This series is designed to help Jewish Community leaders, Shlichim, and Israel advocates address the onslaught of anti- Israel bombardment from various propaganda and an unsympathetic, or inattentive, media.
It has been constructed specifically to address the issues from the received media product inwards - towards the foundation information, the circumstances and method guidance - while incorporating hands-on exercises and linked reading from a multitude of internal and external resources.
This unconventional structure is deliberate: it enables the critical Jewish public to trace received images and messages back to their real origins, subsequently empowering themselves with factual sources and approaches to Hasbara at different levels.
Let's run it by in different terms:
With the bombing of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the media and worldwide, networked communication added a dimension not previously seen, even through CNN during the Gulf War. The real-time coverage of mass murder in New York by private and professional mass media proved not only how small the world was, but also how instant delivery has become. Unlike the assassination of President of Kennedy, the question that will be posed by future generations will not be:
Where were you when you heard the news?
How did you receive the news?
Did your mobile telephone send a text message, did you hear it on the radio, did you see it on the Internet, or on TV?
As news pours in - whether from the Middle East or Afghanistan - the Internet and Satellite Television keep the viewer frequently updated with a mosaic of violent images.
Both in the Media and on College campuses, the image of Israel as a peace-seeking country has been shattered.
Furthermore, anti-Israel myths have become facts on the ground, with which supporters of Israel must contend daily, and Antisemitism has again lifted its ugly head worldwide. This happened most recently at the UN Conference on Racism in Durban, where Antisemitism ran rampant, demonstrating plainly yet again that the first casualty of conflict is always Truth.
We need to look at the facts, the messages and the media, if we wish to develop a constructive image.
2. Why Israel Needs Your Solidarity
You can make a difference.
Experience has shown that pro-Israel advocacy is a sphere where what may be considered grass-roots action can create dramatic changes at all levels.
In the autumn of 2000, this was demonstrated yet again. The generally negative presentation of Israel and Israeli response by the mass media during violent Palestinian rioting and terror attacks revealed the extent to which Israeli peace-makers and the recent political leaderships had neglected to present their concerns or consolidate their achievements through clear messages suitable to a new communication age.
Indeed, the Internet has opened up an age of sharing ideas and offering mutual assistance with the advantage of universal, online access.
More than the resources, however, it has been the ordinary individuals and groups who have made this difference, moving their skills and knowledge into new dimensions.
We believe that this body of experience should lay the foundations for an ongoing plan for how Israel can be presented effectively and positively, irrespective of the changing context of events.
We believe that the baton lies in the hands of many capable and good-hearted people, from professionals to volunteers.
3. Shattering Israel's Image and Escaping from Peace
"When popular rage begins targeting American interests on Arab soil, the will of the Arabs will prevail. The United States will not reassess its position without suffering significant losses to its presence and interests in the Arab area. Without popular Arab rage, the Arab leaders will not reexamine their position nor will they change their policies. ...If the place where the Jewish voice is heard is the ballot box in the US, then the scene where the Arab voice is heard is Arab soil, which is stuffed with American companies and American interest."
General Hassan Al-Kashef, PA Information Ministry Director,
Al-Ayyam, November 7, 2000
The decision to halt the peace process was a strategic decision by the Palestinian Authority in early to mid-2000. Even before consenting to participate in further negociations, the Palestinians had realized that their demands were not going to be satisfied by Israel at Camp David, so they determined ahead of time that they needed de facto to opt out of the Oslo Peace Accords.
Creating a negative image of Israel in the media based upon the Temple Mount visit by Ariel Sharon was highly opportune - and intensely exploited by the Palestinian Authority to justify their departure from the negotiation table once and for all.
Crisis is one of Arafat's most powerful weapons. The Palestinian demands which became clear at Camp David were:
- The right of Return of all Palestinian Refugees into the sovereign State of Israel;
- Israel's withdrawal to its 1967 borders
- Jerusalem as the Capital of Palestine
- No Settlements.
Once the Palestinians realized that Israel's maximum offer would not meet these as minimum demands, the Oslo Accords were broken through violence: the media campaign to ensure the shattering of Israel's image as a peaceful country inevitably followed.