Being subscribed to dozens of email newsletters, I get lots of interesting news sent to me by compilers of news from various perspectives. The SOTT forum is also a rich source of global news and human doings of various sorts. It was thanks to the forum and forum member a.saccus, that I became aware of the World Union of Jewish Students Hasbara Handbook which you can read HERE. It has also been archived HERE.
This handbook is important for several reasons, the main one being that it demonstrates vividly how the process of “Zionizing” that is going on in the U.S. follows so closely the much maligned and discredited “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
According to reports we have received from college students, the issue of how those evil Islamists create suicide bombers by indoctrinating children with their evil religion is a topic that receives a lot of attention both on campuses and in the media, whether directly or indirectly. As one individual pointed out, the volume of material propagated about an issue should be an indicator that there is a great deal of effort devoted to “advocating” that issue. And here we mean advocating in the sense of “methinks they protest too much.”
The Hasbara handbook is concrete evidence that the Jewish/Zionist reactions to floods of facts are a planned and deliberate strategy for victory in social debate and in shaping U.S. policy favorable to Israel, regardless of that policy’s usefulness to the American people. The type of discourse described in this handbook is carried on at every level of American society: in Congress, in the Media, e.g., the recent bashing of President Carter, and most importantly, on school and college campuses across the nation.
a.saccus gives a short review of the Hasbara Handbook in the context of the attacks on Jimmy Carter:
Reading the article, and especially the comments of Abba Eban, a former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., I wondered why it was that pro Is. debaters were so successful. And not only the article, but the comments posted after it here make instructive reading — and actually led me to an answer.
Albert, December 9, 2006 12:27 PM wrote:
There has been also no such comparable situation to a living President having to introduce in a LA times editorial, the reality of what we are not getting in most of the press – the fact there are few Universities inviting him in, he is being blacklisted. A Nobel Prize really goes far nowadays, unless you speak against the reality of what is going on in regards to Israel and Apartheid Policies.
Earlier in the same comment, Albert had written:
The hysteric, over-the-top comments you’ve received [referring to another commentor, Bill Pearlman] are wonderful for saving with this file together, for several classroom teaching purposes. And we do use these, believe me.
The comments, the nature of their language and intentions, just hammer the point home as to why we Americans are tired of Israel, the very real Israeli lobby money forcing itself as the sole center of our political rights.
There has been NO comparable historical situation with a living President actually being called out for treason, because he dares to SPEAK ON A SUBJECT! And he disagrees with the power of the Israel lobby.
As I read through the comments, especially those by “Bill Pearlman” (not reproduced here because of their scurillity), it struck me that I had heard similar pro-Israel arguments before; and that the responses were equally stereotyped and mechanically reflex-like. Almost as if there were some kind of manual being referenced.
Sure enough, further down the thread
Alan December 10, 2006 4:39 PM wrote:
As your Hasbara manual declares, when out of your depth and when exposed as a bigot, it’s better to leave quietly.[...]
Not knowing what a “Hasbara manual” was, I Yahoogled, and wound up at SourceWatch here.
which spoke of the existence of — a “Manual”!! And it wasn’t a piece of fluff either — at 131 pages long, it promises to be my bedtime reading for many weeks to come.
You can find the Manual HERE. The emphases in the passage are mine.
Hasbara Manual, page 32:
Seven Basic Propaganda Devices
Propaganda is used by those who want to communicate in ways that engage the emotions and downplay rationality, in an attempt to promote a certain message. To effectively present Israel to the public, and to counter anti-Israel messages, it is necessary to understand propaganda devices.
This article applies a list of seven propaganda devices to the Israeli situation, and by doing so allows an understanding of some of the ways in which public opinion is fought for in the International arena.
Thus what this manual is explicitly (and revealingly) about is ways to help the user win battles, not to find out the truth of the matter.
The seven basic propaganda devices are:
Each of the seven is followed by several paragraphs of examples on how the technique is to be applied.
Quite informative reading. This is, without a doubt, a very professional piece of work, and all the more chilling because of that very professionalism.
I will only quote “NAME CALLING” in full, both out of space/time considerations and because it seems to be a technique universally and invariably used; but all the entries are interesting. The emphases in the passage are mine.
