Make ‘hasbara’ a household word

Israel/Palestine
on 63 Comments
The Bring Back Our Boys campaign featured in Mackey's piece that mentions hasbara

The Bring Back Our Boys campaign featured in Mackey’s piece that mentions hasbara

In the print edition of the New York Times today, Robert Mackey writes about a global twitter campaign undertaken by Israelis to highlight the case of the three teens who disappeared in the West Bank last week and are thought to have been abducted:

a group of Israelis trained to promote their country online started a#BringBackOurBoys campaign last week after three teenagers disappeared on their way home from religious schools in the occupied West Bank…

#BringBackOurBoys was started by graduates of the University of Haifa’s Ambassadors Online program, which was set up to train students to use the web for “hasbara,” a Hebrew term for public diplomacy. Part of their instruction, The Jerusalem Post reported in 2012, was learning how best “to use social networking sites to defend government policies” and “utilize online platforms to convey a pro-Israel message.”

Robert Mackey is an excellent reporter, but his definition of hasbara is incomplete. “Public diplomacy” makes it sound like Israelis are just encouraged to defend their country overseas– engage, speak out, advocate. Like Avi Mayer, who likes to say: “Just some guy living in Israel, trying to help advance the Jewish people and repair the world. No big whoop.”

But there’s a lot more to hasbara than that, and the practice deserves to be scrutinized. Hasbara, which comes from Hebrew for “explaining,” has come to mean chiefly propaganda: concerted and tireless efforts to pressure newspapers and governments whenever they say a word in favor of Palestinians or Arabs, efforts to swarm websites that make the same mistake. The activity is concerted, organized, and subsidized; and the organized component is partly concealed. Anyone who’s seen the regular shift changes in commenters at this site knows what I’m talking about.

New York Times readers are apparently not aware of this term, and they should be. Thanks to Mackey, we want Americans to start using the word hasbara with all its cynical implications. After all, other foreign words have entered our language because we need them– schadenfreude, apartheid, chutzpah, glasnost, to name a few. We need hasbara too. It describes a concerted form of propaganda that no one word in English captures.

Everytime Americans read a pro-Israel comment, we want them to think this might not just be some innocent soul moved to comment– though yes it may be that– but it could well be part of a propaganda campaign on behalf of the Israeli government.

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63 Responses

  1. Daniel Rich
    June 19, 2014, 6:32 pm

    Q: “hasbara,” a Hebrew term for public diplomacy.

    R: Hasbara is as diplomatic as my Chihuahua is a guard dog. Lots of noise and that’s about it.

  2. just
    June 19, 2014, 6:40 pm

    Congratulations to Mr. Mackey for writing the word– a giant leap! Explanations and definitions will be readily available to those whose interest is piqued.

    An avalanche is to come….the propaganda will be exposed.

    From wiki:
    “Edward Said wrote that hasbara methods used during the Second Intifada included lunches and free trips for influential journalists; seminars for Jewish university students; invitations to congressmen; pamphlets and donation of money for election campaigns; telling photographers and writers what to photograph or write about; lecture and concert tours by prominent Israelis; frequent references to the Holocaust; advertisements in the newspapers attacking Arabs and praising Israel.[37]”

    BUSTED in the NYT!

    (PS– that is a VERY freaky picture. Who plays drums?)

  3. talknic
    June 19, 2014, 7:14 pm

    Ironic that “Hasbara” is entirely the wrong term for something that tries to ‘justify’ rather than ‘explain’. Perhaps in itself epitomizing the nature of zionism.

  4. Kay24
    June 19, 2014, 7:54 pm

    Hasbara has been trained extensively, and their vicious minions recruited from many nations, especially from colleges, in Europe, Canada, and even in South Africa.
    I have personally experienced just how mean, and how easily they deflect, lie, and attack, anyone who criticizes Israel. When I was a member of Huffingtonpost, we had many of these creatures bombard articles regarding the Middle East and Israeli affairs, and many of them, when unable to face facts, use to turn vicious and make personal insults, hoping to intimidate commenters who brought out facts about Israel’s evil occupation.

    I have posted this before, but worth reminding everyone just how organized Israel’s internet “thugs” are. This video conference in 2002 shows their instructor, Neil Lazarus instruct their trainees, to ATTACK commenters, because explaining is not working, he also tells them “because we cannot always convince them, CONFUSE them.”

