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!”
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:
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.