Both Israel and diaspora Jews have to stop playing defence and go onto the offence. Israel has nothing to be defensive about or for which it needs to apologise. It is the enemies of Israel who are promoting injustice and the denial of international law and human rights. Playing defence intrinsically cedes ground to the enemy.
For years, Israel has been playing a defensive diplomatic game, which suggests inescapably that it has a case to answer. Such diplomatic cringing has badly undermined it and hugely strengthened its enemies, who are taking advantage of such weakness over and over again.
I couple of weeks ago, I posted some lengthy comments by respected author Melanie Phillips. She is one of a growing number of voices who are sounding the alarm for Israel and its defenders to take the initiative against, as she so well puts it, “a total inversion of truth evidence and reason.”
In routine, everyday discourse history is turned on its head; logic is suspended; and an entirely false narrative is now widely accepted as unchallengeable fact. This has led to a kind of dialogue of the demented in which rational discussion is simply not possible…
For the west to suck up to its enemies while bashing its friends like this is the diplomatic version of auto-immune disease. And eventually this disease will kill it…
If you need an example of a false narrative being presented as fact, just look at Hassan Ali’s comment to my post of December 9th. Or this list of perversion after perversion, going back several years (including an incredibly inventive narrative of how the Kotel is not actually the Kotel—thanks RubinReports!). In any event, please do read Phillips’ essay The challenge of public diplomacy vis-a-vis the delegitimisation of Israel. At first I considered pulling out a few of her more striking points, but there are so many that I’d just end up reposting the entire article. My main point here is to call attention again to the glaring need, and thankfully the beginnings of a willingness to stand up and fight.
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Another fighter whom I’ve often quoted is Caroline Glick. She also gets some hits in on this issue, pointing out that it’s not just words, it’s warfare:
Information warfare is not simply a question of competing narratives, as it is often characterized in the West. Information war is a form of warfare whose aim is to use words, symbols and images to force people to take real action. These actions can involve everything from war to terrorism to surrender…
On May 8, 2001, a group of Palestinians from a village adjacent to the Israeli community of Tekoa in Gush Etzion got their hands on two Jewish children, Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran, from Tekoa. The two boys were bludgeoned to death with stones. The details of the butchery are unspeakable. The question is, what can make human beings butcher children? How can a person hurt a child the way that their killers hurt them? The answer is Palestinian television.
Glick goes on to outline how PA-TV is used for around the clock incitement, using doctored footage and other methods of deception.
The immediate context of Glick’s Jerusalem Post article is Hezbollah’s very real threat of a shooting war, dependent on the outcome of the Hariri assassination investigation. She uses this to underscore, as she concludes, that:
…information wars are not just about getting out the facts. Like kinetic warfare, they involve power plays, intimidation and the use of subconscious and visceral manipulation.
Israel has recently awoken to one aspect of information warfare. It has recognized the consequences of years of demonization of Israel in Europe and international organizations. But Israel has yet to awaken to the fact that it is a type of warfare and has to be countered with counter-information warfare.
Obviously this doesn’t mean that Israel should begin acting like its enemies. But what it does mean is that Israel must begin using more hard-knuckle techniques to defend itself. It must begin targeting people’s emotions as well has their minds.
For instance, when Israel is confronted by threats of lawsuits for acts of self-defense, it responds with defense attorneys… When Israel is accused of targeting Palestinian civilians, it responds by attaching legal advisers to combat units. What it should be doing instead is providing video footage of Palestinian children being trained as terrorists and exploited as human shields.
War is a dirty business. Information warfare is a dirty form of war. And if we don’t want to lose, we’d better start fighting.
I think we’ll be hearing more of this sort of thing in the near future. At least I hope so.