Thursday, August 13, 2009


The tactics used by apologists for states guilty of obvious abuses of human rights are not difficult for an informed observer to discern. The more blatant the abuses the more obvious these tactics become, for the informed observer. In the case of Israel apologists for atrocities pander to racism towards Palestinians who they portray as irrational, anti-Semitic neo-Nazi fanatics, attacking critics, even Jewish critics, personally with allegations of Antisemitism, use loaded words like terrorist, fundamentalist, radical, violent, and rejectionist for Palestinian actions and counter-terrorist unit, targeted killing, security fence, and natural growth for Israeli ones. Even Israeli propaganda has a special word, hasbarah, explanation.

All of this is obvious to an informed observer, but that knowledge doesn't help mitigate the effect of these tactics. A recently prepared and leaked Israeli propaganda manual from the Israel Project might. Marked "Not for distribution or publication" the report, accessible here, by Frank Luntz on how best to influence "persaudables", replete with sample propaganda posters, quotes, and statistics to repeat, was recently leaked to Newsweek. For those not familiar with the situation or the debate surrounding Israel.

Reading and circulating this hasbarah manual will better equip those outside of the activist community to recognize and discount arguments relying on the hasbarah strategies it lays out.

Below is a sampling of the manual, the section instructing propagandists on the most effective words to use in their apologetics.
• “Accountability.” It is surprising that the value Americans want most in their own
government has not been used by Israeli spokespeople to describe what’s needed in the
current dialogue. Stop using “confidence-building measures” and start using
“accountability” to describe what’s needed most within the Palestinian government(s).
• “Building”: Never talk about “giving” the Palestinians something. It sounds too
paternalistic. Instead, talk about “building” because it suggests a step-by-step, layer-bylayer
improvement in conditions. Giving reminds people that you’re in the stronger
position and that creates more sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians.
• Children: As often as possible, make the stakes of achieving peace about providing a
future for both Palestinian and Israeli children in which they can live, learn, and grow up
without the constant fear of attack.
• “Come to Jerusalem to work for peace”: The visual symbolism isn’t lost on American
ears. It’s an active challenge to turn words into deeds.
• “Cooperation, collaboration, and compromise”: This is how Americans believe the
conflict must be solved. When you give a little, you get a lot.
• “Deliberately firing rockets into civilian communities”: Combine terrorist motive with
civilian visuals and you have the perfect illustration of what Israel faced in Gaza and
Lebanon. Especially with regard to rocket attacks but useful for any kind of terrorist
attack, deliberate is the right word to use to call out the intent behind the attacks. This is
far more powerful than describing the attacks as “random.”
• “Economic Diplomacy”: This is a much more embracing and popular term than the
current lexicon of “sanctions.” It has appeal across the political spectrum: the tough
economic approach appeals to Republicans, and the diplomacy component satisfies
• “Economic Prosperity”: Whenever Israel talks about the “economic prosperity” of the
Palestinians, it puts Israel in the most positive light possible. After all, who can disagree?
• Examples of Peace Efforts: Constantly cite Israel’s past efforts and sacrifices for peace
with moderate Arab leaders also willing to work for peace. But don’t dwell on the past.
Property of The Israel Project. Not for distribution or publication. 2009. 20
Simply present these past examples as the best reasons why Israel remains committed to
making peace in the future.
• “Equal rights”: Emphasize that Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis enjoy equal rights and
equal protections under the law in Israel. But don’t stop there: “The tragedy is that
Palestinians have far less rights under their government than Israeli Arabs have under
• Human to Human: Appealing directly to the Palestinian people on behalf of the Israeli
people takes the issue out of the political realm and humanizes it. “We know that the
average Palestinian and the average Israeli want to come together and make peace.
They want to live in peace. Israeli leaders have come together with Arab leaders to make
peace in the past. But how do you make peace with Hamas and Hezbollah?”
• Humanize Rockets: Paint a vivid picture of what life is like in Israeli communities that
are vulnerable to attack. Yes, cite the number of rocket attacks that have occurred. But
immediately follow that up with what it is like to make the nightly trek to the bomb
• “If… If… If…Then.”: Put the burden on Hamas to make the first move for peace by
using If’s (and don’t forget to finish with a hard then to show Israel is a willing peace
partner). “If Hamas reforms… If Hamas recognize our right to exist… If Hamas