    It shows how they operate, and what their agenda is. Those who do not know hasbara, do not know that these are trained, paid, and organized group of minions, supported by the Israeli foreign ministry.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnFX8PZAPOs&noredirect=1

    Here is an interesting article: Guide to hasbara trolls:

    http://whitewraithe.wordpress.com/a-guide-to-hasbara-trolls/

    For any government to pour in millions to train, brainwash, and attack, those who criticize it, must have committed a lot of crime, to make such a concerted effort, and spew it’s lies and propaganda to “confuse” the world, and attack those who write the facts. They are afraid the world (especially the Americans) will know the truth.
    The guilty are afraid.

  5. Walid
    June 19, 2014, 8:29 pm

    “After all, other foreign words have entered our language because we need them– schadenfreude, apartheid, chutzpah, glasnost, to name a few. ”

    … humus, falafel, tabouleh…

    • Taxi
      June 19, 2014, 10:42 pm

      Jihad, let’s not forget the prized word ‘Jihad’: now the ultimate word-weapon in the English language.

      • just
        June 19, 2014, 11:33 pm

        Yeah, Taxi.

        It’s been completely mistranslated and misused.

        Today, after Obama’s speech, there was a discussion about ISIS on NPR. They tried to clarify what ISIL– what Obama referred to was– and it was astonishing that nice Robin Young was confused, and Deborah Amos from the region said, wait ISIL/ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and al- Sham and or Levant. The moderator had said it signified the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria…..

        That’s a Friedman Unit.

      • Taxi
        June 20, 2014, 12:50 am

        Jihad
        dʒɪˈhɑːd/noun:
        1- (among Muslims) A war or struggle against invaders and unbelievers.
        2- The spiritual struggle within oneself against sin.

        The above is the definition of the word in Arabic, as found in all Arabic dictionaries. Below, the non-Arabic definitions provided to the west by a tel aviv translation agency:
        Jihad
        djeehaad/noun:
        1- Islamic terrorism
        2- Arab terrorism
        3- ANY resistance to israeli crimes
        4- Another word for brown-skinned antisemitism
        5- Secular pan-Arab rhetoric
        6- Observant Arab christians from the Levant
        7- Global BDS supporters

        Yes, ‘Jihad’ is now undoubtedly the most weaponized word in the English language.

      • Walid
        June 20, 2014, 3:22 am

        To add to what Taxi said, it’s also a very nice-sounding given name for males. Regrettably, Western dictionaries and Arab fundamentalist fanatics have vandalized its true meaning. In the Quran where it’s mentioned 41 times in either noun or verb form, it’s to signify one’s utmost struggle to please God, to make his word the highest and to build a better society. A secondary aspect of jihad is the physical aspect of war. One who struggles for God’s way is a mujahid, in the plural, its mujahideen.

        The word “jihad” was not intended to mean a holy war but after the Prophet’s death it was erroneously used for such a purpose and more recently by insurgents in Afghanistan in the days of the Soviets and elsewhere by terrorists. The word is actually used more in the West than in the East. After Beirut’s Dahieh was pulverized by Israel in 2006, the thousands of volunteers that took it upon themselves to rebuild without pay, homes for 40,000 people called themselves “Jihad al-Bina’a” or “struggle for the reconstruction”. Nothing warlike in that group.

        The Prophet is reported to have said, “the best form of jihad is to speak the truth in the face of a tyrant ruler.”

      • Ron Edwards
        June 20, 2014, 9:57 pm

        “Secular pan-Arab rhetoric??” Nasserism is supposed to be or have been jihad? That is a bath of burning stupid. ‘Scuse me, I need to bash my head against the wall a few dozen times now.

      • Taxi
        June 20, 2014, 10:37 pm

        Ron,

        To hasbaradists, EVERYTHING Arabic is a “jihad” against them, except what they stole from the Arab kitchen, like humus.

    • amigo
      June 20, 2014, 5:39 am

      Rapprochement —is there a Hebrew word for that.

      Probably dropped for lack of use.

  6. riyadh
    June 19, 2014, 9:17 pm

    I hope it becomes more common than “Pallywood”

  7. ToivoS
    June 19, 2014, 9:27 pm

    It seems quite clear by now that the term ‘hasbara’ is weighted down with many negative connotations. Though it seems the original Hebrew term was defined in quite neutral terms. The problem began with how the term hasbara was used “to explain” Israeli’s oppression of the Palestinians. Today, thanks in part to Edward Said, that word has been redefined as Israeli state propaganda.

    Propaganda is another term completely loaded down with negative connotations. However its definition over a century ago was fairly benign: “the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.”