Hasbara Manual, page 32-33:
Through the careful choice of words, the name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol. Creating negative connotations by name calling is done to try and get the audience to reject a person or idea on the basis of negative associations, without allowing a real examination of that person or idea. The most obvious example is name calling — “they are a neo-Nazi group” tends to sound pretty negative to most people. More subtly, name calling works by selecting words with subtle negative meanings for some listeners. For example, describing demonstrators as “youths” creates a different impression from calling them “children”.
For the Israel activist, it is important to be aware of the subtly different meanings that well chosen words give. Call “demonstrations” “riots”, many Palestinian political organizations “terror organizations”, and so on.
Those opposed to Israel use name calling all the time. Consider the meaning of the word “settlement”. When applied to Gilo, a suburb of Jerusalem over the disputed 1967 borders, the word “settlement” creates the unfortunate impression that Gilo is located in the middle of the West Bank, and occupied by religious and political extremists (the image many people have acquired of settlements). That’s how the media and opponents of Israel use name-calling. Other examples include referring to the “war crimes” of Ariel Sharon, talking about the “invasion” of the West Bank when an army unit enters territory under PA sovereignty in order to find terrorists, and so on.
Name calling is hard to counter. Don’t allow opponents the opportunity to engage in point scoring. Whenever “name calling” is used, think about referring to the same thing (e.g. Gilo), but with a more favorable description (e.g. “suburb”). Consider calling settlements “communities” or “villages”. Use the same names back; if somebody talks about Sharon’s “war crimes”, talk about Arafat’s war crimes and involvement in terror.
Try as I might, I couldn’t find a map online locating Gilo. But I did find this:
Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting wrote:
Euphemisms for Israeli Settlements Confuse Coverage
June 26, 2002
The “neighborhood” of Gilo [...]
Looks like somebody’s been getting their money’s worth out of their Manual again….
Speaking of getting their money’s worth in more ways than one, and a consequence of the above type of propagandizing, have a look at the following:
By STEVEN ERLANGER
November 21, 2006
JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 – An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians.
The government data indicate that 40 percent of the land that Israel plans to keep in any future deal with the Palestinians is private.
About 86 percent of Maale Adumim, an Israeli settlement, sits on privately held Palestinian property, according to government data. Israel has long asserted that it fully respects Palestinian private property in the West Bank and only takes land there legally or, for security reasons, temporarily.
If big sections of those settlements are indeed privately held Palestinian land, that is bound to create embarrassment for Israel and further complicate the already distant prospect of a negotiated peace. The data indicate that 40 percent of the land that Israel plans to keep in any future deal with the Palestinians is private.
The new claims regarding Palestinian property are said to come from the 2004 database of the Civil Administration, which controls the civilian aspects of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. [...]
Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for the Civil Administration, said he could not comment on the data without studying it.
He said there was a committee, called the blue line committee, that had been investigating these issues of land ownership for three years. “We haven’t finished checking everything,” he said.
Mr. Dror also said that sometimes Palestinians would sell land to Israelis but be unwilling to admit to the sale publicly because they feared retribution as collaborators.
Within prominent settlements that Israel has said it plans to keep in any final border agreement, the data show, for example, that some 86.4 percent of Maale Adumim, a large Jerusalem suburb, is private; and 35.1 percent of Ariel is.
This Shlomo Dror must have read the Hasbara manual. Speaking of which, let’s look at a bit more from a.saccus on this great tool that is being provided to Israeli youths so that they can learn to lie and scheme for Israel.
World Union of Jewish Students Hasbara Handbook calls what they’re doing “Israel Advocacy”, but “advocacy” in this context is a blatant misnomer: what they are doing is outright sophistry and rhetorical manipulation; to be used upon those (mainly young people) who believe they’re engaging in a genuine dialogue or debate, but are really being set up and led down the garden path.
When dealing with Zionist Jews, you are dealing with individuals who not seeking the truth of the matter and who will discuss the question fairly with you, but rather with propagandists:
–who have an agenda to push: they call it “Neutralizing Negativity” or “Pushing Positivity” (see the Hasbara Handbook page 15); in other words, their goal is manipulation, not truth.
