Welcome to the 2010 Hasby Awards!

With your host, Elder of Ziyon

People’s Choice Runner Up:

Pilar Rahola

People’s Choice Runner Up:
Israel is under the permanent media magnifying glass and its distorted image pollutes the world’s brains. And, because it is part of what is politically correct, it seems solidary, because talking against Israel is free. And so, cultured

people when they read about Israel, are ready to believe that Jews have six arms, in the same way
that during the Middle Ages people believed all sorts of outrageous things.

People’s Choice Winner:

Protest at Paris Museum

5th Place:

IDF timely footage of Mavi Marmara attacks

5th Place:

4th Place:

Rabbi LIVE exposing Helen Thomas

4th Place:

rd 3


Gabriel Latner

Gabriel Latner
By the end of my speech – I will have presented 5 pro-Israel arguments that show Israel is, if not a 'rogue state' than at least 'rogueish'.
Let me be clear. I will not be arguing that Israel is 'bad'. I will not be arguing that it doesn't deserve to exist. I won't be arguing that it behaves worse than every other country. I will only be arguing that Israel is 'rogue'.

Runner Up:

Elad Daniel Peleg

And the Winner is:

We Con The World

And the Winner is:

What made these good hasbara?

•Ironic •Unexpected •Humorous •Timely •Shocking

Who am I?

Just a guy who runs a blog
◦ 6 years, 9500 posts, made some videos, made some waves
       Historic use of word “Palestinian” – 2005 PalArab self-death count – 2006 Qassam rocket count - 2008 Terrorist “civilians” in Gaza Marc Garlasco – and Octavia Nasr Goldstone Report analysis Gaza Mall video – 70K+ views

Definition of good hasbara
Makes people improve their opinion of Israel  Accessible to a large audience

Why my blog is not good hasbara
My audience is almost all Zionist already  It can help strengthen the Zionist side, but it does not reach out to the other  That would require a different name

◦ More serious sounding ◦ Less partisan sounding

It does support the effort, though

The issue at hand
Jews excel at arguing  By any measure, Israel’s cause is just

◦ Historical ◦ Legal ◦ Biblical

The truth is on our side

 So

why aren’t we doing as well as we should?

One reason is The Barrier
Everyone identifies with various groups  They easily accept arguments from those within their group  They are suspicious of arguments from outside their group

Granfalloons and other groups

Everyone naturally gives more credence to arguments from within their group – even us
◦ What do you think when you read MSM articles written by people with obviously Arab names? ◦ Now, what do they think when they see a Jewish name?

Americans and Israel - then

Traditionally, Americans always identified with Israelis – and with Jews
◦ Pioneer spirit ◦ Reward for hard work ◦ Pilgrims thought of themselves as Jews in the Promised Land ◦ Leon Uris’ Exodus – Paul Newman as SuperJew

So the barrier for communication was almost non-existent

Americans and Israel - now

Still a lot of empathy, but
◦ Palestinian Arabs have taken the “underdog” role which resonates with many ◦ Constant demonization, in areas of human rights, makes inroads ◦ Many young Americans don’t identify with the American work ethic of old – and therefore not with Israel either ◦ Religion is regarded with suspicion

Result: The barrier has been getting bigger

Americans and Zionism - now
When average, non-Zionist Americans see a Jew defending Israel, the barrier remains up  All the logic in the world is useless unless you have an audience willing to listen to you

A thought experiment
What was effective about Robert Bernstein’s NYT article and speech in November?  Why are people so interested in Gabriel Latner’s speech?  Imagine if Alan Dershowitz said the exact same words – would it have been as compelling?

“Man bites dog” is news
The irony of HRW’s founder attacking HRW is what makes it interesting  The audacity of arguing for Israel in a forum where one is expected to do the opposite is what makes it newsworthy  The audience becomes receptive when it encounters something unexpected and surprising  Only when the barrier is broken can logic then be used effectively

Irony makes news
Which explains the outsized interest in “Jewish Voice for Peace” or Neturei Karta  And it explains why young Jews are attracted to anti-Israel movements We need to turn this around: Which takes more guts: to be Jewish and anti-Israel on campus, or to be pro-Israel?

