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Hasbara Derangement Syndrome

Watching yesterday’s (June 6 2010) Israeli Channel Ten TV evening news, I had the dubious pleasure of watching a Caroline Glick and her merry band of Hasbaristas celebrate. They were sitting around Glick’s kitchen table, clinking champagne glasses. At one point, the hostess banged on the table and announced “finally, some Hasbara!”

The occasion was one million YouTube views of the band’s clip, “We Con the World,” whose contribution to Israeli public diplomacy efforts I assessed here.

What I found remarkable was not the grotesque scene at the home of the Jerusalem Post’s Deputy Managing Editor, but rather the TV reporter’s framing of the event: A gathering of a citizens’ Hasbara commando group, just returned from a successful raid behind enemy lines.

Not everyone in the Israeli media has completely lost his grip on reality. As the newscast ended, my copy of Globes, a conservative evening business daily, was delivered. Columnist Yoav Karni, continued his series on the strategic threat Turkey is posing to Israeli national security. This installment was a desperate call for some effective public diplomacy to counter Erdogan’s ambition. He cited Glick’s clip as an example of what not to do:

“One can follow the Jerusalem Post’s lead. A columnist in that newspaper shamed Israel’s good name when she launched satirical video mocking the plight of Gaza into the depth of the Internet.

The most popular news show on Canadian radio reported on the video with restrained rage, adding sarcastically that it gave Israel the opportunity “to do something it never does”: apologize.

Fortuitously, someone at the Prime Minister’s Office thought that the Jerusalem Post video was worthy of international dissemination. Later it had retract it. There is a human limit to expressions of of lack of empathy to the suffering of the other, even when the other is a Palestinian child in Gaza (in the satire, the Gazan child needs “a little cheese and rockets for breakfast.”)

This kind of thing makes people who are not pre-disposed to hating the country, who do not share Erdogan’s neo-Jihadist agenda, detest Israel.” These people  need a sign of remorse from Israel.

Yes, remorse. Those who have their backs to the wall have nothing to lose now, not even their dignity.”

Karni is unfair to the Jerusalem Post. They didn’t publish the video. The neoconservative operation where Glick moonlights, Latma, did. In fact, this morning’s edition of the newspaper provides some helpful context about the kind of effective public diplomacy that Latma has produced in the recent past:

Jacobson is one of three actors employed regularly by Latma, and can be seen in previous clips portraying White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel calling himself a “Capo,” and in semi-blackface (“autumn-face”) as US President Barack Obama, in whose guise he sings of his hatred for “dirty Jews” and his hope that the Koran will rule the world and the Jews will drown in the sea, before calling for Iran to strike Israel with a hydrogen bomb [from 01:33].

The editorial section provides Israelis with a balanced selection of American commentary on the Flotilla Debacle, no doubt helping them get a realistic grasp of US public opinion on the issue: Opening with Charles Krauthammer, continuing with Elliott Abrams and ending with Anne Bayefsky.

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Categories: Hasbara
  1. mickthequick
    June 7, 2010 at 22:17 | #1

    I believe you’re totally wrong here. Very conveniently you’ve ignored the “global pogrom” in the international media over the last horrible week. The facts are in: the Turkish jihadists, in their fervor, set a trap into which the IDF fell. As a consequence these willing “martyrs” (to nothing whatsoever but a fantasy)( were slain. Any country’s military would have responded the same way – or far more severely – if their soldiers were attacked with iron pipes.

    The YouTube created by Ms. Glick & Co. received over a million hits in less than 48 hours. All I’ve heard has been praise for it – except of course by the enraged anti-semitic leftist media.

  2. J Baruch
    June 7, 2010 at 23:17 | #2

    Feh.

    To the phenomenon, that is; not to your lucid commentary.

  3. adamjamesgray
    June 9, 2010 at 11:26 | #3

    I am not anti-semitic, nor do I consider myself to be left (except maybe increasingly as a result of Israel’s non-stop shift to the right… does that count?). Here’s a piece I wrote about the article:

    http://inforapennyinforapound.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/the-wacky-world-of-israeli-public-diplomacy/

    I think I share the idea that this video clearly illustrates how far out of whack the Israeli worldview has drifted from the rest of the world.

  4. Elizabeth
    June 10, 2010 at 01:56 | #4

    The most disgusting part, to me, about this clip is how racist it is. It’s much more than uncaring about Palestinian suffering (which has been a trademark of the Israeli right for ages), it degrades all adherent of Islam, exposing the “Latma” team for what it really is: a bunch of bigots out of touch with reality.
    I pointed some other problems in that awful clip here: http://www.mideastyouth.com/2010/06/08/we-con-ourselves-israeli-public-opinion-following-the-flotilla-raid/

  5. June 10, 2010 at 07:51 | #5

    I completely disagree with this premise. Israel defended itself as any country would, and the song spoke the truth. Turkey didn’t send “peace activits,” they sent haters bent on killing Jews.

    Couching it as anything else is an abomination. “Peaceful” Turkey just voted AGAINST sanctioning Iran’s nuke program so don’t suggest that Turkey’s Gaza flotilla carried boyscouts. My last blog, “An Unexpected Song Spreads the Truth” sheds light on the subject: http://tinyurl.com/2b5m2om

  6. Elizabeth
    June 10, 2010 at 17:24 | #6

    Jennifer, Brazil also voted against the UNSC resolution, does it mean that they’re terrorists too? And if those protesters were “bent on killing Jews” why did they offer them medical treatment?

  7. Larry Snider
    June 11, 2010 at 07:58 | #7

    I read & view too much on the Middle East for my own good. I go to Caroline Glicks site because it represent nearly one end of the political continuunm along with her writing in the Post. I saw the video early wrote a comment that I was a liberal and I thought the video would actually work against Israel’s interests and was roundly banged by many of her readers described as a self-hating Jew and a JINO, (you know the drill). I wrote the same thing to Jennifer Mizrahi at TIP and told the Editor of JWS that roughly 20% of the world supports the Jews at least 20% doesn’t and the other 60% are mainly disinterested. If the goal of the video was to puff up the 20% then its fine. But if the goal was to reach out to the 80% then they have a serious problem.

  8. G.A. Irwin
    June 13, 2010 at 17:21 | #8

    I read about your opinion in an article from the BBC. Considering the plethora of truly graphic and disgusting videos on the net, your outrage seems quite selective and phony. If you find harmless satire grotesque, I suggest you grow up and start appreciating the freedoms available in Israel instead of criticizing random videos on you-tube which don’t agree with your point of view.

    • June 14, 2010 at 07:46 | #9

      Random? That’s rather disingenuous, don’t you think?

  1. June 7, 2010 at 13:04 | #1
  2. June 21, 2010 at 12:45 | #2
  3. June 21, 2010 at 20:17 | #3
  4. June 22, 2010 at 00:09 | #4
  5. August 24, 2010 at 13:07 | #5
  6. August 24, 2010 at 15:09 | #6

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