–who are “setting the agenda”:
Hasbara Handbook page 16:
The person who sets the agenda will usually win the debate.[...] activists get to determine what to talk about,[...] Being proactive keeps the right issues in the public eye, and in the way Israel activists want them to be seen. It is much easier to get Palestinian activists defending Arafat against charges of being a corrupt terrorist than it is to explain to disinterested students that Ariel Sharon didn’t kill anybody at Sabra and Chatilla (which of course he didn’t).
That final parenthetical remark always gets me. Even the PTB can’t be sure that such a blatant lie will be believed without constant and mind-numbing reiteration and reinforcing. And just who are those “disinterested students” who suddenly appear? Might they not be people who are actually seeking the truth of the matter? Dangerous hombres those truth seekers…
And notice the concern — expressed over and over again through the Handbook — with appearances, with maintaining a façade. You don’t need to do that if you’re telling the truth, now do you?
When dealing with Zionist propagandists you are dealing with individuals who are concerned with scoring points, and learn the best times and the best situations to do this; they are NOT concerned with the truth (page 18); “terrorism” is a big “point” for them (page 94)
When dealing with Zionist propagandists you are dealing with individuals who believe that pictures are more potent than words (page 28); (hence all the YouTubing and VideoGoogling).
When dealing with Zionist propagandists you are dealing with individuals who know the value and the uses of FEAR:
Hasbara Handbook page 35:
When a speaker warns that the consequences of ignoring his message is likely to be war, conflict, personal suffering, and so forth, they are manipulating fear to advance their message. Listeners have deep-seated fears of violence and disorder, which can be tapped into by creating false dichotomies — “either listen to me, or these terrible things will happen.” Listeners are too preoccupied by the threat of terrible things to think critically about the speaker’s message.
That’s as cold and reptilian as they come. And that’s the reason for the emphasis on terrorist violence.
When dealing with Zionist propagandists you are dealing with individuals who have a strategy worked out ahead of time for when to stay and when to walk away from a debate (page 41). When your only concern is winning, why engage in a debate which, although it might lead to the truth, won’t enable you to win? ….I’m sorry, Coach Lombardi, but winning isn’t everything.
Do not underestimate the thoroughness and depth of the indoctrination in the Zionists you may encounter: it is nothing less than a complete divorce from reality. Don’t take this personally, but fanaticism in the young is always much more potent. Older folks have had more time to mull over the evil consequences of the pathocrat lifestyle, and are less inclined to be so rabid. Or have a chat with a young man who was a volunteer soldier and is now a quadruplegic. Things like losing a few limbs can also mellow one’s judgment — but oh, the cost!
Consider the Hasbara Handbook’s suggested response to a not unreasonable justification of Palestinian terrorism:
Hasbara Handbook page 94:
Accusation: The Palestinian use of terror is understandable and legitimate as it is their only weapon against the oppression of Israeli Occupation.
Rebuttal: There can never be any justification for the deliberate murder and threatening of innocent civilians to exact political concessions. The only effective way to combat terrorism on an international scale is to view all terrorists equally and not to differentiate between good and bad terrorists. The biggest success terrorists have had in the twentieth century has been getting people to accept the idea that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
1. “There can never be any justification…. – But isn’t that exactly what the Zionists have always been doing, for over a century –justifying? We have a major reality disconnect here.
2. “[...]view all terrorists equally[...] – I have no objections to doing this, but this is just an empty promise on the lips of a Zionist Jew. When it comes to applying it, Hasbara would no doubt find a clever reason to make an exception; otherwise los zionistas would be lumped in with all the other terrorists.
3. The fact that the last sentence of the above Hasbara citation must be completely reversed to express the truth gives us an idea of just how deep the illusion is:
The biggest success the Zionists have had in the twentieth century has been getting the American people to accept the idea that “the Palestinian freedom fighters are terrorists.”
All in all, the Hasbara manual is quite an interesting find! (Thank you, a.saccus!) It is clearly not about finding and establishing Truth, but is about manipulation. It’s rather like “Protocols Lite”, only it’s not so light.
