Israel: “Haiti is a PR Win”

“Bravo!” the onlookers shouted. “We love you, Israel.”

It was a picture-perfect moment for Israel’s Hasbara propaganda department.

I’m a downright sceptic when it comes to the Israelis being involved in any international efforts, after all they have a proven track record of connivance and deceit. Surely being involved in the humanitarian relief effort in Haiti couldn’t involve any sort of moral subterfuge, could it?

Well the Jewish Daily Forward reports on the latest Hasbara campaign the Zionist state is involved in.

The Israelis are dedicating themselves to making sure people hear about their humanitarian mission and are spreading the word, even by means of attacking themselves via a classic piece of in-house propaganda.

Press officers from the Israeli death squads (military) are being flown in, as were photographers and a video team to document the work of medical and rescue personnel. They are distributing daily footage to the press, with representatives of Israeli and foreign media being embedded with the group to see their efforts at first hand.

A day after the Israeli field hospital opened, two Israeli officers in uniforms canvassed the row of TV producers sitting in their broadcast positions along the city airport’s runway.

“We’re telling them about our hospital,”

one said.

A CNN report, widely circulated on the web by the hasbara squadron, showed an injured Haitian in a rudimentary makeshift hospital, his doctor telling the camera that if he doesn’t make it to a hospital where he could undergo surgery shortly, he would die. A quick cut followed to the site of the Israeli hospital.

“I’m just amazed, this is like another world compared to the other hospital.”

CNN reporter, Elizabeth Cohen, gushed. Later in the report she asked how it could be that the United States did not set up a hospital in Haiti while the Israelis came from the other side of the world.

“It’s like winning the lottery”

Said Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project, a Washington-based pro-Israel media group, describing the positive impact of Israeli PR efforts. Their website provides a very interesting breakdown of how to promote the efforts of Israel’s humanitarian efforts.

Her media-tracking data show that since the Israeli team began work in Haiti, thousands of positive news stories about Israel have appeared in the European press, and even more in America.

“As long as people don’t think that the motivation for this was PR and understand that it is a humanitarian cause, then you can’t go wrong,”

Steve Rabinowitz

Said Steve Rabinowitz, (whose client list speaks for itself) a Washington-based communications consultant who described the boost Israel’s mission gave to the country’s image as a “home run.”

The Israeli’s know exactly what they are doing;

“In Europe, Israel’s image is defined by the Goldstone report, so news items like those coming from Haiti can definitely help change that image”

Said an Israeli official referring to the United Nations report that accused Israel of committing war crimes.

Akiva Eldar pointed out in Haaretz;

The disaster in Haiti is a natural one; the one in Gaza is the unproud handiwork of man. Our handiwork. The IDF does not send cargo planes stuffed with medicines and medical equipment to Gaza.

The missiles that Israel Air Force combat aircraft fired there a year ago hit nearly 60,000 homes and factories, turning 3,500 of them into rubble. Since then, 10,000 people have been living without running water, 40,000 without electricity. Ninety-seven percent of Gaza’s factories are idle due to Israeli government restrictions on the import of raw materials for industry.

Soon it will be one year since the international community pledged, at the emergency conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, to donate $4.5 billion for Gaza’s reconstruction. Israel’s ban on bringing in building materials is causing that money to lose its value.

A few days before Israeli physicians rushed to save the lives of injured Haitians, the authorities at the Erez checkpoint prevented 17 people from passing through in order to get to a Ramallah hospital for urgent corneal transplant surgery.

Although I’d like to extend the benefit of the doubt, and rejoice in the Israelis rediscovering the long forgotten spirit of universal brotherhood, it’s quite apparent what their intentions are.

We have deliberately used as many quotations as possible, from pro-Israeli sources, lest I be accused of underhand tactics and being “hit for a home run” with the anti-semitic baseball bat.

The cynical exploitation of the death and suffering in Haiti by the Zionist state and their hasbara proponents is one that has to be exposed and condemned for all that it is, a piece of positive publicity for a country that has meted out death and suffering since it’s creation.

Read more:

HASBARA ALERT: The Foreign Ministry presents: talkbackers in the service of the State

After they became an inseparable part of the service provided by public-relations companies and advertising agencies, paid Internet talkbackers are being mobilized in the service in the service of the State. The Foreign Ministry is in the process of setting up a team of students and demobilized soldiers who will work around the clock writing pro-Israeli responses on Internet websites all over the world, and on services like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

The Foreign Ministry’s department for the explanation of Israeli policy* is running the project, and it will be an integral part of it. The project is described in the government budget for 2009 as the “Internet fighting team” – a name that was given to it in order to distinguish it from the existing policy-explanation team, among other reasons, so that it can receive a separate budget.

