Israel Is Losing The PR War. Here’s Why I Don’t Think That’s A Bad Thing.
The delusion of being able to combat blind hatred of Israel with the truth is being shown up right now for what it is
(Crossposted from another network)
JADE is a popular acronym in wellness circles.
I encountered it recently when learning about cyberabuse and bullying.
It encourages those being targeted for abuse not to justify, argue, defend, or explain themselves to their attackers. “Don’t feed the trolls” is a spin on the same concept.
I spent too many hours last night being infuriated by the Irish media and Twittersphere and the usual barrage of venomous hatred and mistruths being spewed towards Israel.
There’s a sense here in Israel that we’re losing the PR war.
Judging by the online battlefields — particularly Twitter — I would say that that’s accurate. We truly are. But I’m not sad about that.
The common response to this observation — that Israel is getting its reputation destroyed online — is “well, if we only had better PR we might stand a chance.”
This line of thinking seems to imagine that Arabs as experts in crafting narratives (somewhat true) and Israelis as bumbling idiots who can’t get their talking points together (not true).
But regardless of the truth, here’s the problem with that line of thinking:
a) We’re doing a pretty decent job with hasbara / PR / getting the truth out already. Rocket counts are being tallied and communicated. The true narrative is being fed out to anybody that wants to hear it. Dover Tsahal puts out nice videos and information officers at Israeli embassies around the world are busily piecing together lovely literature. What more can possibly be done?
b) We’re attempting to fight an impossible battle against hundreds of millions of Israel haters who are only too eager to lap up the disinformation being expertly crafted and distributed by the Palestinian side. The second point here speaks to the simple question of scale. There are likely more Palestinian sympathizers in the world than those supporting Israel. And they’re well-organized too.
And so the conclusion I’ve reached (previously but more so over the past few days) is that arguing Israel’s case in the current climate is a waste of time.
Because those determined to hate Israel will find any excuse to hate and delegitimze us: Whether it’s the very existence of the country or some evictions in Sheikh Jarrah. The past few days have made that clear as daylight. Just about any pretext will do.
And if we give up on attempting to win the PR war, we can turn our attention towards defending Israel physically — the job currently being carried out by the brave army defending us.
And then, once we’ve won that battle, to making Israel the best country in the world in which to live. This is surely a much more worthy calling than battling ignorant bullies and a better response, I believe, to their endless hate.
Therefore as perverse as it may sound to some, I see the dismantling of hasbara and the fact that it appears unable to change international opinion on the current round of violence here as a good thing.
Because it’s a battle we simply can’t win. We never could. And now our delusion is being laid bare to the world.
Truth be told, I believe that we shouldn’t be engaging in justifying ourselves to haters in the first place.