renounces terrorism… If Hamas supports international peace agreements… then we are
willing to make peace today.”
• “Living together, side by side. This is the best way to describe the ultimate vision of a
two-state solution without using the phrase.
• “Militant Islam”: This is the best term to describe the terrorist movement. Avoid Bushera
sounding terms like “Islamo-fascism.”
• “Mutual respect”: You want to put the conflict in perspective. “The best way, the only
way, to achieve lasting peace is to achieve mutual respect.” This relieves the pressure on
Israel and places it squarely on Hamas and Hezbollah. In fact, the fastest way to
demonstrate an open-minded approach and differentiate Israel’s aims from Hamas and,
frankly, Fatah, is to talk about your respect for the Palestinian people. “We do not have
the right to tell the Palestinians whom to elect to represent them. We hope they will
choose leaders that will listen and truly care about them. We respect their right to live in
peace and prosperity. All we ask is for them to respect the same for us.”
• “Nobody has to leave their homes”: This is the most winning phrase in the lexicon of
settlements. Use the principle of mutuality to explain that just as Arab Israelis are not
expected to move out of their homes in Israel, Jews in a new Palestinian state should be
allowed to stay in their homes, too.
• “One step at a time, one day at a time”: It is essential to lower expectations and reduce
the pressure on Israel to rush into an agreement that is either not in its interests or
jeopardizes its security. The “one step at a time” language will be accepted as a
common sense approach to the land-for-peace equation.
Property of The Israel Project. Not for distribution or publication. 2009. 21
• “Peace before political boundaries”: This is the best phrase for talking about why a
two-state solution isn’t realistic right now. First the rockets and the war need to stop.
Then both peoples can talk about political boundaries.
• “Persistence” and “perseverance” : It is not just the effort that matters. It’s the
intensity of that effort. The fact that against great odds and obvious provocations Israel
still seeks peace will be appreciated by all audiences.
• “Prevention”: With respect to Iran, this is your best word for the overall approach to
their quest for nuclear weapons. Not “preemption.”
• “The RIGHT to”: This is a stronger phrase than “deserves.” Use the phrase frequently,
including: the rights that both Israelis and Arabs enjoy in Israel, the right to peace that
Israelis and Palestinians are entitled to, and Israel’s right to defend its civilians against
rocket attacks.
• “Societal Progress”: This is a dangerous term unless used to address the aspirations of
the Palestinian people. First talk about how “the Palestinians have the right to the same
societal progress that is happening in Europe and Asia.” Then address the freedoms they
lack – and the freedoms they deserve. Americans and Europeans see “societal progress”
as a moral imperative and a fundamental necessity for eliminating the root causes of
• “Specific Plan of Action”: Even if the plan will take time, Americans want to know that
there is a specific plan of action to which both sides can and will be held accountable.
Whether you’re talking about the peace process with the Palestinians or the process of
preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, use this phrase to describe your
• “We have all made mistakes.” People do not expect Israel to be 100 percent successful
in all their efforts to stop terrorism. Admitting that Israel has and continues to make
mistakes does not undermine the overall justice of Israel’s goals: peace and security and a
better quality of life for everyone. It does gain you much needed credibility.
• “We’re all in this together.” One of the most powerful phrases of 2009 in America can
easily be adapted to the situation in the Middle East. Acknowledging a common
condition not only communicates a realistic approach from the Israeli perspective but also
builds a sense of empathy.
• “Working toward a solution”: Americans don’t expect the dispute between Israel and
the Arabs to end overnight, but they absolutely need to know that “Israel is working to
find a solution that is acceptable to everyone involved.” This suggests positive intent.
This suggests progress. This suggests hope. And all three are important components of a
successful communication effort.


nina said...

sounds very familiar. Reminds you of mark regev and his friends, no?

Karin said...

It makes me nothing but NAUSEOUS!!!

Long time no hear ... what's new?
Check my blog ... I cordially invite you to follow me to Albuquerque, NM! More on my blog ..

Young Activist said...

Yes it does sound very much like that disgusting apoligist for war crimes Mark Regev, It even suggests accusing critics of being anti-Semitic and saying that closing (illegal) settlements would be ethnic cleansing. After reading this manaul it was very interesting to compare it to comments by people like Alan Derschowitz and Morton Klein. It is almost identical.

Ja, aber es ist nichts wir hatten nicht gewusst. It is good to publish this so that other people can see how it works.

