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Hasbara

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A hasbarist argues there’s nothing wrong in the killing of Eyad al-Halaq. Palestinians may “ask to become Israel’s ‘blacks’,” Nave Dromi says, but we won’t let them be equal citizens. In fact the history of nationalism is the history of racist distinctions, and persecution, that the world has been seeking to outlaw since WW II.

In a book dismissing the Palestinian refugee issue, Israeli authors Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz totally absolve adherents of the Zionist ideology from any historic responsibility for planning and executing a strategy in which dispossessing Palestinians from the land was premeditated intention. The authors are hasbarists.

If we do not distinguish between valid critiques of the policies of the Israeli state and anti-Semitism, we are allowing rightwing forces to weaponize anti-Semitism, suppressing freedom of speech and open debate, and making the term anti-Semitism meaningless at a time when it is critical to identify and oppose it.

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman vilified the BDS campaign on PBS News Hour last night: “leaders of the BDS movement are trying — not the try to get Israel to change this or that policy, but to try to remove every Jew from the Middle East. Just as Hitler wanted a Jewish-free Europe.” Host Amna Nawaz allowed the false characterization to stand, and also echoed a characterization of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib as anti-Semites.

On CNN Jake Tapper uses the killings in El Paso to vilify Palestinians. When a guest says Trump has fostered violence against immigrants, Tapper leaped in to say that the tone set by Palestinian leaders encouraged suicide bombings against innocent Israelis. Tapper overlooked a lot of violence by Israelis against Palestinians, and he is being criticized on twitter for his bias. Bret Stephens made a similar comment on MSNBC.

Veteran CNN journalist Jim Clancy’s resignation this week is one of the odder media fallouts from the Charlie Hebdo Paris attack. On January 7, 2015 Clancy got into a late night Twitter spat regarding the French satirical magazine with online adversaries. He told them they were ganging up on him and practicing “hasbara,” the Hebrew word for “explaining” that describes pro-Israel advocacy. As it turns out, Clancy was not off base. Some that spared with him have worked for the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby groups.