FIGHT ISRAHELL VIDEO: Israeli diplomats ‘hazed’ on campus ( A MUST SEEE!)

The Israelis have a lot of experience dealing with asymmetrical warfare.  But they’re not exactly used to its latest manifestation, which could be coming to a college campus near you.

Committed activists let their frustrations be heard on Monday in two separate lectures delivered by senior Israeli diplomats.

While the videos go viral among students, its watching the tactics used at these events that must be leaving Israel unnerved.

Consider the way in which a mockery was made of Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, who presented at the University of California at Irvine.

The New York-born former academic had nary a minute to get into his talking points when he himself was taken to school by angry students, at least one of whom shouted “propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!”

The heckling made it impossible for Oren to carry on, and persisted in spite of pleas and threats by audience members and promises of arrest by the rattled college rector.

Most of Oren’s detractors made reference to Israel’s actions during the  2009 Gaza War.

Israel is under heavy strain by UN officials and international rights organizations to be held accountable for crimes of war during the 17-day Israeli assault on Gaza.  Some from academia have defended Israel from the charges, including Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, who went so far as to attack UN Investigator Richard Goldstone with a provocative Hebrew word that translates as “traitor to the Jewish people”.

Ref: Al Jazeera

New envoy to U.S.: Soon Jews won’t want to live in Israel

Suppose a Jewish couple considering immigration to Israel were to ask a bored Jewish Agency emissary for background material on the situation here. “It just so happens I received something today that might interest you,” the emissary might reply, pulling out the most recent article written by Dr. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador-designate to the United States.

This article might well deter the potential immigrants from ever bothering the agency’s emissary again. Under the title “Seven Existential Threats,” published in the latest issue of the conservative Jewish publication “Commentary,” Oren wrote that Israel has no competition in the modern era when it comes to the number and variety of threats that endanger the Jewish state’s existence.

Oren, a historian from the Shalem Center whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tapped for Israel’s top diplomatic post, described a country rotten to the core, riddled by everything from drug dealing to white slavery, from money laundering to illegal arms trading.

He reported that not even the army has escaped the clutches of corruption, thus weakening Israelis’ will to fight for their country, or even to live in it. Moreover, Oren complained, Israel’s best and brightest are being persecuted around the world for what the country’s detractors term “war crimes.”

Upon reading this article (which was written before he was appointed to his ambassadorial post), American Jews will also learn that the Jewish people will soon lose Jerusalem as its eternal capital, as this city, too, is under existential threat: A majority of Jerusalem’s inhabitants (272,000 Arabs and 200,000 ultra-Orthodox, out of a total of 800,000 residents) are not Zionists; secular Jews are fleeing the city; and fully half of Israel’s youth have never even visited the holy city.

According to Oren, “if this trend continues, [Israeli founding father David] Ben Gurion’s nightmare will materialize and Israel will be rendered soulless, a country in which a great many Jews may not want to live or for which they may not be willing to give their lives.”

Next on the list are the existential demographic threat, the existential terrorist threat and the existential threat of Iran’s nuclear capability. Interspersed throughout the article are a few rather existential historical inaccuracies, such as the claim that no Arab leader has ever recognized Israel as a Jewish state (the 1988 Palestinian declaration of independence recognized the Jewish state), or that between 1957 and 1967, hundreds of Jews were killed in acts of terror (the number is less than two dozen).

Particularly interesting is the solution to the existential demographic problem hat ambassador-to-be Oren proposes ¬ unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank to borders that would be determined in accordance with the following principles: maximum Jewish population, strategic assets, holy sites and natural resources. In other words, the historian-ambassador believes it is possible, and even appropriate, to (continue to) rob the Palestinians not only of their land, but also of their water and quarries.

This delusional article should come as no surprise to Haaretz readers with long memories. In December 1993, several weeks after the Oslo agreements were signed, this paper reported that Oren had written a document proposing the establishment of “a centrist bloc headed by [then] chief of staff Ehud Barak and MK Benny Begin as a counterweight to Yitzhak Rabin, who is being led by the left and Yossi Beilin, and to Benjamin Netanyahu, who is being dragged after the extreme right.”

At that time, the American Jewish Committee, a smallish Jewish organization, had named Oren its representative in Israel. Now, Netanyahu the one who was in the clutches of the extreme right (presumably no longer?) ¬ is appointing him to be Israel’s number-one representative to the most important superpower in the world.

Crisis in a phone booth

The crisis that has beset the Israeli delegation to the International Women’s Commission undermines the theory that if women were in charge of the peace process, the many men who make their livings from the conflict would have to find new jobs. The internal struggle in the phone booth that houses what remains of the peace camp is paralyzing activity in the Israeli-Palestinian channel of the United Nations organization, which includes leaders from around the world.

The controversy broke out over Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year. Members of the Israeli steering committee ¬ Prof. Galia Golan, Prof. Naomi Chazan, Anat Sargusti and Aida Touma-Sliman ¬ signed a statement harshly condemning Israel. They agreed with their Palestinian comrades and other international delegates that Israel perpetrated a “massacre” in Gaza and urged the international community to “put an end to the madness.”

Former Knesset member Colette Avital ¬ an IWC veteran who also heads the Labor Party’s external relations department ¬ protested the declaration, charging that it failed to mention Hamas’ attacks against Israeli civilians. She herself traveled to Europe during the war with a delegation of Knesset members to explain Israel’s position. Eti Livni, a former Knesset member from the Shinui party, sent her colleagues an e-mail asking: “Are we talking about a struggle between the forces of light, Hamas, and the forces of darkness, murderers?”