Hasbara Rule #1: Grab their attention
Irony  Cleverness  Humor

◦ “We Con the World”
 

◦ Going into enemy territory, as Daniel did

Any hasbara initiative should have a “hook” to draw the audience in – and break the barrier

This only works with someone who is not emotionally invested in the opposing position  U. of Mich, study in 2005-6:

◦ When misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs.

Hasbara Rule #2: Make your time count

Arguing with the goal of convincing antiZionists is a waste of time

Choose your venues wisely
Most message boards and YouTube comments are filled with idiots  A well-crafted point will be seen by almost nobody - and then disappear forever  Don’t concede the field altogether, but just hit and run with pithy comments  Don’t get dragged into arguments unless you think there are intelligent lurkers who would read them – very unlikely

Yahoo! News message boards • Easily accessible for a short time • Filled with partisan people Amazon message boards
Comments remain for years, available to interested people • People who buy books are usually smarter • More intelligent lurkers • You can recommend good books and criticize bad ones

Hasbara is communication
The same criteria that make effective communication make effective hasbara  What kinds of communication are most effective?  Communication  Debate  Emotional communication beats logical arguments almost every time  You can’t argue with someone who is crying over their loss....

Hasbara Rule #3: Appeal to emotions
Appeal to emotions as well as logic  When it comes down to it, Jerusalem and Hebron and the Kever Rochel are primarily emotional issues  We do have a 3000 year old tradition embedded in our psyches – we need to use it more  Why aren’t we crying over the Churban anymore? Our “logic” has all but conceded the Temple Mount!

Jews are lousy at emotions

We think of all problems as logic puzzles
◦ Blame centuries of Talmud study

But real people don’t relate to logic – they relate to other people! Logical arguments strengthen already existing opinions – they almost never change minds

Logic is not the only battlefield
People identify more with emotional arguments  We have, by and large, abandoned that entire field to the Arab side  Liberals can’t handle extreme emotion so they give Muslims wide berth  But Jews are expected to be logical – so Jews need to always be the “adults”

From reading the media…
Who loves the land more?  Who has a bigger emotional connection to the land?  Who is “indigenous”?

◦ The ones who harvest the olives, of course!

The biggest irony of them all
The people who claim that everyone should be treated equally are the ones who treat Muslims/Arabs like mentally unstable children  Therefore, only one side needs to act responsibly while the other can be purely emotional – including threatening the liberals  This is a huge advantage!

The weapons we don’t use effectively
Religious Jews who are relatable  Jews from Arab lands

◦ If roughly 50% of Israelis are descended from Sephardim, then aren’t they at least as indigenous as the Arabs? ◦ But the media only knows about the European and “Brooklyn” Jews!

Ariel Sharon is more “Palestinian” than Yasir Arafat was (as well as al-Qassam)

Hasbara Rule #4: Contact the players
Contact the reporters, NGOs and government organizations that are displaying anti-Israel bias  From past experience, it is clear that criticism stings

◦ And sometimes the groups’ response will make it worse – like HRW sock-puppets.

How to respond to reporters’ mistakes
Email the reporter directly, if possible  Be polite, and compliment them on parts of their coverage you admire  Open a dialogue, and bring the mistakes to their attention

This is by far the best way to help, because when you have an established relationship, you can use that later

How to respond to reporters’ mistakes – plan B
If the reporter is belligerent, then start complaining to their boss  Send your notes to existing watchdog sites (CiFWatch, Reuters Middle East Watch, Biased BBC) – those sites get read!  Don’t forget CAMERA, Honest Reporting, Just Journalism (UK)  Refer to how their lies and bias go against their published policies of being unbiased

Hasbara Rule #5: Go on the offensive
You cannot win by only playing defense  Israel’s enemies’ human rights records are abysmal – hammer at them  Emergency Committee for Israel as an example

Create your own organization!
All it takes is a website and the ability to write press releases  The other side does this all the time  “Human Rights for Lebanese Palestinians”  Petitions, protests, press coverage

Other pro-active ideas
Translate Israeli videos and newspapers (Yisroel HaYom, “2 Minutes on the Land of Israel”)  Create a “good news from Israel” blog

