Hasbara: “Israel’s” propaganda policy | Al Mayadein English

Hasbarists seek to sway public opinion across the world in favor of “Israel” and Zionism, with Israelis and Zionists abroad acting as “spokespersons”.

The Hebrew term hasbara literally means “explanation” and is a euphemism in “Israel” for a formal policy of pro-“Israel” evangelism, apology and propaganda. Hasbarists seek to sway public opinion around the world in favor of “Israel” and Zionism, with Israelis and Zionists abroad acting as “spokespeople”, also known as “schlichim “; Hebrew word meaning “emissary”.

What is hasbara?

The goal of hasbara is to justify, rationalize and support the actions of “Israel” and its ideology of Zionism and to attack those who criticize or resist them. This is achieved through common public relations techniques, such as talking points, scams and misinformation. However, what makes it unique is its particular use of accusations of “anti-Semitism” and allegations of personal “injury” and “sense of insecurity”. The hasbara the policy is no secret and is allocated substantial resources and finances by Israeli and Zionist organizations globally.

Hasbarathe story of

In 1974, a short-lived ministry Hasbara was created, with Shimon Peres (who later became Prime Minister and then President of “Israel”) at the helm. Despite the dissolution of the ministry in 1975, hasbara remained a vital Israeli policy and fell within the purview of various ministries. Yonatan Mendel explained that after 1975, “the importance of hasbara has come to the fore every time Israel has been involved in a major conflict – that of 1982 [invasion of Lebanon]the 1987 intifada, the 2000 intifada.”

In 2009, when a flurry of negative publicity erupted after “Israel” launched an attack on Gaza known as “Operation Cast Lead”, the Ministry was resurrected as the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs . It was preceded by English-speaking, French-speaking and German-speaking officers from hasbara sent to European countries to tell their personal stories of supposedly living in fear of the Palestinians. Israeli tourists in Europe have also been bombarded with information on television and in in-flight magazines about how to sell “Israel” abroad.

Benjamin Netanyahu, then in opposition, even “addressed an audience of 16-year-old Israeli students in a television show called Hasbara and History” in which “45 minutes were spent teaching students how to explain Israel to the world “.

“We must learn the technique of our enemies” [Netanyahu] said. “They reverse the outcome and the outcome; they accuse Israel of occupying the territories, even though those territories were originally occupied as a result of their aggression… We have to convince the world that we are right.”

Global reach of Hasbara

The Zionist entity has a myriad of ways to target audiences outside of occupied Palestine. An age-old approach is to send settlers from Palestine to spread the word as “Schlichim” or “emissaries” in what is mistakenly called the “diaspora”, a term which mistakenly implies that all Jews have a connection with Palestine. This activity is supervised by the Jewish Agency; one of the four “national institutions” that make up the leadership of the Zionist movement. In the United Kingdom, schlichim are distributed. On campus, the schlichim program supported the Zionist Union of Jewish Students “through the Campus Fellows program” and “grants” were awarded so that schlichim could “work with a variety of youth organizations, schools and synagogues.

Various religious groupings also send schlichim abroad on similar missions to act as local rabbis or mentor youth groups. Mizrachi, the religious Zionist movement, announces eight current couples in various locations across the UK. Some come from illegal settlements such as “Gush Etzion” or attended “Ariel” University, which is also in an illegal settlement. Additionally, experiences in the occupation forces litter their profiles with mentions of a “tank commander”, a “paratrooper”, the “Combat Engineer Corps”, or a “Givati ​​Brigade Commander”. “. In 2014, the commander of the “Givati ​​Brigade”, Colonel Ofer Winter, told his men as they prepared to enter Gaza that they were engaged in a war to “annihilate” an “enemy”. who defames God. Schlichim with this background poses a clear danger to Jewish and non-Jewish children in the UK.

Mobilizing Zionist Citizens

Another approach is to try to enlist citizens and community groups in occupied Palestine and beyond. The Citizens’ Information Council “Israel” was established in 2001 by Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet prisoner and government minister. It was a “grassroots network providing a platform for English-speaking Israeli citizens to actively participate in the effort to inform and promote Israel”. Although short-lived, it was one of many similar initiatives like the oldest Ambassadors Club set up in every university “in Israel” by StandWithUs – an advocacy group very close to the Foreign Ministry – to develop “Israel” advocacy. .