    American and British opponents of German and the Soviets demonized “propaganda” as their efforts to explain their positions. The Russian communist used a word that could be translated as “propaganda” to explain to the world their communist ideology.

    In any case, score one for the Palestinians in their war against Israel. They succeeded here in demonizing a common Hebrew word. If this keeps up the whole world will be ridiculing the Hebrew accent much as what happened to German during WWII.

  8. Sumud
    June 19, 2014, 10:42 pm

    For those who haven’t read it yet the classic piece from Jews Sans Frontiers about the basic hasbara strategy:

    How to make the case for Israel and win

    • Walid
      June 20, 2014, 12:39 am

      Hasbarists work from lists that contain questionable issues similarly to Sunday morning proselytizers that come knocking at the door with a canned speech. I once got a hold of a small pamphlet of common questions that are asked by people of various religions answering the door and how to answer each one using specific verse from the SJV. It has separate sections for Catholics, Muslims, Jews, atheists and so on. The hasbarists appear to work from a similar questions and answers pamphlet on the Palestinian conflict.

  9. quercus
    June 20, 2014, 7:54 am

    ISIS, ISIL. Who made up those names? Our State Department? Isn’t it just a bit too convenient that they both are acronyms, and this silly country is so terrible enamored of acronyms.

    • Walid
      June 20, 2014, 11:32 am

      It’s in the translation. The fundies want to set up their sharia caliphate based as they believe it was 1400 years ago. But the ISIS/ISIL people aren’t alone to want sharia, as most Islamic countries go by sharia too and some such as Egypt have enshrined it in their constitution. What is different between the countries is the degree of severity exercised in its application.

      The caliphate they aspire to create would stretch from the Iraq to the Med and would be called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or expanded with the addition of Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine to form part of the caliphate, hence the name ISIL with the L for the Levant. So it depends on who is translating and which geographic areas are to be included. The fundamentalist movement did not just start and it wasn’t made in the USA either, it dates back to right after WW II but it has remained in the shadows all these years.

  10. hophmi
    June 20, 2014, 7:55 am

    Uh-huh. Regular shifts. They’re all out to get you.

    Every time I read drivel like this, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I hate you tell you, but most people I know who are active online from a pro-Israel perspective are not being paid by anyone. They just care about the issue they’re writing about, like the vast majority of the people on this earth.

    But you guys are antisemites. When it comes to the Jews, you always see some vast, organized conspiracy.

    • DaBakr
      June 20, 2014, 8:34 am

      add Mackey to that group.

      and I am all for making ‘hasbara’ a universal term. the Palestinians are expert at it, as are the Iranians. Turkish, North Korean, Egyptian, English, French, US, Mexican…all are expert ‘Hasbarists’ which actually has it roots in “version” more then it does “explain”.

      Go watch the masterpiece Rashomon for a take on the so-called ‘truth’ which is how I see things more then the black and white that predominates here

      • Walid
        June 20, 2014, 9:32 am

        Not the Palestinians, DaBakr. Had they been experts, Israel would not have gotten away with so much theft and oppression. They’re actually quite retarded when it comes to PR in general, let alone hasbara or the telling of outright lies like Israel does. They should have spent a little less money on their firecracker rockets and used the money to hire a good Jewish PR firm 20 years ago.

      • Walid
        June 20, 2014, 9:48 am

        Ooops, time flies so fast I keep thinking that certain things happened only 3 or 4 years ago.

        I just saw that the Jews SF piece is from 6 years ago and has since been condensed and that the college handbook is from 2002;

        (for those that hadn’t seen it)
        The Hasbara Handbook:
        Promoting Israel on Campus

        http://www.middle-east-info.org/take/wujshasbara.pdf

      • DaBakr
        June 21, 2014, 1:36 pm

        they are making up for lost time now

      • just
        June 20, 2014, 9:42 am

        From a 2011 article

        “Hasbara represents only one side of propaganda, as it is mostly aimed at foreign audience. The use of the Hebrew term Hasbara in a critical context, rather than “propaganda” or “public diplomacy” (the title of the Wikipedia entry on the issue), is necessary, because Hasbara efforts are wider and their goals much more ambitious than any similar activities taken by all democracies and most non-democracies. Hasbara targets political elites, opinion makers and the public simultaneously; it includes traditional advocacy efforts as well as more general appeals made through mass media, and it is carried out by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, lobbying groups, private citizens, students, journalists and bloggers.