◦ Israel21c, Israelity – but more would be useful

Humorous spoofs of terrorist culture  Create IDF videogame

◦ Kill the bad guys dressing as civilians without hurting the civilians - or their property

Hasbara Rule #6: Use liberal terminology
Human rights for Palestinians – in Arab lands  Self-determination – for the Jewish nation  Women’s and LGBT rights – for Muslims  Freedom of expression in the territories  Freedom of the press  Don’t let Israel turn into an American right vs. left issue – liberals should support Israel wholeheartedly!  Pilar Rahola

Difference between Israeli liberals and EU/American
Israeli liberals, supporters of a two-state solution, are very skeptical of Arab “peace” moves  And except for the nutty far left, they don’t accept a militarized PalArab state  But that message does not reach their liberal colleagues in Europe and the US

Hasbara Rule #7: Set the framework
It is more than “competing narratives” – it is the use of a framework  Break out of the Palestinian Arab framework when making points

Difference between “narrative” and “framework”

Israeli/Palestinian Textbook Page 1

These are competing narratives… …but they are the Arab framework

The big framework
 

Modern Israel’s history is simply a chapter of the history of the Jewish nation If you start Israel’s history in the 19th century, you have already given away half the argument (“Zionist invaders of Arab land”) If you look at Arab control over Israel as a 700 year aberration before the Ottomans, then it is similar to Moor control of Spain Jews may have been the majority before the Muslim invasion!

A smaller example of framework

The very question of the history of Operation Cast Lead uses a false framework
◦ Operation Oil Stain ◦ Hamas started the rocket war back in 2004 ◦ If you say that the war started on December 27th, 2008, you are implicitly saying Israel was the aggressor

The consistency framework
Everything Zionists have done for a hundred years has been to ensure that Jews can live in security in their homeland  Everything Arabs have done has been to destroy the Jewish state

*(Recent exceptions: both sides try to please the US)

The human rights framework
It is not an issue of whether Arabs deserve human rights – of course they do!  It is an issue of competing human rights objectives for Arabs and Jews  Jews want to grant the maximum human rights possible for Arabs – without compromising their own right to live in peace

The adversary framework
It is not “Israel vs. Palestinians,” it is “Israel vs. Arabs”  The Palestinian issue is artificially kept burning…although we cannot forget that the people are real

Hasbara Rule #8: Be proud and be loud
Be proud to be pro-Israel  Treat the word “Zionist” as a compliment  Put the Israeli flag on your gravatar or blog  People gravitate towards confident, proud people

Hasbara Rule #9: Shame is the best weapon

Shame the other side
Other people believe: Shameculture I believe Other people believe: I didn't do it I did it I am shamed and dishonoured by their belief I am guilty and am punished


I believe

I didn't do it

I did it
I protest my innocence and fight the accusation I am guilty and am punished

I didn't do it

No problem

I didn't do it

No problem

I did it

I am expected to feel guilty regardless

I did it

No-one knows, so I am not shamed

Expose the facts that shame them!

Shame works – and it is the only road to peace
Only if they are shamed will the Arab countries be forced to take responsibility for their role in the “refugee” problem  Shame has worked in the past

◦ Arabic press is rarely explicitly anti-semitic nowadays ◦ Zawahiri shamed Hamas into pretending they are not targeting Qassams at civilians ◦ Al Jazeera was pro-Al Qaeda after 9/11but changed its tune

Hasbara Rule #10:Truth above all
If we lose credibility, we lose everything  If you are not comfortable using a specific argument, don’t fake it  Try to avoid sweeping generalizations because a single counterexample ruins your point – use “most”, “apparently” “tend to” and similar words

Hasbara Rule #11: Know your audience

Don’t tell a secular audience that “Israel’s land deed is the Torah”, for example  Insults do not win arguments – in fact, they often lose them  Don’t assume malice when people could be just clueless  Don’t assume the audience knows the minutiae of the argument (Res 242 missing “the”)  Don’t get stuck in the minutiae yourself, or you lose the lurkers – always touch back on the basics

Three stages of Hasbara
Creating  Publishing  Publicizing

How to be a reporter
Everyone is a reporter - and can broadcast their reports  If the media is not going to look for the truth, you might as well do it

◦ I am upset that I am a better reporter than 90% of those who get paid to report

So go out there and find the news!

