For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Daniel Greenfield Sultan Knish (Originally posted 22 September '09)
(I took a look at this for the first time today, and as things have not changed, it seemed a worthwhile and relevant post)
Every now and then bewildered Israeli politicians and outreach professionals call conferences to wonder why the Hasbara is failing and why Israel can't get its story across. They are given the usual advice of hiring more PR firms, finding innovative ways to get the message through, using the internet in smarter ways and of course that all time favorite, rebranding Israel. Naturally they follow this advice, only to call another conference a year later wondering why nothing has changed.
The answer is simple enough. Defensive PR, like defensive warfare, never works. And Israeli PR and Israeli warfare has been on the defensive for decades now. If you break down Israel's message to a single sentence, it's "We didn't do any of the things we're accused of." That is the kind of message you expect to hear from criminal defendants, and it's a message that impresses no one. The only thing it does is produce a debate about the validity of the accusations themselves, which is to PR what Stalingrad was to the Russian front.
The recent Aftonbladet case represents a classic scenario that demonstrates why Israel's defensive PR is doomed to fail over and over again. The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet published an article claiming that Israeli soldiers were killing Palestinian Arabs in order to harvest their organs. The Israeli government pointed out that the article presented no evidence whatsoever, that no such thing had ever happened and demanded a retraction from the newspaper and condemnation of it by the Swedish government. The only thing Israel accomplished was to popularize the false allegation thus creating a debate over whether or not Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian Arabs to harvest their organs. Pleased by his newfound fame, the author of the article has only escalated his allegations and gone on to do a tour of the Arab world. Leftist propagandists can only watch the fallout and chuckle, because once again Israel has been suckered into playing the mug's game of defensive PR.
Defensive warfare of any kind is reactive. For the last few decades Israel has run itself ragged because it has been reactive. And by reactive I mean that Israel keeps responding to attacks against it, rather than taking the offensive. In the Six Day War, Israel responded to Nasser's planned assault, by preempting him and taking the offensive. The result was Israel's finest hour. In the Yom Kippur War, Israel waited and watched, and was nearly destroyed.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"