        The Israeli government encourages all citizens to actively engage in Hasbara. Recently, it even distributed brochures with talking points to all Israelis traveling abroad (a Hebrew web version of the campaign can be viewed here). Israelis are asked to engage in politically-oriented conversations with their hosts and contacts abroad. Rather than discuss the Palestinian conflict, they are advised to cite Israeli technological achievements, mention environmental policies and take pride in notable cultural works. The West Bank is to be discussed – under its ancient Hebrew name, Judea and Samaria – as a potential tourist marvel.

        Until a few years ago, the main government agency carrying out Hasbara work was the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Media and Hasbara department. Under Ehud Olmert’s government, and more so under Netanyahu’s, there was a considerable increase in Hasbara efforts. Prime Minister Netanyahu has launched for the first time a Hasbara Ministry, headed by a government minister (the current hasbara minister is Yuli Edelstein). The Hasbara Ministry includes a situation room, which operates in five languages; it has a new-media team that can reach, according to the office’s web page, 100,000 volunteers on social media networks, as well as many bloggers.”

        much more here:
        http://972mag.com/hasbara-why-does-the-world-fail-to-understand-us/27551/

      • DaBakr
        June 21, 2014, 1:41 pm

        you are no better then a Jewish person trying to lecture an Arab about their culture, what they think and do, etc. Thanks for you ‘972’ linked expert opinion on the whats, hows and whys that Israelis engage in telling their version of their own narrative. I think Israelis know very well what ‘hasbara’ is, means and uses for without some psuedo-intellectual explanation. an Arab view on this I can at least respect as much as I may disagree for they have been carrying out the same since before partition.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 21, 2014, 1:46 pm

        you are no better then a Jewish person trying to lecture an Arab about their culture…..I think Israelis know very well what ‘hasbara’ is

        maybe just isn’t addressing israelis. what we need to remember is new people are broaching this subject every day, more and more people. so information that has been available online for a decade needs to be refreshed and updated. and what better way to do it than to link to an excellent israeli site, which explains The use of this term has been widespread in Israeli Hebrew for many years now. so of course israelis are familiar with it. whereas internationals might not be.

        they have been carrying out the same since before partition.

        oh please, the vast majority of advocacy for palestine is grassroots. there’s simply no comparison. for one thing, israeli hasbara regularly relies on pure myth. (land w/out people, palestinians do not exist, palestine does not exist, etc etc etc ad nauseum). it is ludicrous to compare the ability of palestinians living under occupation, or their supporters, with the zionist campaign/hundreds of millions of dollars invested in a professional years long campaign.

        but all the money in the world can’t compare with the potential of powerful grassroots support. and that’s what israel is up against and ultimately, inevitably, they will fail.

    • Giles
      June 20, 2014, 8:55 am

      Why do you suppose the world is so filled with anti-Semites, hophmi?

      Or, I should say, why do you suppose so many Jews believe the world to be filled with anti-semites?

      • DaBakr
        June 20, 2014, 12:32 pm

        when did you stop beating up your mother? (and other loaded questions 101)

      • talknic
        June 20, 2014, 1:10 pm

        @ DaBakr “when did you stop beating up your mother? (and other loaded questions 101)”

        Doesn’t relate at all

      • just
        June 20, 2014, 1:18 pm

        When does he/she ever?

      • DaBakr
        June 21, 2014, 1:43 pm

        of course you wouldn’t see the connection. you have ‘truth’ on your side.

      • talknic
        June 21, 2014, 4:57 pm

        @ DaBakr “of course you wouldn’t see the connection. you have ‘truth’ on your side”

        No pal. “when did you stop beating up your mother?” is a loaded question aimed at incriminating the respondent.

        Whereas this “Why do you suppose the world is so filled with anti-Semites … why do you suppose so many Jews believe the world to be filled with anti-semites?” asks for an opinion!

        As for having ‘truth’ on my side, there is an official record of statements made by the State of Israel and the Jewish Agency to the UN/UNSC that incriminate the State of Israel. http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk

        They’re the statements on which hundreds of UN/UNSC resolutions are based. You cannot disprove those statements and your denial of them will only show you as an idiot or a propagandist!

    • Walid
      June 20, 2014, 9:20 am

      Not Jews, hophmi, just Zionists. I don’t consider you a shift worker.

      It is an organized conspiracy. There was the video showing Israelis being trained for shift work, I think someone posted it above and past Haaretz articles describing it as a paid job as well as the special “how to” propaganda handbook circulated to all Jewish college kids in the US about 3 or 4 years ago that was posted on Jews Sans Frontières, also posted above by someone..