Of course it is clear that just being Jewish doesn’t make one a Zionist or a propagandist or a manipulator. For example:
Indeed there is Apartheid in Israel
By Shulamit Aloni
01/05/06 “Ynet ” — – Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what’s right in front of our eyes. It’s simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population.
The US Jewish Establishment’s onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp. All this is done in order to keep an eye on the population’s movements and to make its life difficult. Israel even imposes a total curfew whenever the settlers, who have illegally usurped the Palestinians’ land, celebrate their holidays or conduct their parades.
If that were not enough, the generals commanding the region frequently issue further orders, regulations, instructions and rules (let us not forget: they are the lords of the land). By now they have requisitioned further lands for the purpose of constructing “Jewish only” roads. Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night – all that on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his vehicle is confiscated and he is sent on his way.
On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. “Why?” I asked the soldier. “It’s an order – this is a Jews-only road”, he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. “It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so that he can show the world that Apartheid exists here?”
Indeed Apartheid does exist here. And our army is not “the most moral army in the world” as we are told by its commanders. Sufficient to mention that every town and every village has turned into a detention centre and that every entry and every exit has been closed, cutting it off from arterial traffic. If it were not enough that Palestinians are not allowed to travel on the roads paved ‘for Jews only’, on their land, the current GOC found it necessary to land an additional blow on the natives in their own land with an “ingenious proposal”. …
Did man of peace President Carter truly err in concluding that Israel is creating Apartheid? Did he exaggerate? Don’t the US Jewish community leaders recognise the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination of 7 March 1966, to which Israel is a signatory? Are the US Jews who launched the loud and abusive campaign against Carter for supposedly maligning Israel’s character and its democratic and humanist nature unfamiliar with the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 30 November 1973? Apartheid is defined therein as an international crime that among other things includes using different legal instruments to rule over different racial groups, thus depriving people of their human rights.
In the past, the US Jewish community leaders were quite familiar with the meaning of those conventions. For some reason, however, they are convinced that Israel is allowed to contravene them. It’s OK to kill civilians, women and children, old people and parents with their children, deliberately or otherwise without accepting any responsibility. It’s permissible to rob people of their lands, destroy their crops, and cage them up like animals in the zoo. From now on, Israelis and International humanitarian organisations’ volunteers are prohibited from assisting a woman in labour by taking her to the hospital. [Israeli human rights group] Yesh Din volunteers cannot take a robbed and beaten-up Palestinian to the police station to lodge a complaint. (Police stations are located at the heart of the settlements.) Is there anyone who believes that this is not Apartheid?
Jimmy Carter does not need me to defend his reputation that has been sullied by Israelophile community officials. The trouble is that their love of Israel distorts their judgment and blinds them from seeing what’s in front of them. Israel is an occupying power that for 40 years has been oppressing an indigenous people, which is entitled to a sovereign and independent existence while living in peace with us. We should remember that we too used very violent terror against foreign rule because we wanted our own state. And the list of victims of terror is quite long and extensive.
We do limit ourselves to denying the [Palestinian] people human rights. We not only rob of them of their freedom, land and water. We apply collective punishment to millions of people and even, in revenge-driven frenzy, destroy the electricity supply for one and half million civilians. Let them “sit in the darkness” and “starve”. …
There are no moral blemishes on our actions. There is no racial separation. There is no Apartheid. It’s an invention of the enemies of Israel. Hooray for our brothers and sisters in the US! Your devotion is very much appreciated. You have truly removed a nasty stain from us. Now there can be an extra spring in our step as we confidently abuse the Palestinian population, using the “most moral army in the world”.
Shulamit Aloni’s is not the only Israeli voice lifted against Israel’s Zionazism.
Here’s a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 90 years ago, between the 19th and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.
Within a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.
We cannot know with certainty the number of deaths Cheka was responsible for in its various manifestations, but the number is surely at least 20 million, including victims of the forced collectivization, the hunger, large purges, expulsions, banishments, executions, and mass death at Gulags.
Whole population strata were eliminated: Independent farmers, ethnic minorities, members of the bourgeoisie, senior officers, intellectuals, artists, labor movement activists, “opposition members” who were defined completely randomly, and countless members of the Communist party itself.
