israel; that Israel’s objective is the defence of its population; and that Hamas is a terror organisation targeting Israeli civilians. “In general, we think we are succeeding in getting the message across,” said Vatikai.

The three slogans above are distortions and outright lies which have been exposed previously on this blog.

Uri Avnery also explains these Israeli fabrications:

As a matter of fact, the cease-fire did not collapse, because there was no real cease-fire to start with. The main requirement for any cease-fire in the Gaza Strip must be the opening of the border crossings. There can be no life in Gaza without a steady flow of supplies. But the crossings were not opened, except for a few hours now and again. The blockade on land, on sea and in the air against a million and a half human beings is an act of war, as much as any dropping of bombs or launching of rockets. It paralyzes life in the Gaza Strip: eliminating most sources of employment, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation, stopping most hospitals from functioning, disrupting the supply of electricity and water.

Those who decided to close the crossings – under whatever pretext – knew that there is no real cease-fire under these conditions.

That is the main thing. Then there came the small provocations which were designed to get Hamas to react. After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”. From a purely military point of view, it would have made more sense to lay an ambush on our side of the fence. But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians. And indeed, after several such small actions, in which Hamas fighters were killed, Hamas retaliated with a massive launch of rockets, and – lo and behold – the cease-fire was at an end. Everybody blamed Hamas.

* * *

WHAT WAS THE AIM? Tzipi Livni announced it openly: to liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza. The Qassams served only as a pretext.

Liquidate Hamas rule? That sounds like a chapter out of “The March of Folly”. After all, it is no secret that it was the Israeli government which set up Hamas to start with. When I once asked a former Shin-Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, about it, he answered enigmatically: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.”

For years, the occupation authorities favored the Islamic movement in the occupied territories. All other political activities were rigorously suppressed, but their activities in the mosques were permitted. The calculation was simple and naive: at the time, the PLO was considered the main enemy, Yasser Arafat was the current Satan. The Islamic movement was preaching against the PLO and Arafat, and was therefore viewed as an ally.

With the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987, the Islamic movement officially renamed itself Hamas (Arabic initials of “Islamic Resistance Movement”) and joined the fight. Even then, the Shin-Bet took no action against them for almost a year, while Fatah members were executed or imprisoned in large numbers. Only after a year, were Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his colleagues also arrested.

Since then the wheel has turned. Hamas has now become the current Satan, and the PLO is considered by many in Israel almost as a branch of the Zionist organization. The logical conclusion for an Israeli government seeking peace would have been to make wide-ranging concessions to the Fatah leadership: ending of the occupation, signing of a peace treaty, foundation of the State of Palestine, withdrawal to the 1967 borders, a reasonable solution of the refugee problem, release of all Palestinian prisoners. That would have arrested the rise of Hamas for sure.

But logic has little influence on politics. Nothing of this sort happened. On the contrary, after the murder of Arafat, Ariel Sharon declared that Mahmoud Abbas, who took his place, was a “plucked chicken”. Abbas was not allowed the slightest political achievement. The negotiations, under American auspices, became a joke. The most authentic Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, was sent to prison for life. Instead of a massive prisoner release, there were petty and insulting “gestures”.

Abbas was systematically humiliated, Fatah looked like an empty shell and Hamas won a resounding victory in the Palestinian election – the most democratic election ever held in the Arab world. Israel boycotted the elected government. In the ensuing internal struggle, Hamas assumed direct control over the Gaza Strip.

And now, after all this, the government of Israel decided to “liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza” – with blood, fire and columns of smoke.

Paul Craig Roberts implodes the myth that Israel is acting in self-defence:

Israel’s slow theft of Palestine is illegal under international law but protected by US “diplomacy.”

The Palestinians are no more of a threat to Israel than Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were a threat to the Nazi state. Yet, everywhere in America–Congress, the executive branch, the print and TV media, the universities, evangelical Christian institutions–there is the belief that Israel is on the verge of annihilation by Palestinian terrorists. This ignorance, so carefully cultivated by the Israel Lobby, turns genocidal aggression into self-defense.

It fools Americans, but it doesn’t fool Israelis. The Israelis have always known that “self-defense” is a cloak for a Zionist policy of territorial expansion. The policy is controversial within Israel. Many Israelis object, just as many Americans object to President Bush’s illegal wars and violations of US civil liberties. Many Israelis give voice to their moral conscience, but they are overwhelmed by vested interests.

To further the deception and ensure the majority of the world is fed with sanitised rubbish, Israel has banned foreign journalists from entering Gaza since the beginning of its bombing attacks and during the 2 months following Israel’s breaching of the cease fire in early November.