Even though the budget’s size has not yet been disclosed to the public, sources in the Foreign Ministry have told Calcalist that in will be about NIS 600 thousand in its first year, and it will be increased in the future. From the primary budget, about NIS 200 thousand will be invested in round-the-clock activity at the micro-blogging website Twitter, which was recently featured in the headlines for the services it provided to demonstrators during the recent disturbances in Iran.

To all intents and purposes the Internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” Elan Shturman, deputy director of the policy-explanation department in the Foreign Ministry, and who is directly responsible for setting up the project, says in an interview with Calcalist.

Our policy-explanation achievements on the Internet today are impressive in comparison to the resources that have been invested so far, but the other side is also investing resources on the Internet. There is an endless array of pro-Palestinian websites, with huge budgets, rich with information and video clips that everyone can download and post on their websites. They are flooding the Internet with content from the Hamas news agency. It is a well-oiled machine. Our objective is to penetrate into the world in which these discussions are taking place, where reports and videos are published – the blogs, the social networks, the news websites of all sizes. We will introduce a pro-Israeli voice into those places. What is now going on in Iran is the proof of the need for such an operational branch,” adds Shturman. “It’s not like a group of friends is going to bring down the government with Twitter messages, but it does help to expand the struggle to vast dimensions.”

The missions: “monitoring” and “fostering discussions”

The Foreign Ministry intends to recruit youths who speak at least one foreign language and who are studying communications, political science or law, or alternatively those whose military background is in units that deal with information analysis. “It is a youthful language”, explains Shturman. “Older people do not know how to write blogs, how to act there, what the accepted norms are. The basic conditions are a high capacity for expression in English – we also have French- and Swedish-speakers – and familiarity with the online milieu. We are looking for people who are already writing blogs and circulating in Facebook”.

Members of the new unit will work at the Ministry (“They will punch a card,” says Shturman) and enjoy the full technical support of Tahila, the government’s ISP, which is responsible for computer infrastructure and Internet services for government departments. “Their missions will be defined along the lines of the government policies that they will be required to defend on the Internet. It could be the situation in Gaza, the situation in the north or whatever is decided. We will determine which international audiences we want to reach through the Internet and the strategy we will use to reach them, and the workers will implement that on in the field. Of course they will not distribute official communiquיs; they will draft the conversations themselves. We will also activate an Internet-monitoring team – people who will follow blogs, the BBC website, the Arabic websites.”

According to Shturman the project will begin with a limited budget, but he has plans to expand the team and its missions: “the new centre will also be able to support Israel as an economic and commercial entity,” he says. “Alternative energy, for example, now interests the American public and Congress much more than the conflict in the Middle East. If through my team I can post in blogs dealing with alternative energy and push the names of Israeli companies there, I will strengthen Israel’s image as a developed state that contributes to the quality of the environment and to humanity, and along with that I may also manage to help an Israeli company get millions of dollars worth of contracts. The economic potential here is great, but for that we will require a large number of people. What is unique about the Internet is the fragmentation into different communities, every community deals with what interests it. To each of those communities you have to introduce material that is relevant to it.

The inspiration: covert advertising on the Internet

The Foreign Ministry admits that the inspiration comes from none other than the much-reviled field of compensated commercial talkback: employees of companies and public-relations firms who post words of praise on the Internet for those who sent them there – the company that is their employer or their client. The professional responders normally identify themselves as chance readers of the article they are responding to or as “satisfied customers” of the company they are praising.

Will the responders who are hired for this also present themselves as “ordinary net-surfers”?

“Of course,” says Shturman. “Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the policy-explanation department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis. They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the Foreign Ministry developed.

Test-firing in the Gaza War
According to Shturman, although it is only now that the project is receiving a budget and a special department in the Foreign Ministry, in practice the Ministry has been using its own responders since the last war in Gaza, when the Ministry recruited volunteer talkbackers. “During Operation Cast Lead we appealed to Jewish communities abroad and with their help we recruited a few thousand volunteers, who were joined by Israeli volunteers. We gave them background material and policy-explanation material, and we sent them to represent the Israeli point of view on news websites and in polls on the Internet,” says Shturman. “Our target audience then was the European Left, which was not friendly towards the policy of the government. For that reason we began to get involved in discussions on blogs in England, Spain and Germany, a very hostile environment.”