In his new, highly praised book “The War of the World, “Historian Niall Ferguson writes that no revolution in the history of mankind devoured its children with the same unrestrained appetite as did the Soviet revolution. In his book on the Stalinist purges, Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Igal Halfin writes that Stalinist violence was unique in that it was directed internally.
Lenin, Stalin, and their successors could not have carried out their deeds without wide-scale cooperation of disciplined “terror officials,” cruel interrogators, snitches, executioners, guards, judges, perverts, and many bleeding hearts who were members of the progressive Western Left and were deceived by the Soviet regime of horror and even provided it with a kosher certificate.
All these things are well-known to some extent or another, even though the former Soviet Union’s archives have not yet been fully opened to the public. But who knows about this? Within Russia itself, very few people have been brought to justice for their crimes in the NKVD’s and KGB’s service. The Russian public discourse today completely ignores the question of “How could it have happened to us?” As opposed to Eastern European nations, the Russians did not settle the score with their Stalinist past.
And us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the “bloodthirsty dwarf.”
Yezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his Book “Stalin: Court of the Red Star”, Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.
Stalin’s close associates and loyalists included member of the Central Committee and Politburo Lazar Kaganovich. Montefiore characterizes him as the “first Stalinist” and adds that those starving to death in Ukraine, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of human kind aside from the Nazi horrors and Mao’s terror in China, did not move Kaganovich.
Many Jews sold their soul to the devil of the Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We’ll mention just one more: Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD’s special department and the organization’s chief interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist.
In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. They too, of course, were gradually eliminated in the next purges. In a fascinating lecture at a Tel Aviv University convention this week, Dr. Halfin described the waves of soviet terror as a “carnival of mass murder,” “fantasy of purges”, and “essianism of evil.” Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern history.
The Jews active in official communist terror apparatuses (In the Soviet Union and abroad) and who at times led them, did not do this, obviously, as Jews, but rather, as Stalinists, communists, and “Soviet people.” Therefore, we find it easy to ignore their origin and “play dumb”: What do we have to do with them? But let’s not forget them. My own view is different. I find it unacceptable that a person will be considered a member of the Jewish people when he does great things, but not considered part of our people when he does amazingly despicable things.
Even if we deny it, we cannot escape the Jewishness of “our hangmen,” who served the Red Terror with loyalty and dedication from its establishment. After all, others will always remind us of their origin.
The article is not sensationalist and is truth in that it “maps to reality.” What is fascinating are the comments from readers:
1. YNET WENT TOO FAR !!!! WE WILL REMEMBER (End)
2. THE FIRSTS VICTIMS OF STALIN WERE THE JEWS ! SHAME ON U ! (End)
3. plocker is a sick man who HAVE TO LEARN HISTORY (End)
4. WE WILL NOT ADVERTIZE ANYMORE WITH YNET ! (End)
As H.Koehli, who found this gem, pointed out:
I love the first comment. Telling the truth is equated with “going too far”. “We will remember this flagrant use of truth!”
Now, let me turn to an item that came from Peter Myers’ (Australia) newsletter this morning. The article came with a comment from Jeffrey Blankfort which I include:
This is from Samuel Rosner’s Ha’aretz Blog . There seems to be nothing today more true than what some columnist wrote a decade ago:
“Anti-semites used to be people that didn’t like Jews. Now it’s people that Jews don’t like.”
Wesley Clark is the latest when suggesting that the lobby is pushing the US to attack Iran as if there was any doubt about that.-JB
Here is the article that actually raised the hair on my head this morning:
by Shmuel Rosner Chief U.S. Correspondent
1. A couple of months ago I was contacted by someone working on behalf of Wesley Clark. He had just read something I wrote about the general and he wasn’t happy.
This is what I wrote:
“Last Monday, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, General Wesley Clark (Ret.) ascended the dais to give a speech at a small convention on the “real” State of the Union 2006. On the face of it, it was a frank, gloves-off speech without the glitz and spin of the official State of the Union Speech made annually by the president to Congress, which took place on Tuesday. Only on the face of it, however, since it was obvious that Clark, the keynote speaker, still dreams of being president one day. His rather ingenuous 2004 bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination did not take away his taste for the race, and his speech showed it.”