      No conspiracy there,

      • DaBakr
        June 21, 2014, 1:46 pm

        you really must stop relying on Haaretz for you view of Israeli lives and culture. You do understand how small, radical and unpopular it is with Israeli masses? Sites like MW quote it as if it were the NYT of Israel-which its not, hardly. More like the New York Post in reverse.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 21, 2014, 2:13 pm

        you really must stop relying on Haaretz

        that’s not an argument against the allegation. are you suggesting Israelis are not being trained for hasbara shift work? there is not a government department with staff? well funded organized hasbara like stand with us, israel project, camera, the list goes on?

        try addressing the claims. and btw, i wrote an article last summer “Covert online students hasbara units directed out of Israeli PM Netanyau’s office”

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/covert-online-students-hasbara-units-directed-out-of-israeli-pm-netanyaus-office.html

        and here’s on from 09 New IDF unit to fight enemies on Facebook, Twitter http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/new-idf-unit-to-fight-enemies-on-facebook-twitter-1.3088

        The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman’s Office is to begin drafting computer experts with an eye toward establishing an Internet and new media department unit, Army Spokesman Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu said Monday.

        Speaking at the Eilat Journalists Conference, Benayahu said the new department would focus on the Internet’s social media networks mainly to reach an international audience directly rather than through the regular media.

        The new unit, as well as an initiative by the Information and Diaspora Ministry to train people to represent Israel independently on the Internet and in other arenas, were presented Monday at the conference during a panel discussion on Israeli public relations abroad.
        ….The new recruits would be put to work in the new media unit after undergoing a general Army Spokesman’s Unit training course.

        …..

        The Army Spokesman’s Office began working in this area more than a year ago……

        The Spokesman’s Office has also contacted bloggers who are known as opinion-makers and sent them information and pictures directly.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 20, 2014, 9:46 am

      “But you guys are antisemites. When it comes to the Jews, you always see some vast, organized conspiracy.”

      Go play in traffic. When the Israeli state, through a public university, runs a program on how to be an internet ambassador for the Apartheid state, it’s not antisemitism to point it out, it’s reporting. What is rank bigotry is your attempt to slander those who are pointing it out, because you are doing so knowing that these programs exist.

    • Sycamores
      June 20, 2014, 10:20 am

      hophmi,

      i believe you when you say “most people I know who are active online from a pro-Israel perspective are not being paid by anyone.” (ignoring the grammatical modifer ‘most’ which might infer that you know ‘some’ people that do get paid) but the question is how many people do you know? a 100? 1000?

      Israel is not hiding the fact that they do pay and invest money into people for pro-Israel propaganda.

      NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for 5 hours per week from the “comfort of home.”

      http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-students-get-2000-spread-state-propaganda-facebook

      and

      Israel’s Public Diplomacy Ministry is closing. Instead, staff at the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) will be directing covert “diplomacy units” from Israel’s top universities to counter the growing threat of isolation, the effects of the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). A recent article in Haaretz explained the recruitment was “to combat the boycott of Israel” on the social networks. The “public face” of these units is intended to be “one of an independent student entity.”

      Reportedly, investment in the recruitment, training and funding of these covert student units, structured in a “semi-military fashion”, is NIS 3 million.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/covert-online-students-hasbara-units-directed-out-of-israeli-pm-netanyaus-office.html

      apparently there is not enough people like you who are active online for free.

      But you guys are antisemites. When it comes to the Jews, you always see some vast, organized conspiracy

      where is the conspiracy that Israel funds hasbarists? and why are you resorting to a fail hasbarist stereotype by saying antisemites?

      in the pass i have notice you have correctly pointed out errors or omissions etc in other people comments and articles, Philip Weiss comes to mind http://mondoweiss.net/profile/philweiss?keyword=hophmi . i’m pointing out what i see as errors in your comment.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 21, 2014, 1:19 pm

        “most people I know who are active online from a pro-Israel perspective are not being paid by anyone.” (ignoring the grammatical modifer ‘most’ which might infer that you know ‘some’ people that do get paid)

        and ignoring the grammatical modifer ‘i know’ which one might infer as him knowing ‘most’ people active online from a pro-Israel perspective, which is highly unlikely)

        the question is, are most people who are active online from a pro-Israel perspective being paid? it is certainly an option for them if they are serious about being active pro israel bloggers and are good at it. whereas, i am not familiar of any job opportunities for pro palestinian commenters.

        because hired pro israel commenters do not identify themselves everyone becomes suspect. if the organized professionals in the online pro israel community regularly (with pride) self identified themselves as such, suspicion would probably not be an issue.

        but it is clearly hidden as a matter of policy, except the job offers. you can find them online.