One of the challenges of Israel’s media offensive has been to counter the disturbing images of Gaza in the conflict. “In the war of the pictures we lose, so you need to correct, explain or balance it in other ways,” said Aviv Shir-On, foreign ministry deputy director-general for public affairs.

After a successful court case by the Foreign Press Association, Israel will now deign to let in 8 journalists

Israel says it will allow eight people from foreign media organisations into Gaza each time it opens the Erez crossing into the tiny territory, despite an Israeli supreme court ruling on Wednesday that up to 12 people should be allowed to enter.

It will be very interesting to see from which news agencies the vetted journalists come.

Ian Welsh at Firedoglake translates the Israel friendly tripe fed to the world by Associated Press.

The hasbara war on Wikipedia

More on the hasbara infiltration of Wikipedia

And some more

Hasbara 2.0 (beware of bugs) – hasbara at Times Square and on Youtube.

The Hasbara Buster – an erudite blog addressing many Zionist myths.

David Shasha in his book review Crushing the Wheels of Hasbara says:

The Israeli propaganda machine has become a ubiquitous presence in the American Jewish community and any attempt to generate and promote alternative sources of information carries the crushing burden of threatening that merciless beast, a beast which can do great damage to its critics.

Techniques of hasbara

* Smearing/defaming critics of Israel, aka, attacking the messenger. This is even the terminology found in the Hasbara Handbook
* Selective discussion of issues
* Framing of issues, and setting the terminology used in discussing Israel
* Harassing media about its coverage, aka, flak
* Challenging the portrayal of an alternative narrative, and attempting to keep the zionist narrative as the dominant one.

The hasbara manual describes seven propaganda techniques:

1. Name calling: through the careful use of words, then name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol.
2. Glittering generality: Simply put, glittering generality is name calling in reverse. Instead of trying to attach negative meanings to ideas or people, glittering generalities use positive phrases, which the audience are attached to, in order to lend positive image to things. Words such as “freedom”, “civilization”,…
3. Transfer: Transfer involves taking some of the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another. For example, a speaker might decide to speak in front of a United Nations flag, in an attempt to gain legitimacy for himself or his idea.
4. Testimonial: Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse and ideal or campaign.
5. Plain folks: The plain folks technique attempts to convince the listener that the speaker is a ‘regular guy’, who is trust-worthy because the are like ‘you or me’.
6. Fear: See fear.
7. Bandwagon: See bandwagon.

More debunking of the myth that Hamas breached the ceasefire with some solid linkage.

Often those who criticise the policies of Israel are labelled by trolls as anti-semites. Here’s a great article by journalist Kawther Salam – Why Israel is an anti-semitic state:

A ‘semite’ is one who is descended from a ‘semite’ tribe of the whole entire Arabian Peninsula. A ‘semite’ speaks one or all of the ‘semitic’ languages: Aramaic, Hebraic, and Arabic. Most probably these languages descended from Sumeria. ‘Semitic’ is an adjective that, when used properly, refers to those who speak one of the languages of the ‘semites’. It is a linquistic and cutural/tribal characterization, not religious or political.

‘Anti-semitic’ is a perjorative word being used to slander and smear individuals who criticize something Hebraic. This is a false accusation. Hebrews who hate Arabs would then also be ‘anti-semites’. It is time to shut the ‘anti-semite baiters’ up.

Furthermore, most of the citizens of the State of Israel are Khazarian in ancestry, which is NOT ‘semitic’, but Euroasian. When I studied Hebrew and Arabic, I did not become a ‘semite’; I simply learned a ‘semitic’ language. When one becomes a Buddhist, he does not become a Tibetan.

Ugly words, ugly responses

Olmert TorahAs we predicted, Israel’s recent aggression against the blockaded and deprived people of Gaza and threats of escalated collective punishment have been logically followed as in the past by more radicalisation, with a murderous attack by an unidentified gunman within a religious school in Jerusalem.

Merkaz HaRav yeshiva is described by one comment in Haaretz as ‘a heart of religious Zionism’, in other words, a bastion of the land thieving settler movement.

“This attack … came in reaction to the crimes of the Israeli occupation and the massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman.

The gunman is reported as being a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem, and his actual identity is still unclear.

8 students were slaughtered, making the results of Israhell’s aggression against the neighbours it ethnically cleansed 60 years ago consistent with the existing death ratio. A comparative 10 Palestinians are slaughtered due to the illegal occupation, blockades and oppression by the Zionist enterprise for every 1 Israeli.

And so the cycle of violence, orchestrated and cheerled by those who benefit and glory in it the most – religious zealots, rightwing fanatics, power-mad politicians and of course the shills of the weapons industry – continues.

