The War Room Israel Needs

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The 1977 surprise victory of the Likud party over the establishment Labor party (in power since the founding of the State in 1948), presented an immediate need to create an Information Ministry. Menachem Begin, the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister was vilified by the U.S. media, with Time Magazine calling him “Fagan” and a “terrorist.” Begin asked a trusted colleague and friend, political commentator Shmuel Katz (a native of South Africa ) to head the new ministry. Begin, (the former leader of the Irgun underground that had fought the British mandatory forces in Palestine to secure the right of Jews to find refuge from Nazi occupied Europe in their ancestral home) had slated Moshe Dayan – the symbol of Israel’s victory in the Six Day War, as Foreign Minister.  Dayan gave Begin an ultimatum, either Information stays as a section in the Foreign Ministry or Begin should look for another Foreign Minister.  Begin relented.

In an August 16, 2001 Jerusalem Post piece, Shmuel Katz wrote: “To the aid of the Arabs have come a host of allies. Classic anti-Semitism- of course- now posing as ‘legitimate’ political anti-Zionism, but also a battery of the leading media in the world. Examples: The Times of London, Le Monde, the BBC, CNN, etc. In all of them there are regular distortions or suppression of news – so as to make the Arabs look good and the Jews look bad…Israel’s reply is exemplified by the opinions expressed by two foreign ministers, each in his time responsible for hasbara: Moshe Dayan, who said ‘We don’t need hasbara.  It is important what we do, not what we say,’ and Shimon Peres who believed that we shouldn’t trouble our heads with history.”

Katz pointed out that during the war Prime Minister Winston Churchill immediately tackled the problem of war information by appointing a Minister of Information over the protest of his Foreign Minister Anthony Eden.  According to Katz, Eden (like Dayan and Peres) did not realize that the Foreign Ministry is not specialized or equipped for the very inordinate task of war information.  “No country at war in our time,” according to Katz “can do without a separate department for information abroad – and Israel least of all.”

Katz saw the role of Israeli hasbara (Hebrew term for public relations and information) as one of not just “occasional sudden sallies,” but as a separate and permanent department in the government headed by a minister dedicated to this specific mission.  “He can have no other business, and in the debates at the cabinet table he must inject an appreciation of the impact of information.  His senior staff must maintain a 24-hour-a-day service, must be experts on all the subjects, which have a bearing on the dispute with the Arabs: Jewish history in Eretz Israel, Zionist history and the British Mandate, the history of Arab claims…”

As a result of the failures of Israeli hasbara, concomitant media coverage has resulted in negative perceptions of Israel resulting in, among other actions, calls for boycotts in Europe, especially in Britain and even in the U.S.

Israel’s hasbara has been scattered and ineffective.  Israel needs to recognize that there are military wars and communications wars. Israel needs a war room in every major country which will move into in an immediate response mode when necessary.  Experts from the world of marketing, PR firms, business, and academia must work together to forge a campaign that is not propagandist but educational and one which puts a face on Israel.  Competent individuals in the local languages rather than Israeli officers in military uniforms should serve as spokespeople.  And most of all Israel needs an effective and centralized Ministry of Information. 

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  • ziontruth

    The state of Israel was founded as an exclusive sanctuary for the Jews. The Marxist, post-nationalist Left is doctrinally opposed to the idea of the nation-exclusive state ("the state as its nation's castle," as I term it). Marxist ideas have leaked into today's discourse so deep that advocating a nation-exclusive state is a thoughtcrime.

    Conclusion? Israel's PR needs to focus, not on showing how Israel holds up to PC standards, but on de-Marxifying public opinion. It is time to tell the world that multiculturalism is the way to oblivion, and that a nation-exclusive state on a nation's indigenous territory is the right of every nation and, most importantly, the best safeguard against one nation doing genocide to another. Sane nationalism, against the bleak future promised by the proponents of the multi-culti, the Marxist and Islamic imperialists.

    And Israel's PR needs to insist on the truth that the Jewish people are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel. This is quite easy to do, but it requires that the "Palestinian nation" (the Arab settler-colonists of the Land of Israel masquerading as such) be repudiated for the fraud it is.

    There is work to be done on Israeli PR, and it must begin with the Jews themselves.

  • dailyalert

    In order to defend itself, Israel needs defensible borders: http://www.defensibleborders.org/security/

  • shlomo

    I see two fundamental issues: 1) Israel doesn't really understand how Americans think; 2) Israel doesn't listen. The first issue means that they consistently give the wrong message; the second issue means that they don't change the plan or message in the light of new information.

  • Jim Johnson

    When you are a victim every one is for you;but when you become strong enough to fight the tormentors and do then you must be the bad guy.

    Why?. Because you become a generalized threat and every one fears you in an imaginary way.

    Why do some people hate the US? The people that do have been victims in general and fear any one that is strong enough to give the appearance of a tormentor.

    People abstract fear of a specific person into the generalized fear of any one who has the attributes of the feared person. It's all neuroscience my dear Horatio .

  • ObamaYoMoma

    As long as you guys keep framing the conflict in the terms of Arabs fighting Jews or as a conflict between Arabs and Jews only, you guys will keep shooting yourself in the foot. For one thing, the conflict is not just a conflict between Arabs and Jews only. For another thing, it isn’t even a conflict. Instead it is a genocidal jihad of conquest being waged by the Dar al Islam, and that jihad, by the way, is permanent. Indeed, it will continue perpetually no matter how many peace agreements Israel is suckered or coerced into signing. .

    Therefore, instead of using the term Arabs, you guys should be using Muslims and instead of using the word conflict, you guys should be using jihad, because that is what it really is. Since it isn’t just Arabs alone that are waging jihad, it is the entire Islamic ummah (world community of Muslims), which consist far more than just Arabs alone. For instance, the Iranians are not Arabs; they are Persians. Hence, as long as you guys keep framing the issue wrong, you guys will keep shooting yourself in the foot.

    • Andres de Alamaya

      Bingo! A man with perspective! Right on! The ironic and very sad thing here is that Israel, the land of the Jews who provide the world with some of the most effective communicators is getting beat in PR by a bunch Neanderthal primitives.

  • bert

    Another problem is that Israel is led mostly by secularists who fear man (i.e. Obama) rather than G-d. Deuteronomy Chapter 28 makes it very clear. If Israel obeys the Torah then G-d will make them secure over their enemies. If they fail to obey the Torah then all manner of troubles will befall them. Israel's leaders never insist on their biblical rights because they do not believe in them. They are wheeler dealers who willing trade their Judaic heritage for a worthless piece of paper from their enemies. No wonder the Arabs hold these Jews in so much contempt.