Post-PennBDS conference, Hasbara groups and journalists described pro-Israel students as “ignorant,” and unable to defend their stance against statements such as “Israel took Arab land.” From “Lessons Learned from the Frontline,” Lisa Hostein, executive editor of the Jewish Exponent, laments:
the pervasive ignorance of young Jews and too many adults who can’t begin to counter simple questions about Israel’s legitimacy let alone respond to the more sophisticated sophistry from those like BDS keynoter Ali Abunimah.
Bryan Schwartzman, also from the Jewish Exponent confirms this inability to counter with an anti-BDS narratives. The writer asks:
[D]id BDS speakers like Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah reveal how much pro-Israel students need to learn in order to counter arguments that are steeped in the language of universal justice and human rights?
His answer — yes. Schwatzman continues with Hasbara failures by detailing Abunimah’s keynote speech, where he de facto throws Abunimah a moral endorsement over Alan Dershowitz. Referencing the Palestinian activist/author as recently catching the pro-Israel professor in a lie, during his February 2nd speech. Schwartzman writes:
During a question-and-answer session there, a female student asked Dershowitz, ‘If an Arab student comes up to me and says, ‘You took my land,’ and I respond, ‘Yeah, but we support gay rights,’ how does that add up?’
Dershowitz said the answer is that the Jews didn’t steal the land.
In addition to articulating Hasbara faults, both journalists managed to highlight what they viewed as the one victory: consensus. The Exponent found though Pro-Israel students and Zionist organizations failed to provide any meaningful challenge to BDS, they were successful in sending a unified message that they are all against BDS. Therefore, while pro-Israel students may be ignorant, at least they are successful at sticking together.
Hat tip to Nima Shirazi for catching this**