And how much change have you effected so far?

“It is hard to prove success in this kind of activity, but it is clear that we succeeded in bypassing the European television networks, which are very critical of Israel, and we have created direct dialogues with the public.”

What things have you done there exactly?

“For example, we sent someone to write in the website of a left-wing group in Spain. He wrote ‘it is not exactly as you say.’ Someone at the website replied to him, and we replied again, we gave arguments, pictures. Dialogue like that opens people’s eyes.”

Elon Gilad, a worker at the Foreign Ministry who coordinated the activities of the volunteer talkbackers during the war in Gaza and will coordinate the activities of the professional talkbackers in the new project, says that volunteering for talkback in defence of Israel started spontaneously: “Many times people contacted us and asked how they could help to explain Israeli policy. They mainly do it at times like the Gaza operation. People just asked for information, and afterwards we saw that the information was distributed all over the Internet. The Ministry of Absorption also started a project at that time, and they transferred to us hundreds of volunteers who speak foreign languages and who will help to spread the information. That project too mainly spreads information on the Internet.”

“You can’t win”

While most of the net-surfers were recruited through websites like, which was officially activated by a Jewish lobby, in some cases is it was the Foreign Ministry that took the initiative to contact the surfers and asked them to post talkbacks sympathetic to the State and the government [of Israel] on the Internet and to help recruit volunteers. That’s how Michal Carmi, an active blogger and associate general manager at the high-tech placement company Tripletec, was recruited to the online policy-explanation team.

During Operation Cast Lead the Foreign Ministry wrote to me and other bloggers and asked us to make our opinions known on the international stage as well,” Carmi tells Calcalist. “They sent us pages with ‘taking points’ and a great many video clips. I focussed my energies on Facebook, and here and there I wrote responses on blogs where words like ‘Holocaust’ and ‘murder’ were used in connection with Israel’s Gaza action. I had some very hard conversations there. Several times the Foreign Ministry also recommended that we access specific blogs and get involved in the discussions that were taking place there.”

And does it work? Does it have any effect?

“I am not sure that that strategy was correct. The Ministry did excellent work, they sent us a flood of accurate information, but it focussed on Israeli suffering and the threat of the missiles. But the view of the Europeans is one-dimensional. Israeli suffering does not seem relevant to them compared to Palestinian suffering.”

“You can never win in this struggle. All you can do is be there and express your position,” is how Gilad sums up the effectiveness so far, as well as his expectations of the operation when it begins to receive a government budget.

Ref: Kibush

Also read Thought-police is here – israeli state-propgaganda HASBARA and Propaganda 2.0: Hasbara spam alert

By: Dora Kishinevski
5 July 2009,7340,L-3319543,00.html
Translated for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

* “department for the explanation of Israeli policy” is a translation of only two words in the original Hebrew text: “mahleqet ha-hasbara” – literally, “the department of explanation”. Israeli readers require no elaboration. Henceforth in this article, “hasbara” will be translated as “policy-explanation”. It may also be translated as “public diplomacy” or “propaganda” – trans.

Lost in Translation: Alhurra—America’s Troubled Effort to Win Middle East Hearts and Minds

(excerpt from longer artical)…
Alhurra has not come close to realizing the Bush Administration’s hope that it would someday compete with Al Jazeera, the most-watched station in the Middle East. According to six years of polling by Zogby and the University of Maryland, Al Jazeera remains the favored channel for news for more than 50 percent of Middle East viewers.

Photo courtesy of 60 Minutes Shibley Telhami, a public opinion expert at the University of Maryland, said that about two percent of the audience rates Alhurra as their preferred source of news, about the same percentage that Hezbollah’s Al-Manar station receives.

Al Arabiya, another competitor launched a year before Alhurra, has a 9 percent slice of the audience. That station, which is funded by the Saudi government, has a budget considered to be comparable to Alhurra’s, and its coverage is generally welcomed by the Bush administration.

Alhurra has a separate broadcast for Iraq where its share of audience is larger. Still, Alhurra is the number four network in Iraq, behind Al Jazeera and two others. After four years on air, Telhami said, Alhurra’s impact on public opinion has been “less than zero.”