      • Sycamores
        June 21, 2014, 4:37 pm

        hi Annie Robbins,

        particularly the recruitment of students for spreading propaganda feels wrong to me.

        ‘most’ students i ‘know’ are always strap for cash and are always looking for ways to make some.

    • talknic
      June 20, 2014, 12:04 pm

      @ hophmi “Regular shifts. They’re all out to get you”

      No. They’re out to spread ziopoop and defend a state in breach of laws and a UN Charter adopted in large part because of what the Nazis did to our fellows

      “most people I know who are active online from a pro-Israel perspective are not being paid by anyone.”

      True. I’m not paid to post facts about Israel’s PROCLAIMED borders and the deviousness of the Jewish Agency, JNF, Israeli Governments, in the hope that Israel will eventually adhere to the law and UN Charter, thereby be deserving of peace with her neighbours instead of being deservedly hated for illegally acquiring their territory in the idiotic and obscene quest for an illegal Greater Israel.

      “They just care about the issue they’re writing about, like the vast majority of the people on this earth”

      If they actually cared they wouldn’t be propagating nonsense

      “But you guys are antisemites.”

      Evidence being?

      ” When it comes to the Jews, you always see some vast, organized conspiracy

      If you say so hophmi. For the most part here folk seem to be against Israeli intransigence and lawlessness which has been bolstered by a long list of well documented lies over the last 66 years http://wp.me/PDB7k-Y#ignorance

      Meanwhile successive Israeli leaders and their propagandist supporters don’t exhibited much in the way of Jewishness when it comes to the basic tenets of Judaism.

      • Ron Edwards
        June 20, 2014, 10:01 pm

        High five, Talknic.

    • eljay
      June 20, 2014, 10:32 pm

      >> … most people I know who are active online from a pro-Israel perspective are not being paid by anyone. They just care about the issue they’re writing about …

      It’s a shame that they care about Jewish supremacism and Israel as an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”, rather than about justice, morality, equality and accountability.

      >> … like the vast majority of the people on this earth.

      Huh. I wasn’t aware that the vast majority of people on Earth supported Jewish supremacism and the existence of the State of Israel as an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 21, 2014, 1:39 pm

      ” When it comes to the Jews, you always see some vast, organized conspiracy

      you know very well this is about supporting israel/zionism. when it comes to zionism and supporting israel, yes i do see a vast well organized machine. a system of hasbara. if you’re more comfortable calling that a conspiracy, have at it. but make no mistake, this is not grassroots advocacy. these are trained professionals working in conjunction with the state to spread a message and demand the world support that message (listen to ron prosor’s UN address video and look at the professionally produced video to promote this campaign at mackey’s article.)

      and you’re trying to bludgeon us with the word “jews” and “conspiracy”. you don’t even come near to representing all jews. shame on you.

      • talknic
        June 21, 2014, 2:38 pm

        @ Annie Robbins ” these are trained professionals “

        ‘trained’ yes. However, ‘professional’ isn’t a word one ought use for paid parrots whose nonsense can be seen thru at the slightest glance. Ron Prosor’s UN address video being a good example. So too Netanyahu’s address to the UN http://wp.me/pDB7k-99

  11. Chu
    June 20, 2014, 11:02 am

    What the thing on their heads – are they going to grow a stag horn from it? Why does the one guy have his tellefin tight, and the other not at all tight? Symmetry would reinforce a sense of discipline in this hasbara pic.

  12. James North
    June 20, 2014, 12:29 pm

    hophmi: I agree with other commenters that you are not a paid hasbarist. But I’m astonished that you would try and deny that organized hasbarism exists.

    One more indication: I have been reading comments on Mondoweiss for years, and I don’t think I’ve even seen the pro-Israel forces disagree with each other a single time. The pro-Palestinian commenters argue regularly, sometime fiercely, but I’ve never seen you or a single other pro-Israel commenter challenge even the most extreme and racist assertions from anyone in your own camp. This reality — 100 hasbarists, one opinion — also strengthens the view that most hasbarism is organized.

    (As an aside, it looks like Hasbara Central has directed its people to stay away from this comment thread.)