Meanwhile, Israhell is condemned for its 40 years of occupation and oppression by aid groups –

GAZA is experiencing “a humanitarian implosion” and life for its embattled citizens is at its worst since the beginning of Israeli occupation in 1967, a coalition of British human rights groups and charities said yesterday.
Poverty and unemployment are rising, hospitals are suffering power cuts for 12 hours a day and the water and sewage systems are close to collapse, according to a report by groups including Amnesty International, Care International UK, Oxfam and Save the Children UK.

It called on the UK government and the European Union to urgently redress this by pressuring Israel to lift its blockade on the impoverished coastal enclave and talk to Hamas.

The UK groups’ report on Gaza said the severity of the humanitarian situation had “increased exponentially since Israel imposed extreme restrictions on the movement of people and goods in response to the Hamas takeover (last June] and to indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel”.

It added: “The Gaza economy is no longer on the brink of collapse; it has collapsed.”

During the past six months, the majority of private businesses in Gaza have shut down and 95 per cent of its industrial operations have been suspended due to an Israeli ban on imported raw materials and the blockage of exports. The report said poverty and unemployment had deepened dramatically and that 1.1 million people out of a population of 1.5 million were dependent on food aid.

Israeli restrictions had also hit patients in need of medical treatment unavailable in Gaza. Israel granted only 64 per cent of applications for care outside Gaza in December, compared with 89.3 per cent in January 2007.

An Israeli spokesman for Olmert effused in support of ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians, whilst taking the opportunity to delegitimise the democratically elected Hamas government yet again.

“In Gaza, a hostile regime took power that is shooting rockets into Israel on a daily basis. You don’t have to have normal economic relations with a country that is shooting at you.”

It doesn’t appear to occur to these arrogant monsters that Israel, possessing the 5th most powerful military in the world, continuously commits war crimes which have been declared war crimes internationally for very good reason, as they inevitably cause terrible repercussions to be visited upon their perpetrators, irregardless of whether Israel wishes to lay the blame, as it always does, on its victims rather than taking responsibility for its own criminal, deliberately chosen policies.

There is no happiness for him who oppresses and persecutes; no, there can be no repose for him. For the sighs of the unfortunate cry for vengeance to heaven. – Johann Pestalozzi

When a shoah is not a holocaust

The Zionist media strongarmers rush to insist on retractions by the media whom they claim misinterpreted Israhelli Deputy Defence Minister Vilnai’s use of the term ‘shoah’ in his repulsive collective bullying threat against the beleaguered Palestinian people. Guardian editor Alan Rushbridger apologises profusely for using the word holocaust as a translation – still, the Palestinian people and the world have heard Vilnai’s allusion, intended or not, loud and clear.

Will apologies now gush from multiple newspaper editors to Iranian leader Ahmadinejad for their definite misinterpretation of his speech where they and the Zionist propaganda machine claimed he said Israhell would be ‘wiped off the map’ when he actually said the Zionist regime would be metaphorically ‘wiped from the page of history’? Yeah, right, sure they will.

Wikipedia, flawed though it may be at times, has this to say:

Shoah is the Hebrew term meaning “disaster” or “conflagration”. With addition of “Ha” (meaning ‘The’ In Hebrew) – Ha Shoah is commonly used to refer to the Holocaust.

A quick google for ‘shoah’ finds the common result in English at least is the Holocaust, whereas HaShoah appears to be associated with Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Palestinian boyThe Paligate plot thickens with this Vanity Fair report where the US is revealed to have secretly conspired to give arms to Fatah strongman villain Dahlan in order to provoke a civil war to remove the democratically elected Hamas government. The elections, perpetrated at too short notice for Fatah to win, were encouraged by the US. Folowing the Hamas electoral win, the US wailed and gnashed teeth in consternation:

“Everyone blamed everyone else,” says an official with the Department of Defense. “We sat there in the Pentagon and said, ˜Who the fuck recommended this?””


Some analysts argued that Hamas had a substantial moderate wing that could be strengthened if America coaxed it into the peace process. Notable Israelis such as Ephraim Halevy, the former head of the Mossad intelligence agency shared this view. But if America paused to consider giving Hamas the benefit of the doubt, the moment was “milliseconds long,” says a senior State Department official. “The administration spoke with one voice: ˜We have to squeeze these guys. With Hamas’s election victory, the freedom agenda was dead.”

One would think after numerous utter failures and countless lives lost through cossetting of a lengthy list of previous dictators/strongmen, including Saddam, the Stupids would have learnt by now. In the current debacle according to the report, the US UN ex-representative John Bolton blames Miss Prim, Condisleezer, clumsily seeking to make her mark on history and demonstrating she has not learnt from it.