The Palestinian Super Victims (JEWISH PRESS OP-ED) By:Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld 04/12/12)
JEWISH PRESS Articles-Index-Top
Last month the IDF responded to rockets being launched from Gaza into
southern Israel by bombing Gazan targets. It took little time for
some media outlets to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the
Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer for many other media
outlets to highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued
Palestinian aggression into the background.
Such distortions of the truth have to be seen in a much wider
context. The overall propaganda war against Israel includes frequent
falsifying of facts and many fallacious arguments. Among the latter
are the use of double standards, moral equivalence, distorted
analogies, and appeals to pity and poverty and so on.
Turning the Palestinian aggressor into the aggressed is a prime
example of how emotional appeals triumph over facts. Such appeals
have a prominent place in contemporary society. The poor are
considered victims, even if they are criminals. In the case of the
Palestinians, there is sympathy for them in many circles as
underdogs. This is not undone even by the fact that Hamas, the
largest political party they voted in, has genocidal intentions. Its
leaders declare this openly.
The Palestinians have understood for many years how to use
sentimental appeals as part of their overall propaganda strategy. In
this way, they mask the profound criminal ideologies that have long
permeated their society. Since one has to pose as a victim to benefit
from sentimental appeals to the world, the Palestinians have aimed to
become super victims. And if the Palestinians are super victims, then
Israelis can be presented as quintessentially evil.
The Palestinians’ sentimental appeals are not incidental but
systematic. Their greatest success was at the beginning of the second
intifada. The killing of Muhammad al Dura in 2000 was perceived
internationally as an Israeli crime. It is now known that the boy was
almost certainly killed by Palestinian fire.
There are many other examples of similar sentimental appeals. Israel
has constructed a fence, which at some points is a wall, to protect
itself against Palestinian suicide terrorists. The Palestinians’
friends abroad present this as a case of poor, oppressed Palestinians
being shut out by Israel arbitrarily. Pro-Palestinian politicians,
academics and media commentators calling for removal of “the wall”
present themselves as humanitarians. Yet in fact they are
facilitators of the future murder of Israeli civilians.
Israeli checkpoints are also in place to prevent murderous attacks by
Palestinians. But in the Palestinian propaganda machine they are just
another subject for sentimental appeals, hyped up further by the
emotional emphasis placed on the fact that even pregnant women are
subjected to checkpoints. As if Palestinian terrorists would hesitate
to dress up as pregnant women or even smuggle a bomb into Israel via
an expectant mother.
For years now the success of the Al Dura fallacy has seemed
unbeatable as the Palestinian sentimental appeal par excellence. (To
make matters worse, in an act of major stupidity the IDF apologized
incorrectly for killing Mohammed Al Dura before the facts were in.)
Coming close in terms of effectiveness was the fraudulent Gaza
flotilla, presented as a humanitarian aid effort. However, the Mavi
Marmara, the flotilla’s largest ship, carried no humanitarian aid.
Neither did two others. Some goods transported were for military
purposes. Other items included pharmaceuticals that had already
expired. Seven of the nine people killed on the Mavi Marmara had
declared their desire to die as martyrs before setting sail.
None of this was relevant for Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s
high representative for foreign policy and security affairs, or the
European and German parliaments, as well as many others who condemned
Israel. This despite the fact that Israel had the legal right to
uphold a blockade on Gaza and thus stop the ships. The international
reactions to the flotilla were a great victory of sentimental
Palestinian appeals over the legal rights of Israel.
The recurrent success of Palestinian propaganda should have alerted
the Israeli government long ago to the fact that such lies and
distortions are an integral and systematic part of Palestinian
strategy in the war against Israel. Israel should have analyzed many
years ago the impact of these appeals and formulated an effective
approach to counteract them.
Unfortunately, the precise nature of this process has escaped the
Israeli authorities. Some senior people in the government have even
told me that nothing can be done about the defamation of Israel.
The issue here is not that the Palestinians have won the propaganda
war and Israel has lost it. The problem is that the winner of the
propaganda war may ultimately defeat the winner of the physical war.
The fight against Palestinian disinformation is painstaking. It
cannot be resolved by isolated actions. It is a complex process that
requires money, time, multi-disciplinary teamwork, systematic
application of methodological analysis and management skills. It is a
hard road, but the horrible alternative is almost certain defeat. (©
2012 JewishPress. 04/12/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY