Defeating Anti- Israel Propaganda: A Guide. As Presented By:

March 19, 2017 | Author: Reynold Shaw | Category: N/A
Share Embed Donate

Short Description

Download Defeating Anti- Israel Propaganda: A Guide. As Presented By:...


Defeating AntiIsrael Propaganda: A Guide As Presented By:

Table of Contents Introduction


Deciding Whether to Respond to Anti- Israel Propaganda


Deciding Whether to Respond: A Flow Chart


Messaging 101


Most Likely Scenarios


Questions for anti-Israel Propagandists


AIP vs. Anti-Semitism: Know Your Rights


“Communicating Effectively for Israel” Booklet



Introduction Successful campus advocacy for Israel is predicated on proactively communicating positive messages about Israel, building relationships with important members of the campus community, and maintaining an educated and enduring pro-Israel movement. Often these efforts are not worth straying from in order to directly counter anti-Israel propaganda (AIP). Yet there are times when the intensity and potential impact of antiIsrael propaganda is such that it must be directly countered. In cases where AIP must be countered, it is crucial to have a thoughtful strategy, foresee potential obstacles, and conduct adequate preparation. Israel advocates must focus on communicating core pro-Israel messages rather than responding to false claims. The goal should not be to persuade the anti-Israel propagandists, but rather to engage the numerous undecided individuals, referred to in this document as “the 90%.” Additionally, utilize AIP as an opportunity to recruit new members to the Israel movement, and to make a positive and sympathetic impression for Israel.


Deciding Whether to Respond to Anti-Israel Propaganda (AIP) Consider whether the particular event or initiative is likely to make an impact on campus by asking the following: Is the event/initiative being well-organized and publicized enough to reach the 90% (i.e. people who do not already agree with the organizers)? Determine the answer to this question by consulting with allies in diverse communities on campus, and examining how widely and engagingly the event is being publicized. Is the message clear and credible enough to be damaging to the perception of Israel? Can the Israel movement respond without being sidetracked from their proactive agenda? Does the Israel movement know how to respond properly – i.e. with a clear and persuasive message, and as a dignified, united group? If the answer to all 4 of these questions is yes, then the AIP merits a response. (Utilize the “AIP Flow Chart” to determine.) Devising a Strategy Generally, a response to AIP should be limited to behind-the-scenes efforts where at all possible, so as not to draw any more attention to the claims of the anti-Israel propagandists than necessary. Fortifying relationships with student government and coalition partners, communicating with university administration, and engaging campus media can all be done privately. Public pro-Israel displays or op-eds can indirectly address the AIP by focusing on proactive core messages. (See “Messaging 101” below.) Only when an event or initiative is already receiving a high amount of publicity and credibility should there be a public response. Focus counter-efforts on arenas where AIP is having impact, yet maintain past success in other arenas. For instance, a series of negative op-eds in the campus paper may require positive op-eds in response, but might also need to be accompanied by reassuring calls to coalition partners. Ensure that the spokespeople for the Israel group are diplomatic and able to stay on message. Make it clear that these are the official and exclusive representatives of the group. (See “Don’t Respond Reactively” section of “Messaging 101” below.) 4|Page

Wherever possible, use preexisting relationships with campus allies to publicly communicate your message. Use “Most Likely Scenarios” guide to determine the response for a specific event.


Circumstantial Obstacles It is important to recognize and prepare for some of the circumstantial obstacles that often arise when countering AIP, including tensions within the Israel movement. ●

Urgency: decisions regarding how to handle AIP often need to be made quickly. That is why it is important to have a strategy already in place. Dividedness: The entire Israel movement may not agree on whether AIP merits a response, or what the response should be. Bring leaders together to discuss whether the AIP merits a response. Explain the rationale and methodology behind the intended approach. Be firm and persuasive, yet empathetic. If individuals still do not agree with the preferred approach, persuade them that it will be damaging to show lack of unity. If they insist on going forward with a different approach, try to marginalize their visibility without directly attacking them. Most importantly, make sure everyone who is assisting in the effort is on message, calm, and confident. High Emotions: Some more confrontational members of the Israel group may seek aggressive means to deal with the situation. Be the rational voice that convinces everyone to respond appropriately, and keep those who are incapable of doing so away. Identify these individuals before anti-Israel propaganda arises. Fear of Confrontation: Conversely, non-confrontational people may seek to avoid responding at all costs. Be sure to provide proper training and messaging to all Israel group members, as well as strong coalition partners. Place most confident and articulate members at the forefront of your efforts, and give others behindthe-scenes opportunities to make meaningful contributions. (See “Messaging 101“handout and bring Hasbara Fellowships staff to campus for a messaging workshop.) Pressure from Jewish professionals or community members: Be prepared to explain and defend your approach to well-intentioned supporters who may disagree. Send an email explaining your approach and requesting their respect and support. Remind them that public disunity and intervention from nonstudents generally has a negative impact. External factors: Consider how eternal factors like current events or campus climate may affect your efforts.