Sharansky’s short-lived group was also a member of a larger group, the Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers (CoHaV), established in 2003 by British-born Zionists who became settlers in Palestine. One of them, Stuart Palmer, coordinates “Israel” advocacy around the world in at least fifteen countries. It seeks to generate pro-“Israel” coverage in print and broadcast media, public presentations and research. It is strongest in “Israel”, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the United Kingdom, among the twenty-four groups are several “friends of Israel” groups, the main pressure groups BICOM – British “Israel” Communications and Research and its branch We Believe in “Israel”, led by Luke Akehurst, a current member of the governing body of the British Labor Party. Also listed are UK lawyers StandWithUs and UK lawyers for “Israel”, both of which are closely linked to the Foreign Office. In case anyone thinks these groups are in any way independent of the regime, the Israeli Embassy is also listed as a member.

The fifteen groups active on university campuses that are members of CoHaV include the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), of which the Union of Jewish Students in the United Kingdom and Ireland (UJS) is a member.

“Wounded like a Jew” – weaponizing anti-Semitism

In 2002, WUJS produced a hasbara manual, subtitled “Promoting Israel on Campuses,” which was sponsored by the Jewish Agency for “Israel,” one of the “Israel” institutions. The manual aimed to arm pro-“Israel” Jewish students with tools to influence public, political and academic opinion on “Israel” and Zionism.

Among other things, students were advised to “write an article for a university journal” and were told that when it is not possible to make the charge of anti-Semitism, “it is often worthwhile to express his personal outrage, saying that we were “hurt, as a Jew, by the controversial act.”

Online trolling

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs was given the lead role in undermining BDS in 2015. It created a platform called 4IL and an associated smartphone app, Act.IL. This astroturf project provides hasbara activists with links to champion “Israel” online, amplifying comments of support. It also calls on app users to target anti-Zionist content. In March 2021, Act.IL attacked me, calling on “Israel” defenders abroad to target a message of support on AlJazeera Twitter account. In 2017, the ministry established a corporation, now called Concert, which has donated over US$1 million to support hasbara scholarships in the United States.

During his second term as “Israeli” prime minister, Netanyahu used his office in 2013 to create “secret units” at Israeli universities to “post on social media such as Facebook and Twitter on behalf of Israel. ” but who “[do] do not identify themselves as official representatives of the government.” The head of each unit reportedly “received[s] a full scholarship from the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs are investing significantly in “digital diplomacy”. The Israeli Embassy in London “annually invites representatives” of Zionist groups “for a day of advocacy training”. Among the speakers in November 2016 was David Collier, a blogger who later became part of the GnasherJew troll account on Twitter. Collier and others recruited into the regime’s network also assisted the Digitell 18 and Digitell19 events organized by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Here, dozens of activists have been recruited into a global network. Using a common Zionist trope, they even leaned into it when celebrating their role as “undercover Hasbara trolls” at the 2019 event. Collier’s close colleague Simon Cobbs of “Sussex Friends of Israel” tweeted with the banner produced by the MSA, calling for money to sendwith no indication that he had ever been.

Digitell network alumni are popping up all over the place, including the founding of a US-based movement against anti-Semitism and a celebrity troll farm called the “Tel Aviv” Institute that works closely with him. The Movement was co-founded by former Israeli spy and MSA director general Sima Vaknin-Gil who claims 650 members in his network of supporters. At the Institute are Hen Mazzig and Emily Schrader, both alumni of the Digitell network.

Anyone who has expressed support for Palestine on social media or who has criticized “Israel” or Zionist ideology has likely encountered pro “Israel” troll accounts. These accounts merge to engage in “stacks” in which multiple accounts attack a single user; mass reporting of pro-Palestine accounts in hopes of having them suspended; and making false claims of “anti-Semitism”.

There is no point in engaging with Zionist trolls. They are not interested in rational or good faith debates. They are only motivated to destroy any resistance to Zionist crimes. After all, supporting a racist colonial entity, engaged in ethnic cleansing, apartheid practices and routine barbarism requires the suspension of rational, logical and ethical beliefs.

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