The man, as I said, wasn’t happy. Why are you against him? he asked. I promised that I wasn’t, which was true. Back then.
2. In our Israel Factor, the monthly ranking of potential Presidential nominees, Clark got somewhat mediocre marks, but was not among those who were evidently out of favor. Take a look at the marks he got in the first four surveys and you’ll see him somewhere in the middle. Is the candidate likely to change his position after the election, we asked, and the panel said, again, that he wasn’t among those most likely to do so.
3. The panel was right. Why change after the election when you can do it before the race has begun? Yesterday, an interview with Clark was published that makes him look pretty bad. Tired of using the word anti-Semitic, I’ll just say that he seemed, well, angry.
4. For those of you who didn’t read the Clark interview in the Huffington Post, here it is:
Clark is talking about the possibility of military action against Iran:
“How can you talk about bombing a country when you won’t even talk to them?” said Clark. “It’s outrageous. We’re the United States of America; we don’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the military option is off the table – but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It’s not, ‘what will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq?’ It’s sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships.”
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: ”You just have to read what’s in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.”
This is obviously the remark that set off Shmuel Rosner. The fact is, what Clark said is quite simply the truth as evidenced by the facts on the ground; real-life observations. So, what is Shmuel’s problem here?
4. Gee, what can he possibly mean by “pressure being channeled from the New York money people”?
Now, notice that Shmuel has the nerve to ask this question right after drawing attention to his own project, the “Israel Factor” where potential candidates for the American presidency are rated by a Zionist/Jewish panel! Doesn’t he find anything ironic or even contradictory in his position?
But the fact is, Shmuel is not denying the influence from “The New York money people,” nor is he even denying the fact that the Israeli press is a good thermometer of the political temperature in the U.S. What get’s his goat is the fact that anyone dares to say this in public and does that mean Israel is losing its grip on the U.S.
5. Two aspects of these ramblings I find worthy of comment. First: how and why has it become so easy to speak in this way about the Jews? Second: What does it mean politically?
6. It is, actually, rather troubling, even scary. People in elite circles somehow came to the conclusion that denouncing the Jewish community and its support for Israel is now becoming acceptable. Walt and Mersheimer came first, then former president Carter, now Clark – and we already have a new trend on our hands. A Jewish leader with whom I spoke yesterday asked me this most disquieting question: Is the ice thinner than one might have thought?
And there you have it: is the ice getting thin? Are the American people waking up to the fact that support for Israel is NOT in America’s best interest? People are actually daring to speak out against a gang of criminals that have used the power and resources of everyone else to get what they want and the criminals are now asking: are we skating too close to the edge? Have we miscalculated how stupid people are?
7. Politically, it is voices coming from the Democratic party, again, a nuance that the Republican Jewish Coalition could hardly miss. Yesterday, it released a statement “strongly condemned ‘blatantly anti-semitic’ remarks made by Retired General Wesley Clark in an interview with Arianna Huffington and urged the Democrat presidential aspirant to apologize… This is yet another sign that the veiled and not-so-veiled anti-Semitic sentiments that are rampant in the left-wing blogosphere are seeping into the ‘mainstream’ of Democrats’ political discourse.”
You bet your bippy that the voices of the blogosphere that cannot be controlled by Israel or the Zionist controlled American media are being heard! But more than that, Shmuel, people are just sick and tired of all the grief that association with Israel has caused and is causing.
Now, we all know this is partisan politics. But what can we say? Facts are facts.
Partisan politics? How about simple self-defense against a marauding predator? As for “facts are facts,” you can say that again, Shmuel!
“It’s a sign that pro-Israel sentiment is not as strong in Democratic politics as it used to be,” writes Michael Barone in his blog. Democratic leaders have already distanced themselves from Carter’s book and statements on Israel. What will they do now, distance themselves again? Will Hillary Clinton, the New York nominee, distance herself from a man who was her husband’s protégé?
What you forgot to mention here, Shmuel, is the reason that anybody distances themselves from those critical of Israel: “there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.” But that’s what Wesley Clark said, isn’t it?