    • Keith
      June 20, 2014, 4:41 pm

      JAMES NORTH- “I have been reading comments on Mondoweiss for years, and I don’t think I’ve even seen the pro-Israel forces disagree with each other a single time.”

      Another thing which I don’t recall seeing is the pro-Israel crew ever seriously criticize the American empire. Some may harken back to the genocide of the American Indians or to the evil of slavery, but current events is off limits. I assume that they are afraid of biting the hand that feeds them, what with Israel dependent upon imperial support. To borrow Marc Ellis’ phraseology, these guys are empire Jews.

      • libra
        June 20, 2014, 6:17 pm

        Keith: Another thing which I don’t recall seeing is the pro-Israel crew ever seriously criticize the American empire… …I assume that they are afraid of biting the hand that feeds them,

        Keith, this is the most astoundingly naive comment I can recall you making. But if you insist on putting the Empire cart before the Zionist horse it must all be so confusing.

        Maybe one day you’ll finally realize the American Empire (of Chaos) in the Middle East serves Israel’s purpose. Then you’ll understand why you don’t hear it being criticized.

        That said, if you’d been paying better attention you’d have noticed that there is indeed a hand-biting strand of hasbara which has the chutzpah to blame the US for all of Israel’s crimes. After all, what else can a client state do but obey it’s Imperial master?

      • Keith
        June 21, 2014, 11:03 am

        LIBRA- “But if you insist on putting the Empire cart before the Zionist horse it must all be so confusing.”

        To someone fixated on Zionism and Israel, the events in the Ukraine, Africa, South America, and the far East must be inexplicable. Not to mention neoliberal globalization and the financialization of the global economy. How to lay all of this at Israel’s doorstep must be challenging indeed. Of course, when in doubt, hang your hat on the neocons. Perhaps you have examples of the pro-Israel commenters taking an anti-empire position on Libya, Ukraine, the eastward expansion of NATO or the pivot east? Perhaps you can site yourself on these matters which you apparently regard as either trivial or Israel’s doing? Perhaps you can make reference to the lack of emphasis to Israel in “The Grand Chessboard” and other writings on geostrategy?

        Libra, you need to realize that Israel is but one part of a much larger struggle for power, something which you resist with all of your might in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Perhaps you take comfort in simplistic analysis? Pity, some of your attempts at humor are amusing.

        Finally, ignoring the crimes of empire is de facto imperial apologetics. As an American citizen, my primary responsibility is to resist empire (including support for Israel). Your myopic worldview notwithstanding, the crimes of empire greatly exceed anything Israel has done (odious as they are) by orders of magnitude. To deny it is to be complicit.

      • libra
        June 21, 2014, 1:53 pm

        @Keith

        Keith, it’s your need to weave everything the US does into one cohesive global strategy that bogs you down. For example, the US meddling in the Ukraine has neocon fingerprints all over it, but that doesn’t have to mean it was ‘made in Israel’.

        What the US does elsewhere in the world may be of less interest to Zionists, but US policy in the Middle East would seem to follow a neocon game plan and generally serves Israel’s interest by destabilizing the whole region into warring factions.

        I should add that saying the above does not mean I disagree with everything you say about the rise of global neo-liberalism.

      • DaBakr
        June 21, 2014, 1:55 pm

        well, I could start with Clarence Thomas but I figure the banner is: war of ides in the ME, not Washington DC.

      • Keith
        June 21, 2014, 4:38 pm

        LIBRA- “Keith, it’s your need to weave everything the US does into one cohesive global strategy that bogs you down.”

        Bogs me down? How? You mean that my comment about how the pro-Israel crew refrains from criticizing empire indicates that I am “bogged down?” You may disagree with the comment but that would take the form of saying that you feel these Israel Firsters frequently criticize current imperial policy. My original comment had nothing to do with imperial strategy. Speaking of which, are you suggesting that the empire lacks a cohesive strategy? That the empire got to be an empire inadvertently, ad-libbing and stumbling along?

        Libra says: “For example, the US meddling in the Ukraine has neocon fingerprints all over it, but that doesn’t have to mean it was ‘made in Israel’.”

        Unfortunately, the neocons remain highly influential in the formulation of imperial policy. Nonetheless, the policy remains imperial policy. Simply saying “the neocons did it” hardly absolves empire. Nor does it indicate that without neocon influence the policy would be significantly different. After all, imperial policy inevitably reflects a rough consensus of the imperial concentrations of power.

