Blood and and discarded belongings are left behind at a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Israeli tank shells hit the compound, killing more than a dozen people and wounding dozens more who were seeking shelter.
(AP Photo/Adel Hana)
(AP Photo/Adel Hana)
"Propaganda by its very nature is an enterprise for perverting the significance of events and of insinuating false intentions...The propagandist will not accuse the enemy of just any misdeed; he will accuse him of the very intention that he himself has and of trying to commit the very crime that he himself is about to commit. He who wants to provoke a war not only proclaims his own peaceful intentions but also accuses the other party of provocation."
- Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, 1965
As Israeli war crimes continue unabated - at the time of this writing, nearly 1100 human beings in the besieged Gaza Strip, the vast majority of whom are civilians, have already been slaughtered by their occupiers; over 6,200 have been wounded - Israeli lies too keep piling up.
Despite what Israeli spokespeople and their dutiful, compliant, and prostrate puppets in the media continue to claim, Hamas was not responsible for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers last month. Hamas did not break the 2012 ceasefire, Israel did. Hamas is not forcing Palestinians to act as "human shields." Israel is not acting in self-defense when it bombs hospitals, schools, ambulances, mosques, homes, refugee camps, parks, or a zoo. The "terror tunnels" which Israel apparently needs to murder hundreds and hundreds of men, women, and children in order to destroy pose essentially no threat whatsoever to Israeli civilians. The list goes on and on.
Gaza's Shifa Hospital hit by an Israeli strike, July 28, 2014
Israel's ongoing massacre cannot continue without a steady barrage of hasbara - what Zionists, in their Orwellian glory, refer to as "public diplomacy," but which is merely propaganda to justify the indefensible, inexcusable, and unspeakable. That is, the promotion of a 19th century, colonial European ideology of ethnic, religious, and racial superiority, imposed upon an indigenous population through military conquest and a campaign of ethnic cleansing, displacement, dispossession, disenfranchisement, and discrimination.
And yet, though mainstream media outlets are suffused with pro-Israel bias and Israel has legions of willing propagandists trolling the internet to spread Netanyahu's latest talking points, we have heard - especially as the Palestinian death toll keeps rising - that Israel and its advocates are "losing the media war." Politico, Mashable, New York Magazine, analyst Juan Cole, and Britain's Channel 4 have all noted this.
Even the Telegraph's detestable, neoconservative "Defence Editor" Con Coughlin is worried for Israel's image, writing that, "with so much focus on the Palestinian victims of this dreadful conflict, it is hard to see how Israel can turn the propaganda war around in its favour." Coughlin laments, "I fear the answer is that it cannot."
Similarly, in a conversation via Twitter with a spokesman at the Israeli Embassy, Washington Post White House correspondent Scott Wilson was fretful that the Israeli slaughter in Gaza might not be "good for Israel - strategically." For Wilson, as for so many others, Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity are simply image problems, a matter of PR.
Without its propaganda, Israel cannot sustain the support of its benefactors, whether in the war chests of Congress or the war cries of brainwashed and bloodthirsty communities. Without its lies, Israel can't survive. This fact is known not only to professional hasbarists like Michael Oren, Dore Gold, and Mark Regev, but - more importantly - is a vital feature of Zionism, inseparable from the ideology itself.
Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland, 1897.
In a little known and rarely-referenced letter written in early 1897, Theodor Herzl, the ostensible founder of political Zionism, made this perfectly clear. During the planning stages of the First Zionist Congress - initially to take place in Munich but eventually held in Basel, Switzerland in late August 1897 - Herzl contacted Willy Bambus, leader of the Berlin Hovevei Zion society (an early Zionist organization committed to Jewish immigration and agricultural settlement in Palestine), for support.
"I want to reach an understanding with the Berlin Zionists," Herzl wrote from Vienna on January 26, 1897. "[I]n the general Zionist conference that I am planning for next summer, we will grow closer to each other." The letter is written in German, Herzl's first language.
Herzl's dream was big and he knew what he needed to achieve it:
But a project of this sort... has one prior condition: propaganda. First we must have propaganda and afterward establish economic projects... [T]ry to win influence at a Berlin daily newspaper... There is no necessity to immediately give the newspaper a Zionist imprint. On the contrary, because of the cowardly suspicions (to my sorrow, of most of the Jews) of Zionism, it would be wiser to keep things innocent... Perhaps you can... purchase a Zionist paper in Berlin, that will not be outwardly noticed as such.Friendly media coverage? Feigned innocence and impartiality? Sounds familiar.
"Until now Zionism has been silent," Herzl wrote Bambus. "We must free its tongue. This is the first order of business."
Those tongues of Zionism have since wrought over a century of pain and suffering, in the name of entitlement and privilege, to the people of Palestine. It is time to drown out the propaganda with truth.
The final page of Theodor Herzl's handwritten letter to Willy Bambus, January 26, 1897