Nicht viel ist neu. Ich denke an Interviews an mein Blog mit bekannten Menche machen, aber nicht viel mehr.

Sondern, ich habe eine gute Website heisst fuer Sprachelerned gefunden.

Bar Kochba said...

This Israeli-fascist propaganda is absolutely disgusting! How dare Israel defend itself or explain its position to the world! We all know that the evil Zionists kill Arab children to steal their organs.

The most ridiculous thing is that Israel portrays Hamas as fundamentalist and intolerant, especially since its charter calls for the annihilation of Israel and the murder of Jews. Why should Israel label freedom fighters who blow themselves up in Israeli cafes or hack apart children with axes 'terrorists'?

Of course, its all about the Occupation. Once the Jews ship out of their illegal settlements in Tel-Aviv and Beersheva, there will be peace.

Young Activist said...

This propaganda has nothing to do with any serious aspect of the conflict, that is why it is produced by a PR expert for distribution to 'experts' on the issue and intended to be kept quiet. A serious understanding of anything does not involve sound bites. The manual even suggests that supporters of the international consensus on the peace process, supported by international humanitarian law, be labeled anti-Semitic. This has nothing to do with informing people or making a serious argument to them, it has to do with deluding them with imagery, as the manual itself makes fairly specific.

Now on the issue of settlements, this is an issue of expansion, not of self-defense. The right of all threatened people to self-defense is a right that is almost universally recognized.

Bombing schools and hospital, whether by suicide bomber or f-16's is not, however, a form of self-defense.

Action taken in self-defense must be initiated after consideration of the full range of options and their potential consequences. The opposition of civilized opinion to 'defensive operations' by certain actors is not because self-defense is not legitimate, but because it is being used as a shallow pretense for aggression.

So in the case of Israel, the group which Israel claimed to be defending itself against wanted to renew a cease-fire that had been respected by that group (though not by Israel), there was a very easy and effective way to minimize rocket-fire, Israel rejected that path and as a result many hundreds of innocent people, both Palestinian and Israeli lost their lives. For a long term solution that organization has endorsed the international consensus, backed by every regional actor, and every nation in the world outside of the U.S, Israel, and a few Pacific atolls. Bar, you say Israel wants peace. Everyone wants peace. Hitler wanted peace. The question is peace on what terms. If you were determining the Israeli policy towards the peace process what would you offer in terms of a final solution? Or do you reject the peace process as a virus? Another anti-Semitic Trojan Horse.

I don't know where you have gotten the idea that anyone seriously proposes removing all Israelis from Tel Aviv or Beersheba, or anyone who seriously thinks that is even possible. If you could provide specific examples of that being proposed I would condemn it whole heartily, but I don't know of a single case.

Julianna said...

YA, when did Israel ever intentionally attack hospitals and schools? How an you even compare a democratic country to a terrorist organization?

Hamas never respected the cease-fire and used it as an opportunity to restock and attack Israel. On June 17, 2008, after several months of indirect contacts between Israel and Hamas through Egyptian mediators, Hamas agreed to a cease-fire (tahadiya). Almost immediately afterward, terrorists fired rockets into southern Israel. Despite what it called a "gross violation" of the truce, Israel refrained from military action. In fact, during the six months the arrangement was supposed to be observed, 329 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel.
While there were considerably fewer Palestinian assaults after the agreement than before, terror continued. Nevertheless, the IDF did not respond to the provocations. On the contrary, Israel significantly increased the amount of goods delivered to the Gaza Strip.
During this period, Israel also expected to negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier taken hostage by Hamas in June 2006. The group repeatedly increased its demands for the number of prisoners it wanted released in exchange for the lone Israeli captive, but never agreed to grant his freedom.
Violence escalated in early November after the IDF carried out a military operation close to the border security fence on the Gazan side that killed seven Hamas terrorists. Israel acted after discovering that Hamas had dug a tunnel under the fence and planned to abduct more Israeli soldiers. Hamas responded by shelling Israeli towns and has continued the rocket barrage ever since.
When the Hamas-imposed six-month deadline expired in December, Israel hoped an agreement could be reached to extend the cease-fire. Instead, Hamas began firing what would be hundreds of rockets into Israel.