Deciding Whether to Respond to Anti-Israel Propaganda Points to Consider Deciding Whether to Respond to AIP: A Flow Chart: 1. Is the AIP being well-organized and publicized enough to reach the 90% (i.e. people who do not already agree with the organizers)? Tips for figuring this out: - Examine publicity for the event by checking Facebook, flyers, news coverage, and tabling. - See if other prominent organizations are co-sponsoring. - If it will not negatively affect the relationship, consult coalition partners and allies in diverse communities about whether they have heard anything.

2. Is the message clear and credible enough to be damaging to the perception of Israel? Tips for figuring this out: - Is the speaker reputable? - Is the topic interesting, and not far-fetched? - Are the organizers framing the event in a way that will resonate with the 90%?

If the answer to ALL of these questions is Yes: Time to implement your counter strategy! Follow the primer guidelines, and contact your Hasbara Fellowships professionals for help.

3. Can the Israel movement respond without being sidetracked from their proactive agenda? Tips for figuring this out: - What proactive initiatives are underway, and how much time and manpower do they require? Will responding to the AIP interfere with successfully accomplishing these initiatives? - Is a proactive event happening around the same time? Will responding to the AIP take attention away? -

4. Does the Israel movement know how to respond properly – i.e. with a clear and persuasive message, and as a dignified, united group? Tips for figuring this out: - Is the Israel group educated about best messages? If not, is there enough time to train them? - Is there unity within the Israel group and its supporters? Can everyone maintain calm and command sympathy while responding?

If the answer to ANY of these questions is No: It would likely be counter-productive to respond. Sit this round out and focus on your proactive efforts.

Messaging 101 Most AIP will fall into 3 categories: occupation, excessive force, racism. Do not respond directly to the claim; instead, first identify the claim, then communicate the correlating core message.

As a response to: 1. Occupation

The 3 core messages: 1. Israelis want peace (and have shown willingness to compromise/sacrifice)

2. Excessive force

2. Israel needs a partner for peace (facing lack of willing Palestinian leadership, terrorist threats, nuclear Iran)

3. Racism/Apartheid

3. Israel is a democracy and model of human rights (as well as moral and a Western ally)

Use the ABC method to deliver the message Answer: as quickly as possible, providing a very brief fact or example only if necessary Bridge: use a bridging phrase to move to your message Communicate: the proactive message and supporting facts

* Bridging Phrase Examples That’s not the issue, the issue is… The fact is…. Let’s look at the facts on the ground... Let me share a story with you… The real question is… There is suffering on both sides….

The key to a successful strategy is controlling the issues. The goal is not to ‘win’ the debate through facts and figures, but to refocus the discussion on the right subjects. Show empathy, but do not apologize for unsubstantiated claims. Communicate the human face of the Israeli people through stories and examples. Mention Israel’s vulnerability as a tiny country surrounded by enemies. Stay positive. Focus on raising the perception of Israel, not putting down the Palestinians. Use conditionals (ex. “If Hamas would acknowledge Israel and stop terrorism, we could have peace…”), convey principles (ex. “As a matter of principles, children should not be taught to kill…”), express hope for a better future. Do not let Israel’s right to exist be called into question. If someone is denying the right of Jews to self-determination in their ancestral homeland, that crosses the line from criticism to de-legitimization. Point out to those listening that denying the Jewish right to self-determination, among all nations of the world, is anti-Semitism and is the obstacle to peace.

Don’t Respond Reactively Curb the instinct to respond directly or use the terminology of the accuser. For example, do not write an op-ed about how Israel is NOT an apartheid state. Instead, write about how Israel IS a democracy. Do not articulate the specific accusation that is being responded to, and do not repeat negative terminology. Terminology Tips Instead of “occupied” territories ⇨ disputed Instead of “settlements” ⇨ neighborhoods Instead of “wall” ⇨ security fence Instead of “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” ⇨ Arab-Israeli conflict Instead of “1967 borders” ⇨ 1949 armistice lines Instead of “2nd Lebanon War” ⇨ Hezbollah War Instead of “Hamas,” “Hezbollah” ⇨ “Iranian-backed Hamas,” “Iranian-backed Hezbollah” Never use the words “apartheid” or “occupation.” Respond to the accusation without repeating the term, and then bridge as quickly as possible to your message. Distinguish between Palestinians (Arab living in autonomous Palestinian governed territories) and Israeli Arabs (Arab living in Israel with citizenship and equal rights). Additional Messaging Education and Training “Step Up For Israel” training film (20 minutes) Hasbara Fellowships activism training in Israel Hasbara Fellowships campus workshops: Communicating Effectively for Israel, Answering the Most Difficult Questions About Israel, Intensive Role Playing “Communicating Effectively for Israel” instructional pamphlet (see Appendix)