“For most people in the region,” he said “it’s not really on the radar screen.”

James Glassman, who replaced Hughes at the State Department, disagrees. He said government polling shows that even if Alhurra ranks low by percent, millions of people are still watching. He said that as many as 26 million — roughly 8.5 percent of the Arabic speaking population of the Middle East — tune into Alhurra for some period of time each week.

“Our idea with Alhurra was to create a network that provided high quality, professional journalism with American standards,” Glassman said. The aim, he said, was “balance, objectivity, which really did not exist in the Middle East.”

But William Rugh, the former ambassador who speaks Arabic and has written extensively on Arab media, said Al Jazeera’s coverage of the United States is more in-depth than Alhurra’s and he says the top-rated station covers issues and sparks debate in ways that Alhurra does not.

“Al Jazeera has a whole series of talk shows in which very sensitive, controversial issues are raised by the participants and they have women’s shows as well. They deal with short comings of various Arab governments way beyond what Alhurra does and it is shocking that in some ways, Al Jazeera has done better than Alhurra in covering the United States.”

A study due out next month by a University of Southern California team questions whether the network has achieved either objectivity or professionalism. The review was commissioned by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Alhurra.

Researchers involved in the project, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the BBG set tight parameters for the study, telling investigators to focus only on content aired on Alhurra’s pan-Arab station and not to compare it with broadcasts by competitors. Researchers were not allowed to interview Alhurra staff or to select the period of coverage to examine.

After reviewing broadcasts from the month of November, the USC team concluded that reporters and anchormen on Alhurra cited claims about Washington’s “war on terror” that were unsubstantiated, or not backed up by evidence, 30 percent of the time. The study found that personal opinion was often expressed on-air. Objectivity was rated low.

The researchers studied the network’s coverage of the three-day Mideast summit in Annapolis, Md. and found that it strongly favored U.S. and Israeli government positions. Throughout November, they concluded, the network also strongly supported the Iraqi government and was especially favorable to pro-Iranian political figures inside Iraq.

At round-table discussions held in Egypt and Lebanon, audiences gave Alhurra low marks. In Cairo, participants laughed after watching clips, researchers said. The viewers pointed out that Alhurra programs included poor translations. They said it was difficult to understand the Lebanese accents of some hosts and reporters and they noted embarrassing misspellings, including the word “Syria.”

Conniff said he and his staff have worked hard to improve the station’s quality. Alhurra has made election coverage a specialty area and offers programming on women’s issues, American culture and blue jeans.

A recent report by the State Department’s Inspector General noted that Alhurra now has a functioning assignment desk, holds regular editorial meetings and has hosted mini-training sessions with journalism professors.

But the IG also cast doubt on claims by Nassif, the news director, that he alone is able to oversee the content of Alhurra’s three 24-hour broadcasts, and Sawa’s two radio services. Nassif told inspectors and reporters from ProPublica and 60 Minutes that he approves every guest for every show and is available 24-hours a day.

Photo courtesy of 60 Minutes Glassman, the Undersecretary of State who was chairman of the BBG for the last six months, said U.S. taxpayers are right to be concerned about Alhurra. “We’ve made mistakes and we will and have rectified them.”

However, he said Alhurra was delivering high-quality programming to a “part of the world that’s absolutely critical to American interests, that is not hearing and seeing this kind of broadcasting right now. And it makes the world safer, I believe, that we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Glassman, who was initially skeptical of Alhurra, added another thought.

“It wouldn’t be bad if we got put out of business. That is to say, if the Arab world’s own media became so good as, let’s say, the media in Poland did after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Now, is that going to happen in five years? I kind of doubt it. But it’s certainly possible.”

Robert Lewis contributed research to this story.

(excerpt from longer artical)

Ref: Propublica

This is what IMPERIALISM the AMERICAN WAY broadcasted from VIRGINIA
looks and smells like folks!
Stupied self occupied americans think that if only “the Other” consume, dress in jeans
and love fat the way they love fat there will be no hostility towards them. That is, with
the arabs occupied in conusmerism the americans can keep extracting the black gold.
Biznes as usual!

And what is american standard? American journalism sucks! This last colonial war is
a good example of journalists looking the other way or suck the goverment. And how about
the objectivity of american journalism and TV stations?! Hahahah what a joke! They
who know nothing about the world or themselves believe that know everything.

: a