When the bombardment began, it became apparent Hamas had used the lull to upgrade its arsenal with weapons that were too sophisticated to have been designed or built in Gaza. These advanced Qassam and Grad rockets, which have placed 1-in-every-8 Israelis in mortal danger, originated in Iran. They were smuggled into Gaza in pieces, assembled, and fired from launch pads well-hidden and shielded in Palestinian population centers.
Once launched, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have as little as 15 seconds to reach a bunker before a rocket detonates. Hamas has turned all of southern Israel into a place that more resembles a post-apocalyptic world, rather than a modern, civilized society. Imagine never being able to step outside without remaining in sprinting distance of a concrete bunker. Imagine having to dive into the safety of a bunker 30 times a day, every day. Try to imagine the terror of the rocket whistling down, not knowing whether it will land a mile a way, or directly above your head. But of course, Israel is always to blame with you.

Neither Hamas, nor the "moderate" Fatah accept Israel's right to exist. No ceasefire can be made with someone who does not accept your right to exist. For the 1000th time, please read the Hamas charter and tell me if it seems like a peaceful, flexible organization. At the recent Fatah conference, Abbas stated that Fatah will continue "the resistance", violent terrorist attacks against Israel. Visit for thousands of examples of the rejectionism ad hatred in the Palestinian media. "I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will," he said at a preliminary conference of the Palestinian Youth Parliament in Ramallah. At the end of the conference, Abbas was presented with a large framed map of "Palestine," covering the entire area of Israel.

The Arabs continually deny the Jewish historical and legal connection to Israel. As long as they continue to do this, they will see Tel-Aviv and Haifa as settlements, making peace impossible.

Young Activist said...

I think there is strong evidence to suggest that the IDF deliberately attacked civilian targets in Gaza. A WHO report found that 15 of Gaza's 27 hospitals sustained hits by the IDF. It is hard to believe that one of the world's most sophisticated military got it wrong 15 times. An exhaustive report by Human Rights Watch documented three separate incidents where unarmed Palestinians waving white flags, moving to locations directed by the IDF, where attacked by IDF troops when no Hamas fighters were in the area. Indeed an Israeli intelligence official conceded the IDF was targeting Hamas's "dawa, or social wing". All of this is consistent with the observation of Mordechai Gur, former IDF chief of staff, summarized by leading military analyst Ze'ev Schiff that "the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously ... [it] has never distinguished civilian targets ... [the army] purposefully attacked civilian targets." or the observation of Haaretz that “[t]he IDF, which planned to attack buildings and sites populated by hundreds of people, did not warn them in advance to leave, but intended to kill a great many of them, and succeeded.” The Israeli navy also acknowledged attacking a humanitarian relief vessel headed towards Gaza. That is a serious war crime. I do not accept that the Israeli military is as grossly incompetent as you imply when you say that despite killing many hundreds of civilians that civilians were not targeted.

Hamas is as democratically elected as Israel's government, and if you look towards the scale of violence against civilians as an indicator, Israel is guilty of far greater terrorism.

Not a single rocket was fired from Hamas during the period the cease-fire was in effect. That is a fact, if you dispute it I would challenge you to find a single credible source to verify it. The cease fire was not honored by Israel, which refused to allow in the agreed amount of aid, and then broke it with a provocation in Gaza on the American election day which left several Hamas fighters dead. During the period the cease-fire was in effect rocket attacks declined from 2,660 in the preceding six months to 65, all fired in defiance of Hamas, which enforced the cease-fire. The Israeli violation of the cease-fire on Nov. 4 prompted a "retaliation", to borrow the MFA's website's phrase, of a massive rocket attack. Hamas continued to press for the renewal of the ceasefire right up until the Israeli aggression began, an offer Israel obviously rejected, leading to the deaths of many innocent people on both sides. Towards the end of its massacre in the Gaza Strip Israel offered a worthless agreement, essentially demanding a unilateral ceasefire from Hamas, offering nothing in return.

It is interesting that Palestinians are prisoners, but Israelis are hostages. Let's put Gilad Shalit in perspective for a moment. The day before Gilad Shalit was captured Israel kidnapped two Palestinian civilians in Gaza, who are among thousands of Palestinians civilians and hundreds of children, some who are not even teenagers yet. Thin what you may about capturing soldiers, kidnapping civilians is a far more serious offense. Why do you never champion the cause of Palestinian hostages and political prisoners. Or even of Israelis who are facing political prosecution like Ezra Nawi. I hope GIlad Shalit a quick return home, but I cannot overlook that the nearly ten thousand prisoners in Israeli jails are a more serious issue and that their release may only be secured through a bilateral agreement freeing Shalit. If you are concerned with prisoners from a humanitarian standpoint you should focus on Israel's prisoners. If not I think it is disrespectful to use Shalit for your propaganda purposes.
to be continued....

