In a recent address to the Ariel Conference on Law and Mass Media, Melanie Phillips criticised the failure of Israel’s Public Diplomacy (hasbara) and outlined why the thrust of hasbara has been wrong and how it should be conducted.
Later, on Israeli TV, she laid into hasbara as being ‘a joke’ and you can see the interview in the video clip above.
If you want to see the full text of her address I urge you to visit her website where the full text can be found at http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=789
Melanie makes connections between the progress of political Islam, antisemitism in the West and the Muslim world, far Left political discourse and the failure of western civilisation to defend itself against attack by forces inimical to it.
For Melanie, the defence of an imperfect Israel is critical to the defence of western, and therefore, Christian civilisation.
Israel is the redoubt of western democracy.
As former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar has said, if Israel falls western democracies will not be far behind.
All this is covered in great detail in her latest book ‘The World Turned Upside Down’.
Melanie outlines the ways that the attack can be taken to the anti-Zionists and how those who remain rational and outside any particular ideology and who have been fed lies about Israel can be educated.
Israel and its defenders have been fighting on the wrong battleground: the one that has been chosen by its enemies. The Arabs brilliantly reconfigured the Arab war of extermination against Israel as the oppression by Israel of the Palestinians.
That has transformed Israel from victim to aggressor — the reversal of reality which lies at the very heart of the western obsession with the ‘settlements’ and the territories.
Yet since Oslo, Israel has meekly gone along with this mad pressure. It has never said it is totally unconscionable. It has never put the all-important argument from justice on its own account. So it has allowed its enemies to appropriate this argument mendaciously as their own. But if Israel doesn’t make the case properly on its own behalf, how can anyone else do so?
To which Israel says realpolitik dictates it has to go along with the diplomatic game being played. But diplomatic realpolitik is what brought us all to this position — the brink of a terrible war with Iran which is treated by America with kid gloves while Israel is put under the cosh.…..
What Israel has failed to recognise is that the battleground on which it is being forced to fight is not just military. It is also a battleground of the mind, and the strategy being used against it – and to which it needs to respond in kind — is psychological warfare.
The fact remains that both Israel and diaspora Jews have to rethink. They have to realise they must start fighting on the battleground where the attack is actually being mounted against them. And the goal has to be to seize and retake the moral high ground.
Israel’s behaviour is due to the widespread belief that its very existence is an aberration which, although understandable at the time it came into being, was a historic mistake.
People believe that Israel was created as a way of redeeming Holocaust guilt. Accordingly, they believe that European Jews with no previous connection to Palestine — which they believe was the historic homeland of Palestinian Muslims who had lived there since time immemorial — were transplanted there as foreign invaders, from where they drove out the indigenous Arabs into the West Bank and Gaza. These are territories which Israel is now occupying illegally oppressing the Palestinians and frustrating the creation of a state of Palestine which would end the conflict.Of course every one of those assumptions is false. But from those false assumptions proceeds the understandable belief not just that Israel’s behaviour is unjust, illegal and oppressive but that it is unjust and oppressive by virtue of its very existence.For these people there is an urgent need for a proactive educational approach. No-one has ever told them that these beliefs are false – and when they are told, the effect is often transformative.
… there is no point arguing with them. They are, by definition, beyond all reason. Their influence simply has to be destroyed. They have to be held to account for their lies and bigotry which should be forensically exposed.
So Israel and its defenders should be demanding of the world why it expects Israel alone to make compromises with people who have tried for nine decades to wipe out the Jewish presence in the land and are still firing rockets at it.
They should expose the pretence of Britain or European countries which claim to have Israel’s security needs at heart but forbid it from using military means to defend itself
Israel and its defenders should be asking why so-called friends in the west want a Palestine state, since once the IDF depart the disputed territories they will become in short order yet another Iranian-backed Islamic terrorist entity which will pose a further threat not just to Israel but to the west.
They should be asking why the EU is continuing to fund the genocidal incitement against Jews promoted by the Palestine Authority.
They should be asking so-called ‘progressives’ – including Jewish ‘progressives’ — why they support the racist ethnic cleansing of every Jew from a future state of Palestine.
They should be asking them why they are not marching against Hamas on account of its tyrannical oppression of Palestinians in Gaza. Why they are ignoring Arab and Muslim persecution of women and homosexuals.
Why they are not mounting a boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Mahmoud Abbas’s PA and Hamas, on account of Abbas’s Holocaust denial and the clear evidence of continuation of Nazi Jew-hatred in a direct line of descent from predecessors who were Hitler’s supporters in Palestine.
As for western Israel-bashers, Israel and its defenders should accuse them not of Jew-hating motives that cannot be proved but of absurdities and contradictions and untruths they cannot deny. They should ridicule them, humiliate them, destroy their reputations; boycott them, not invite them to social gatherings, show them disapproval and contempt. Treat them as pariahs. Turn their own weapons against them.
They should be telling the Jews ‘own story of refugees and ethnic cleansing – the 800,000 Jews driven out of Arab lands after 1948 ….
They should be holding Arab and Islamic democracy weeks on campus, to expose the oppression and persecution within that world against women, homosexuals and others.
They should be singling out the Anglican church and the revival of ancient theological Jew-hatred being spread within the Anglican world by the Palestinian Christians of the Sabeel centre.
At the same time, they should be focusing on their true friends within the Christian world, not just in America but also in Africa and Asia where there is an enormous reservoir of goodwill towards Israel which could be mobilised into a global fighting force.
They should be campaigning against the UN and the hijacking of international law and human rights by anti-western, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian ideologues.
They should be confronting head-on the false claim that bigotry is confined to the right. They should be pointing the finger at the ‘progressive’ left to show how it is actually supporting the mortal enemies not just of Israel but the west.
And they should be making this case to Israelis themselves, to counter the delegitimisation and ignorance in Israeli universities and to educate the Israeli young in their own national history.
For me, much of this is already mainstream hasbara in the blogosphere. It hasn’t worked. What is needed is action at higher levels and with better organisation. Activists, educators, academics, journalists need to have their energies combined and co-ordinated. It is especially effective when non-Jewish and especially Arab and Muslim supporters of Israel take concerted action.
Some of what Melanie demands of governments or progressives will never happen because of the closed minds she has already ascribed to them.
Turning the tide of irrational hatred will not be easy. Being proactive instead of reactive is also difficult. The sheer intensity of the attack on Israel requires responses. Such attacks cannot be given a free pass. So much is put into the defence it hard to mount an attack.
In fact, the mere act of attempting a large-scale counter-offensive will soon be characterised as an Israel or Jewish lobby or evidence of worldwide malign Jewish influence.
Nevertheless, in principle, Melanie is 100% right. The trick, as it were, is how to organise and how to choose targets. It’s often a numbers game and, sadly, can often come down to finances. Such political campaigns – because that is essentially what we are talking about on a global scale – can be very expensive to carry out.
I’ll be interested , in the coming weeks and months, to see if this call to action can be met with any truly organised and targeted response by supporters of Israel.