The Palestinian delegates said they would not sit with women who justified the war. The Israeli steering committee hinted to the two that their resignations would be welcomed. Former Meretz MK Chazan wrote in a letter to her colleagues that delegates from the rest of the world were discomfited by the Israeli group’s inability to support the commission’s basic stance, which opposes all violence. Chazan cautioned that prolonging this situation would lead the commission to a sad end.

After lengthy soul-searching, Avital decided to resign angrily from the organization, but Livni continues to resist. She said yesterday that she has no intention of “abandoning the arena to colleagues who surrender to the Palestinians’ dictates.” Those who want her expelled from the organization will have to do it themselves.

Ref: Haaretz

A comment from Haaretz!

I know exactly why Jews are leaving the promised land!
d.dor, Los Angeles

…the same reason I left. Repressive government and high taxes. Try getting anything done and you have to go back several times OR the government worker sits back on his/her butt, letting the phone ring while being overheard to a coworker, “I know it pisses them off, and I love it.” And they`re not in a hurry to wait on you, either. It`s not the danger, it`s not the Arabs, it`s not the food or the price of gas….it`s a poorly run and badly organized country where individualism comes before the good of the many. I personally know of young people who have lied to keep out of the military. It`s no longer an honor to serve and many are demoralized by the corruption that runs deep throughout the government. The hopelessness is evidenced in the fleshpots of Tel Aviv where anything is available and anything goes.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Israel has left her first LOVE.
G-d bless G-d


Hasbara spam alert

The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it’s going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel “media volunteer” also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:

Dear friends,
We hold the [sic] military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it’s a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote – the more likely we gain positive sentiment. I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you’re up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets. If you wish to participate, please respond to this email.

My friend did so and received this official communique from the Israeli Foreign Ministry with talking points about Operation Cast Lead which s/he was to use in her/his propaganda efforts. Among the links was was a Peter Beaumont Cif piece. The following were identified as “target sites”: the Times, the Guardian, Sky News, BBC, Yahoo!News, Huffington Post, and the Dutch Telegraaf. Also targeted were other media sites in Dutch, Spanish, German and French considered critical of the invasion.

Locally, here in Seattle, peace activists held a rally at our federal building attended by 500 protesters. In the foreign ministry communique issued the next day, activists were directed to comment in the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s article about the demonstration. The comment thread for the article is riddled with clear hasbara “plants” who distort the balance and tone of the discussion with their programmed arguments, making it much more favorable than it otherwise would be.

Here the foreign ministry’s coordinator describes a meeting he attended at the government’s offical office:

Hi all,
I had a meeting in the ministry of foreign affairs today, and was very happy to hear that their metrics show that Israel’s position in the internet is getting better every day. It means that you’re doing a good job! MFA are concerned with the biased public opinion in Europe. So please focus your efforts on European media. What can you do to help?
– Identify internet battle-grounds in different languages, and let me know
– Comment/post/vote in the listed links and others; you can use the material attached below
– Write letters to authors and editors. Identify yourself as a local resident
– Have your friends join this activity

This message was meant to encourage the pro-Israel activists in their work:

“World governments are still patient with Israel’s justified operation in Gaza. The [sic] public opinion, on the other hand, is impatient, to say the least. This gap will soon close – it always does. It is our goal to shift the public opinion, as conveyed in the internet; avoiding, or at least minimising, sanctions by world leaders. We need to buy the IDF enough time to achieve its goals.”

Besides the talking points provided by the foreign ministry to the pro-Israel web activists, they are offered online pro-Israel material to link to in their comments such as these:
-Aish HaTorah’s What Really Happened in the Middle East
-YouTube video: Amid Gaza violence, Israeli and Palestinian doctors save baby’s life –
-CNN’s Amanpour interviews Tzipi Livni
-Military incursion should be seen as part of War on Terror
-Blog from Southern Israel, Morit Rozen

Remember when the defence department was paying public relations companies and Iraqi newspapers to insert articles praising the Iraq war? The companies also attempted to plant coverage favorable to the US military in US newspapers. There rightly was a media uproar about the manipulation. We’ll see whether the same happens over this.

The foreign ministry shouldn’t get a pass on this one. It may view such hasbara as maximising its efforts to “explain” Israel’s position in the world media. I view it as a cynical attempt to flood the web and news media with favorable flackery in a vain attempt to tilt public opinion toward Israel. Not only does it do Israel a disservice, it stains every legitimate effort that the ministry might make to explain Israel to the world, since no one will believe a word it says knowing it engages in such outright propaganda.

Not to mention that this is such cheap pennyante stuff. What do they gain by this? How effective can it be and how many can be convinced? By the way, I’ve even noticed the hasbaraniks in my own blog. You can see them a mile away because they’ve never published a comment before yet write something like: “I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time, but anyone with a brain in their head knows that Hamas is out to destroy Israel blah, blah blah.” Pretty formulaic stuff. Also, you can Google a few phrases of the comment and if you find it appears elsewhere on the web you know you either have a hasbaranik or someone who has repetition compulsion.

In some instances, western media may intentionally or unintentionally fall victim to manipulation. Tony Karon points out that pro-Israel journalist-historian Michael Oren has published several stories since the Gaza incursion began in US media outlets like the New Republic and Los Angeles Times. He is also on active duty with the IDF in Gaza serving as a public affairs officer liasing with foreign media. You will find nothing noting this in the Los Angeles Times op ed. In effect, the media is allowing advocates like Oren to pass themselves off as disinterested experts when they are anything but. It behooves editors to do some due diligence when they publish any piece that advocates for one side or the other to determine whether there may be conflicts of interest or other unacknowledged factors influencing a commentator’s judgment.

It seems we are now well and truly in the world of Propaganda 2.0.

Ref: Guardian