Most Likely Scenarios Below are some tips on how to deal directly with likely scenarios. However, it is advised to first consider carefully whether an AIP event/initiative merits a direct response, and whether that response can be executed effectively. Remember that the goal is not to change the mind of the anti-Israel propagandists, but to engage the 90%. Any AIP There are certain strategies which can be applied in any case of AIP: Determine whether the AIP is in violation of university of student government rules. Many universities have regulations regarding publicity, number of people allowed, food, selling items or fundraising. Displays that block walkways, utilize chalking, or otherwise cause hazards are also often against the rules. Notify administration, security and student government. Video or record the AIP in case of hate speech or harassment that may need to be reported to authorities or watchdog organizations. This footage can also be used to discourage future student government funding. If an exchange between members of the pro- and anti-Israel movements occurs, and the pro-Israel students are trained and on-message, the footage can also be used for educational or advocacy purposes. If media is present, approach them and request the opportunity to give an opposing viewpoint. Keep your quotes limited to the core messages. Turn adversity into opportunity. Anti-Israel propaganda often galvanizes supporters of Israel who have previously not been involved to take action. If you see someone standing up for Israel who is not already part of the Israel group, recruit them. Be sure to give these individuals proper guidance so that the united and on-message strategy is not jeopardized. Speaker or Panel Discussion Focus on attendees who may be in the 90% - hand out countering information, engage people in 1-on-1 conversation, etc. Only educated and articulate group members should directly question the speaker. Do not be drawn into an argument with the speaker about the specific allegations he/she is making. Instead, ask questions that communicate the core messages and draw out the radicalness of the speaker (see “Questions for anti-Israel Propagandists”).

10 | P a g e

If the speaker receives significant media attention, write an op-ed with a pro-Israel message that counters the anti-Israel message, and have coalition partners denounce the speaker.

Guerilla Theater (ex. ‘Apartheid’ wall, die-in, vigil, etc.) Focus on passersby who may be in the 90% - hand out countering information near the display, engage people in 1-on-1 conversation, etc. Try to make the AIP organizers look forceful and hostile, while the pro-Israel movement looks sincere, moderate and calm. Consider a creative visual approach – T-shirts, posters – if you think it will be effective and not alienating. For example, create posters that look like they are part of the opposition’s display, but actually communicate your message. (Ex. If the opposition erects checkpoints, create a sign that reads “Caused by Hamas terrorism.”) Create a counter-display. Use Hasbara Fellowships campaign materials, and Israeli and American flags. Op-ed or Article Ask the newspaper for an equal opportunity to respond (i.e. if they got an op-ed, you deserve op-ed space). However, make sure your ‘response’ gives very little space to their argument, and focuses instead on the core messages. Simultaneously ask the Israel group members and campus allies to write letters or op-eds supporting Israel. Ask Hasbara Fellowships staff for feedback on your op-ed before it is submitted. Employ the Hasbara Fellowships “Engaging Campus Media” strategy as a long-term means of ensuring positive media coverage. Week-long Series of Events Hold a week-long series of events in advance, such as Israel Peace Week, in order to preemptively communicate the core messages. Conduct a large-scale gathering, such as a rally or Shabbat dinner, for people to express their solidarity with Israel. Write an op-ed with a pro-Israel message that counters the anti-Israel message. Reach out to campus allies and reassure them that their support of Israel is merited.

11 | P a g e

Anti-Israel Professors Determine whether the professor holds a deep-seated bias or is amenable to a balanced approach. Offer an alternative perspective in class by respectfully asking challenging questions. (use “Questions for anti-Israel Propagandists”). If this method does not work, approach him/her after to discuss your concerns. If the professor is unwilling to allow an alternate view, bring your concerns to the department head or ombudsman. If necessary, enlist the support of your academic affairs professional at the Israeli consulate or Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. If speaking up begins to affect your grade, consult FIRE ( or the American Civil Liberties Union. Build relationships with your classmates and look for opportunities to educate them with your core messages and supporting facts. Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions Campaign Consult the BDS Cookbook in order to develop a comprehensive strategy and receive expert support. Communicate the message that BDS is a divisive campaign aimed at stifling dialog, that it alienates members of the student body, and that is it based on false claims about Israel. Utilize relationships with student government, coalition groups, university officials, and media to defeat this campaign. Conduct a “Buycott” campaign, encouraging supporters of Israel to buy Israeli goods. Highlight technology that was developed in Israel by labeling it with “Developed in Israel” stickers. Defamatory or anti-Semitic Events (Harassment, graffiti, etc.) Immediately report to campus security and file an official complaint with the university. Be as cooperative as possible to gain the support of the university administration. Use public space (social media, campus news, etc.) to show that the AIP movement is forceful and hateful, while the pro-Israel movement is peaceful and moderate. 12 | P a g e