8. In early 2004, I met Clark in New Hampshire as he made his rounds to win the hearts and minds of potential voters. We chatted for ten minutes in a coffee shop – it was unplanned, I was sitting there and he just entered. When he heard I was from Israel he immediately jumped with the story, familiar to all by then, of his Jewish roots. I’m willing to bet he is going to use this again as he attempts clarifies the remarks he made.
I hope not. It’s scandalous that anybody has to claim Jewish roots in order to have their position validated in the Western world.
Now, I hope I don’t have to point out to the reader the absolutely astonishingly manipulative concept of a panel of influential media people in one country spending their time assessing the presidential candidates of another country in terms of how pro-Israel they are for the obvious express purpose of deciding which one of the candidates to promote in that other country among the citizens of their religious and/or ethnic or national persuasion.
It’s pretty obvious that Shmuel Rosner has been carefully studying his Hasbara Manual; for all we know, he wrote it.
And this leads us to a final observation in the Israeli press that shows us that it isn’t only Americans who are waking up:
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. -George Bernard Shaw
What if it’s true? What if Israelis deserve no better than Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz, Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Katsav, Dan Halutz?
If we are stuck with them, and they have nothing to offer us in the way of governance or personal example, perhaps they can offer us something else. At the very least, maybe they have something to teach us. About ourselves. What’s wrong with us.
Take the question of leadership. We know what we want in a leader, the kind of person we’d be fools not to follow. We want someone wiser than we are on issues of life and death, someone better able to see around corners and beyond horizons. We want someone of sounder judgment, superior imagination, someone whose ability exceeds his ambition, someone who cares about the country more than he cares about his chair. Someone who cares about us.
Now look who we’ve got.
At this point, the top echelon of government, and much of the top leadership of the military, is a collection of one-man fan clubs. Leaders whose followers long ago knew better than to continue to follow them.
Here’s where it gets even more depressing.
What if the reason that we tend to get the leaders we most deserve is that we tend to vote for the leaders we most resemble?
The cabinet, the Knesset, the president, the chief rabbinate – they are their constituents in caricature. Us, in a fun house mirror.
If this is the case, it should be a fairly simple matter to divine what’s wrong with Israelis. The male ones, at any rate.
First, we apply the Universal Law of Israeli Male Dynamics, which states, referring to behavior in the Gan, or Israeli pre-school:
They never left the Gan.
They can do whatever they want. They can say whatever comes to mind. There are no painful consequences, no significant punishments. They can decide that the sandbox is theirs, and woe to the kid who was there first.
They believe, and they may be right, that they will not be thrown out of the Gan, no matter what they do.
Witness what is sometimes called the Rabin Principle, that we can battle terrorism as if there were no peace process, and pursue the peace process as if there were no fight against terror.
It doesn’t work. In fact, any kid in Gan could probably figure out that it cannot work. But we are so clever, we tell ourselves, that we can make it work.
We won’t let the fact that it never works deter us.
Witness Thursday night. As Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is launching one of the most potentially useful and significant summits, on his way to meeting key mediator Hosni Mubarak, the Israel Defense Forces was raiding Ramallah in an operation – carried live on Al Jazeera – that cost four Palestinian deaths. As well as any chance that the summit could help free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
“Things developed in a way that could not have been predicted in advance,” Olmert said, in an expression of magic thinking fully worthy of a response to an angry pre-school teacher. “If innocent people were hurt, this was not our intention.”
Even in the absence of dramatic events, variations of the Gan axiom abound. A random selection, from the pre-school that meets every Sunday in the Cabinet Room:
THE SNEAK [Namecard: Ehud O.]
Teacher Evaluation: Good habits of personal hygiene. Plays well with others, until teacher’s back is turned. His demeanor is correct, with an undertone of sleaze. Despite what teacher would hope, the sleaze on the exterior belies greater sleaze on the inside.
He will stealthily take whatever he can. He will put it where it cannot be easily found. When it is found, he will have an explanation at the ready. There is more where that came from, but no one can figure out where it is.
THE BULLY [Namecard: Avigdor L.]
Teacher Evaluation: Just as Ehud O. fools people into wondering whether he could possibly be as sleazy as he appears, Avigdor L. is often so verbally abusive that one might mistake it for nothing but idle, if intimidating, bluster. But underestimate him at your peril. He might just be the kind of bully that if you call his bluff, goes ahead and does just what he threatened – and woe the block that he decides to knock off.