Bar Kochba said...

Immediately after the truce was signed, Hamas violated it. Israel did not respond to this provocation. For a source, see

During the six months the arrangement was supposed to be observed, 329 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel. See

HRW's claims about 'White Flag' deaths asre highly unsubstantiated for several reasons:

-HRW had no presence in Gaza during the conflict. Therefore, the organization's Gaza ‘reports’, including “White Flag Deaths” are based entirely on unverifiable claims wrapped in a façade of research.

-The report’s co-author Joe Stork is a veteran anti-Israel political activist and the antithesis of a professional legal analyst. Before joining HRW, he was a leader of MERIP (Middle East Research and Information Project), whose publications have carried laudatory interviews with terrorist leaders and urged socialists to “comprehend the achievements” of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

-HRW’s publication fails to investigate incidents in which "white flags", ambulances and hospitals were used by Hamas to hide military activity. Instead, the entire report is designed to provide "evidence" of alleged Israeli war crimes (a term used 15 times).
This publication relies on Palestinian ‘eyewitness’ testimony, such as the claims of Khalid Abd Rabbo. But Abd Rabbo's testimony in other reports is highly inconsistent, and fails to provide the information necessary for a serious analysis.
Six of the seven alleged incidents are based on the unprovable ‘evidence’ from journalists or NGOs with highly biased agendas, including Breaking the Silence, Al Mezan and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

-“White Flag Deaths”, like other HRW "research reports" goes out of its way to reject the well-documented utilization of human shields by Hamas. (In contrast, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Bill Van Esveld acknowledged this evidence. This glaring inconsistency further demonstrates the framework of HRW's activities with respect to Israel.)

-The report cites medical and ballistic records as ‘evidence’ of alleged white flag incidents, but these claims provide no information on the circumstances of the injuries, and are irrelevant to HRW's claims.

You continue to repeat allegations of Israel not allowing ambulances to enter Gaza. In fact, many Palestinians were treated in Israeli hospitals. Please read the following testimony of a Gaza ambulance driver. He speaks of the real danger of Hamas hijacking ambulances and using them against Israel.

Just remember how often mad cries against Israeli "atrocities" turn out to be false. Think of the allegations that Israel attacked a UN school. The UN eventually backtracked.

And Palestinians who are in Israeli jails for planning terrorist attacks elicit no sympathy from me.

Young Activist said...

On your first point I would encourage you to actually read what your sources say. In this case the link you provide confirms what I said, namely that rockets were not fired by Hamas during the period the truce was in effect:

"Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza, promised to rein in the Iran- and Syria-backed faction that carried out the rocket attacks and pledged to remain committed to the truce that went into effect June 19 and urged restraint by all sides."
"Islamic Jihad, a militant group backed by Syria and Iran, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire from Gaza."

Your second point is a null point that I have at any rate already dealt with in my post.

And I don't really have the patience to respond to propaganda you have copy and pasted from NGO Monitor. Yes Bar, I do read quite a bit of Israeli propaganda, certainly enough to recognize when you are copy and pasting it or just making it up yourself. Professional propagandists, for example, would not make a mistake so elementary as that of your first point, to provide a source that contradicts their assertion.

A proffesional propagandist would also not attempt to refute claims their opponent never made. Though we could discuss the issue of ambulance crews being prevented from operating by Israeli soldiers if you'ld like.

That the U.N backtracked on its initial claims does not absolve Israel for its role in killing hundreds of innocent people. They are totally unconnected.

As to your last point, perhaps you should do some more research into who the Palestinian prisoners are and then perhaps compare the reasons they are in prison with the actions of leading Israeli politicians. You will find, if you do more research, that many of them are simply hostages or political prisoners. To give one example I find it hard to beleive that small children were planning terror attacks on Israel. Though to you terrorism likely just means anyone who advances a position you disagree with. If you were truly against terrorism you would have denounced the most dangerous terrorist actors in the region, the state of Israel and the United States.