        Libra says: “What the US does elsewhere in the world may be of less interest to Zionists, but US policy in the Middle East would seem to follow a neocon game plan and generally serves Israel’s interest by destabilizing the whole region into warring factions.”

        Yes, of course Zionists have more influence over Middle East policy than elsewhere. Who has ever said different? Israel is an anomaly thanks in large part to the Zionist lobby. Having said that, imperial policy, however formulated, remains imperial policy. As for “destabilizing the whole region into warring factions,” that would appear to be the new imperial strategy globally, to destroy any (primarily) Third World nation which resists imperial designs. Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and potentially Russia and China too. Smashing the weaker states into even weaker bits and pieces (divide and rule), all trade dependent for survival, linked by a Western controlled global financial system is the new face of a corporate global empire. Now, one can disagree with my assessment, however, simply labelling people as neocons or Israel Firsters sheds little light on any of this.

        One can only wonder at the umbrage you take whenever I mention empire. It is understandable for Mondoweiss to focus on Israel, Zionism and the Middle East. It is quite another to suggest that any deviation from myopic fault finding is somehow improper. I find focusing exclusively on Israel’s faults while studiously ignoring America’s and empire’s to be morally repugnant.

      • talknic
        June 21, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Ooops (retracting) my bad

      • Donald
        June 21, 2014, 2:25 pm

        “Another thing which I don’t recall seeing is the pro-Israel crew ever seriously criticize the American empire. Some may harken back to the genocide of the American Indians or to the evil of slavery, but current events is off limits. ”

        I agree with much of what you say about the American Empire, but in the past few years I’ve noticed that the above statement isn’t quite right. They not only criticize the genocide of the Indians (or in Benny Morris’s case, use it as a positive example justifying the Nakba). I’ve also seen them criticize US violations in Iraq and Afghanistan and then say “how dare you criticize Israel when you do these things?” One of the commenters here does that from time to time (I haven’t seen her lately). I’ve seen it elsewhere. Somewhere in the post or the thread concerning the Presbyterians someone did this (or rather, someone was quoted doing this.)

        It’s self-contradictory, of course, since US actions in Iraq and Israeli actions against Palestinians are all part of the same machinery and the more logical sort of imperialist recognizes this and defends all of it, but people arguing in favor of oppression don’t have to be logically consistent–they just need to throw a lot of dust in people’s faces. It’s a tactic I’ve seen in other contexts–just toss something out there that will distract attention from the main point. If it’s a weird and ideologically nonsensical assertion, so much the better, so long as people pursue it.

  13. just
    June 20, 2014, 1:00 pm

    “but I’ve never seen you or a single other pro-Israel commenter challenge even the most extreme and racist assertions from anyone in your own camp”

    The only ‘disagreement’ that I have ever witnessed is when the commenter is not extreme enough…….and then the pile- on and back- slapping emerges full force.

  14. Yitzgood
    June 20, 2014, 1:02 pm

    it looks like Hasbara Central has directed its people to stay away from this comment thread

    Not specifically. We had prior orders to march around chanting “A land without a people for a people without a land.” You guys never notice your own cliches. Gotta go now. I’m planning a trip to Greater Israel after I have stolen felafel for breakfast.

  15. talknic
    June 20, 2014, 10:20 pm

    Yitzgood “You guys never notice your own cliches”

    Uh? You took the hook !

  16. pjdude
    June 20, 2014, 11:37 pm

    I kinda have a problem with the whole Bringourboys back hashtag. it feels like there trying to exploit the nigerian kidnappings to garner undeserved sympathy. maybe its from seeing so much cynical crap from them its hard to tell if there being sincere but honestly they are trying to link to the nigerian debacle which was very different.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 21, 2014, 9:19 am

      Of course they are exploiting the tragedy of those girls and weakening the use of the technique. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  17. Mikhael
    June 21, 2014, 8:24 am

    The literal meaning of “hasbara” in modern Israeli Hebrew (the national language of the Jewish People) literally means “explaining”, derived from an Aramaic root s/b/r meaning “to think”. Related words include the Talmudists known as the Seboraim, the reasoners, who practiced “sebarah”, connoting reason and logic. Another Hebrew expression related to the root s/b/r is “sever painm” or “hesber panim” connoting “welcoming”. Like the word “hasbara” which is also used to explain the way the world is to ignorant people, none of these can be seen as negatives.

    • pjdude
      June 21, 2014, 4:30 pm

      Modern hebrew can’t be the national language for jewish people. for israeli jewish people yes but for jews as a whole not really. people’s national language is from the nation state they live in.

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