Questions for Anti-Israel Propagandists These questions re-frame the conversation by communicating the core messages about Israel, and drawing out the radicalness of anti-Israel speakers. Peace In 2000 Israel offered 97% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza strip to the Palestinians in exchange for peace, and they didn’t even make a counter offer. How can Israel make peace if the Palestinian leadership cannot compromise? Jews have had a presence in the land of Israel for over 3,000 years, longer than any other group, but they still recognize the right of Palestinians to their own self-determination. That is why Israel has supported the two-state solution since 1947. Why can’t the Palestinian leadership recognize that both peoples deserve peace and security? Do you find it problematic that 34 Muslim countries have not recognized Israel’s right to exist? Israel wants peace, but how can there be peace without recognition? Israel has over a million Muslim citizens, so why can’t there be Jewish citizens of a future Palestinian state? Why is it a pre-requisite that every single Jew leave the West Bank for the Palestinians to even being discussing peace with Israel? No Partner Every time Israel gives up land, it seems like they receive terror in return. For instance, Israel withdrew from Gaza, but Hamas has launched thousands of rockets toward Israeli civilians since then. Israelis want to give land for peace, but how can they ensure their security? Israelis want peace, but with whom should Israel negotiate? The PLO charter clearly states the group’s intention to “drive the Jews to the sea.” The Hamas charter advocates terrorism against Jews. Israelis want peace, but they are not convinced they have a responsible partner. Why does Palestinian TV and textbooks glorify suicide bombers? As a matter of principle, I don’t believe children should be taught to take their own lives or the lives of others. The Israeli army goes out of its way to protect civilians on both sides, sending warnings directly to Palestinians when they have to enter a space to root out terrorists. Hamas, on the other hand, directly targets and wants to kill innocent women and children. How can you equate the Israeli self-defense with Hamas terror? 13 | P a g e

Israel faces threats on its borders – Hamas rocket attacks in the south, Hezbollah in the north, not to mention Iran’s threats to wipe Israel off the map. Israel’s safest front is the disputed territories, where it can maintain security. How do you recommend Israel ensure the safety its citizens without proper defense? Israel is a tiny country, the size of New Jersey and home to only 7 million people. It is surrounded by 21 Arab nations with a population 650 times greater – and they don’t recognize Israel’s rights to exist. Don’t you all of these countries recognizing tiny Israel would be a good start to making peace? Democracy/Human Rights How do explain the numerous polls which show Arabs in Israel would rather live under Israeli democracy than an eventual Palestinian state? You seem to have neglected to mention that over a million Arab Muslims live in Israel and have citizenship, freedom and civil rights. Israeli society is not perfect, but it is democratic. Do you think it’s fair to only give the audience one side of the story? Why is there so much terror against Christians and other religious minorities in other Middle East countries while their brethren are flourishing in Israel?

14 | P a g e

Anti-Israel Propaganda vs. Anti-Semitism: Know your Rights Your university has guidelines that protect you and your beliefs. Familiarize yourself with rules about public displays, protests, hate speech, postings, and noise. Does the AIP violate any of these guidelines? Report violations to administration. Know the difference between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity, and notify the campus authorities and the anti-Defamation League if AIP crosses the line. Document AIP with a camera or recording device. “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or nonJewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity.” -

Working definition of anti-Semitism by the European Union

Contemporary examples include, but are not limited to: Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective - such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust). Examples of how anti-Semitism manifests itself regarding Israel: Denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the State of Israel is a racist endeavor (de-legitimization). Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (ex. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel), to demonize Israel or Israelis. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis (ex. swastika imagery, genocide allegation). Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel (ex. Stars of David not accompanied by a blue line above and below, therefore symbolizing 15 | P a g e

Jews rather than Israel).

16 | P a g e

17 | P a g e

18 | P a g e

19 | P a g e

20 | P a g e

21 | P a g e

22 | P a g e

23 | P a g e

24 | P a g e

View more...


Copyright � 2017 SILO Inc.