The Al Jazeera Funeral and Pro-Israel Activism's "Shande" Problem

Otherwise known as, "Why Hasbara Fails".

Hasbara is a defensive mode. It's based on an effort to counter a smear campaign to make Israel look like the bad guy by instead explaining that Israelis are the good guys. Rather than offering a meaningful offense, it's a defense that collapses because of the insecurities of the folks making the argument because the moment an account of an incident, a photo or video, looks bad for Israel, these people go into circular firing squad mode.

That's what happened with the Al Jazeera funeral. Suddenly my timeline was full of recriminations and whining. A day later, the obvious truths came to light, that this was a staged provocation, carried out against even the wishes of the family, and that was intended to produce a scene of Israeli police attacking a funeral by baiting them into a confrontation.

No real surprise here on either side.

This is another episode in a game that's been played by the same stupid rules for decades now. 

My point isn't to recapitulate all of that. By now even the mainstream media is reporting what actually happened at the funeral, but by now the video videos have done their damage and no one, except pro-Israel activists, will care about the details.

My point is that hasbara and its exponents are unreliable, that they fold when things don't look good because they're driven by their insecurities. This time Israel was in the right, but what happens when Israel is in the wrong, as all countries sometimes are? We've already seen what that pathetic spectacle looks like.

This is a war. The individual battles matter, but when you lose sight of the war and think only in terms of each battle, then you've lost.

That's true in both military and moral terms.

You don't just side with someone based on every single thing he does, but on the bigger picture, because no one is perfect. So too with a country or cause. When you need someone or something to be perfect, then you're really using them to shore up your insecurities and you'll abandon them in a moment when they turn out not to be perfect.


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