Stuff "hasbara", get some policies

By Joe Millis
April 10, 2011

In the wake of the cock-up of sending some Russian-speaking aparatchnik friend of Propaganda Minister Yuli Edelstein to America, here's a good take on the futility of the whole hasbara exercise.

What do Israel and Syria have in common? Not much, but both have ministries of hasbara. No such thing exists in the West. No such thing exists in democracies. But in Israel, we have falafel and a minister of hasbara, who is known as the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs. The Israeli president, prime minister, cabinet members and MKs fly all over the world on useless hasbara missions. Israeli diplomats deal with hasbara from dawn to dusk.

But how many times have you seen a foreign diplomat in Israel explaining how right his country is? Who would listen to him? How many times have other countries' ministers been guests here on hasbara missions? What would come out of them? As for us, Richard Goldstone has changed direction, so we'll leverage it using Israel's embassies: The Palestinians are firing Qassams at the south. We'll use the Qassams for hasbara. And yet, how amazing: Never has Israel's image been at such a low point.


Michael Gottlieb

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 15:48

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-1 points

The Left spins the facts and wants to hide from you Israel's LEGITIMATE rights to Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

Read all about it here:

Joe Millis

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 16:09

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-1 points

Israel has no legitimate rights to the West Bank. It is occupied territory and for its own sake as a Jewish and democratic state, Israel has to let go and let the Palestinians there set up their own state.

Michael Gottlieb

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 19:15

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-1 points

"OCCUPATION". This harsh, loaded and damaging term has unfortunately worked its way into the daily discourse about Israel to the point where people use it automatically and without considering its ramifications. Use of this expression serves the interests of Israel's enemies by not only delegitimizing the Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. "occupied territories") but by also weakening the Jewish claim to all of Israel, in its entirety. It throws into question the legality and morality of Israeli sovereignty over pre-1967 Israel no less than it denies Israel's right to the "West Bank". More so, actually. Because when you think about it, if the Jewish People have no claim to ancient Biblical Shechem (Nablus), the principal Samarian city intimately linked to Jewish history ever since the time of Abraham, then a fortiori they certainly cannot claim Tel Aviv, a modern day creation of no historical, national or religious significance. From a legal standpoint, both Tel Aviv and Shechem clearly belong to the Jewish People. Yet the moral Jewish claim to Shechem is arguably stronger. This is a subtle but crucial point consistently missed by the Israeli Left. By bashing the settlements, the Left is actually shooting itself (and all the rest of us) in the foot. Claiming Tel Aviv while renouncing Shechem, as they do, is illogical, misguided and harmful. In fact, there's no difference between Israel proper and the "West Bank". There never was. Both were recognized, by international agreements subsequently ratified into law (San Remo Conference of 1920), to comprise the Homeland for the Jewish People. Ironically, it is the rest of the world which recognizes this inconsistency, albeit unconsciously. They sense that Israel is not being true to herself. They feel she is not living up to her true potential, not fulfilling her true role in the world. Maybe that's the real reason why Israel is universally held in such low regard.

Bottom line: there is no and never was any "occupation" of "Palestine". This patently false charge has NO BASIS in either fact or law, as explained in this discussion, and has been hugely damaging to Israel's morale, self-image, sense of purpose and of course its public image. Here's a direct quote from Stephen Schwebel, former head of the International Court of Justice in the Hague:

"Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully [Jordan's 1948-1967 occupation of Judea and Samaria], the state which subsequently takes that territory [Israel] in the lawful exercise of self-defense [1967 War] has, against that prior holder, better title." - Stephen Schwebel, "What Weight to Conquest," American Journal of International Law, vol. 64 (1970) pp. 345-347

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Michael Gottlieb

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 19:25

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-5 points

Regarding the "Settlements Violate International Law" Myth:

Israel bashers and Leftists love to accuse the Jewish State of breaking international law by "proving" that the settlement enterprise violates the 1949 Fourth Geneva Conventions, meant to protect civilians in times of war, by misinterpreting its Article 49. A close reading of this article reveals that while it prohibits "individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons" from the territories in question (which Israel does not do), the "Occupying Power" (which Israel isn't) is obliged not to "deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population" to such territories, also which Israel doesn't do. The presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria is a result of their own voluntary relocation and NOT of any active or forcible Israeli deportation or transfer of its own civilians. Article 49 does NOT oblige Israel to prevent voluntary settlement by its civilian population to these areas.

In any case, since neither Jordan, nor any other state, has ever had legal claim or title to these territories (i.e. Judea, Samaria and Gaza), there is, by definition, no "occupation", which renders Article 49 irrelevant and inapplicable in this case. Moreover, because Israel captured the Judea and Samaria in a defensive war, there is no legal obligation, according to international law, for her to relinquish control over it. Eugene Rostow, former Dean of Yale Law School, U.S. Undersecretary of State under the Johnson administration and lead drafter of UNSC Resolution 242, put it aptly when he opined:

"Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank"

Israel should vigorously protest the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention to Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, as this territory was captured in 1967 as a result of a defensive war against Jordan, which had illegally occupied it since 1948.

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Michael Gottlieb

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 19:30

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-6 points

Oh, before I forget, Samaria (in the "West Bank")is a strategic asset of the highest order for Israel.She cannot afford to be without it.

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