THE LOUDMOUTH [Namecard: Amir P.]
Teacher Evaluation: Alternately enchanting and obnoxious, Amir P. talks a good game – often at the top of his lungs. But his undeniable people skills, along with his propensity for high-volume self-promotion, can land him in situations for which he is unprepared and unsuited.
And so it goes. Around the cabinet table sit all the traits to which we have fallen chronic victim:
The Minister of Arrogance and Insecurity.
The Minister of Ambition that Exceeds Ability.
The Deputy Minister for Reckless Glibness.
The Special Advisor for Inattention to Details.
The Minister of Disdain for Accountability.
The Minister of Profligate Tolerance for Corruption.
Finally, no overview of what’s wrong with Israelis would be complete without a word on being provincial to the point of pathology.
It is one of the wonders of selective innocence. Left wing, right wing, professor or dropout, provincialism knows no barriers. It is everywhere in this tiny ghetto of a Jewish state.
Once, relatively few Israelis traveled abroad, foreign influences like television were limited, and down-on-the-farm narrowness was eminently understandable. No more. There’s something about the provincialism of Israelis that has become a cultural staple, second nature. Effortless.
There’s something oddly charming about it, when it’s not causing someone pain.
You see it in its sub-cultural forms, in the hermetic self-satisfaction and immunity to criticism as exemplified in such groups as settlers, the ultra-Orthodox, the ultra-left.
You see it on a national level, in the conviction that a world that condemns Israel at every opportunity, and at times unjustly, actually frees it to act any way it damn pleases.
You might say there’s something even childlike about it. A certain lack of perspective, that may, in fact, explain everything else.
As one of our forum commentators wrote:
Now, one can put many labels on the Israeli people/politicians, but ‘provincialism’ or ‘childlike’? This seems to explain the whole situation in terms of innocence and amateurism.
What the author of the above piece has described accurately is a true pathology: psychopathy.
Another forum member commented:
The term “magical thinking” made me wonder if the author has been reading background material on Narcissism, and is trying to fit the observed psychopathy into the framework of NPD. An understandable, if erroneous, conclusion (especially if the author is not aware of the material on psychopathology), as there are many similarities in behaviour between psychopathy and NPD.
It could also be that the author thinks the public will “buy” the idea of NPD in politicians more easily than psychopathy. The word “psychopath” has been so conditioned to fit the “serial killer” profile by the media, that it’s possible that the author figured the idea of subclinical psychopathy was too “out there” for most people (it is also a much scarier concept). Dunno.
To which another forum member replied, with great wisdom:
It may be a lack of knowledge and may be a result of something basic that is present in lot of people, not only Israelis; a deep disbelief in a possibility of conscious evil. It’s easier to believe in leaders’ immaturity and provinciality, than understanding that they cause pain and death on purpose. It’s just inconceivable and illogical in their minds, so it’s treated like a crazy conspiracy theory. This is the major comprehension block, and politicians’ acts are excused as a childish hunger for attention.
With the final word by another forum member:
Indeed, it is a difficult and shocking thing to discover that some people are fundamentally ‘different’ than oneself, when one has been taught by society/school/religion through one’s whole life that this is not the case.
This is a deep blockage that I see when I talk to people here in the UK, and it is well reinforced by religious teaching (predominantly Christian, around here). Strangely enough, this kind of teaching is also used in reverse, to suggest that we are all at fault for mankind’s atrocities, have natural warlike tendencies, and are basically incapable of ‘behaving ourselves’ without divine intervention, for example: the Christian concept of ‘original sin’.
All of which has the effect of disempowering mankind from doing anything about it, or from realising that warlike behaviour is not normal for the majority but instead is a result of coercion and manipulation by the few. This is why the information about essential psychopathy (and ponerology) is so very important to understand, and to make public, and is why such efforts are made to suppress it.
It is very interesting that terms such as ‘pathology’, and ‘psychopath’ are starting to pop up occasionally, when these things are being described in public.
Indeed, if the majority of people do not wake up to the reality of psychopathy and the role it plays in macro-social evil, there is no hope for humanity.
Originally Published 2007_01_11