History as a source of news
History is everything in the Middle East  When you can disprove today’s Arab claims based on their own words 40, 70 or 100 years ago, you can make news today

Example: Mamilla Cemetery

Muslims claimed that it was hallowed ground and that the Museum of Tolerance cannot be built there I did a search on “Mamillah” in the Palestine Post and found this article Busted!

Example: “Buraq Wall”
Muslims claim now that Muhammed tethered his winged horse at the Kotel  In the 19th century, some surveys of Palestine identified the spot as Bab anNazir, well to the north of the Kotel

Example: Contemporaneous testimony
Palestine Post archives, American Jewish Committee yearbooks, and similar items all reveal how people thought at the time  Historians often (consciously or not) will gloss over examples that contradict their themes  Were Jews advocating transfer of Arabs?  Contemporaneous headlines more effective than dry facts

More recent history
The financing of the Munich Olympic massacre was none other than Mahmoud Abbas (Sports Illustrated, 8/20/2002)  He also eulogized the mastermind of that attack, Abu Daoud, earlier this year  Isn’t that news?

How to be a reporter, part 2
Cheap digital cameras nowadays have HD video capabilities  Go to anti-Israel rallies, take video and photos of signs, interview the nutcases

Take video of pro-Israel speeches
 If

people cannot find it on YouTube, it might as well never have happened  If you can, write transcripts of the speeches as well: so they can be searchable

How to be a reporter, part 3

Look up source materials mentioned in news articles
◦ Go to original websites (HRW, Amnesty, organizations, surveys, transcripts from TV interviews, UN sites) ◦ Check what the original source really said ◦ Subtract the spin ◦ Notice and report on issues that the media ignored

How to be a reporter, part 4

Keep statistics/databases, become a resource

 

Go through known lists of “evil Zionist quotes” and debunk them Make a database of members of anti-Israel organizations, cross-check against others, Google them

◦ How many rockets shot into Israel today? ◦ How many Palestinian Arabs are killed by their fellows, compared to by the IDF? ◦ How many times is Mahmoud Abbas described as “moderate” and Netanyahu as “hawkish” or “right wing”?

How to be a reporter, part 5

Learn Arabic/Farsi – or use Google Translate
◦ I’ve had more scoops in a month than most reporters in a lifetime

See what is being said that the West doesn’t notice, and report on it!
◦ Example: Mahmoud Abbas praising the Mufti Husseini – who cooperated with Nazis

How to be a reporter, part 6
Check facts  Example: PCHR vs. Elder team: How many “civilians” killed in Gaza during Cast Lead were really terrorists?

How to be a reporter, part 7

Take ordinary photos in Israel that Westerners wouldn’t see
◦ Mansions in the West Bank ◦ Luxury cars with Palestinian Arab plates ◦ Jews and Arabs working, shopping together

How to be a reporter, part 8
 

Email or call the newsmakers
◦ Or spokespeople

Ask them pointed questions
◦ They will be slippery but even their evasions are newsworthy
 Chris Gunness from UNRWA denying and downplaying problems

How to be a reporter, part 9

◦ Go undercover and join anti-Israel mailing lists, private Facebook groups ◦ “Friend” leaders of anti-Israel and “human rights” groups to see their photos and their friends
 HRW’s Sara Leah Whitson had an interesting crowd – I forgot to screenshot it

◦ See what they are saying to each other when the cameras are off ◦ Document everything

How to be a reporter, part 10

When news occurs that involve a specific person or organization saying something embarrassing – take screenshots
◦ Octavia Nasr’s tweet ◦ Marc Garlasco’s Nazi memorabilia hobby and HRW sockpuppets

Learn how to use Google’s cache, Wayback Machine (archive.org)

How to be a reporter, part 11

◦ Methodically analyze and demolish anti-Israel articles or examples of anti-Israel media bias ◦ Requires good writing and analysis skills

How to be a reporter, part 12

Write original pieces defending Israel, preferably from a fresh perspective

Now that you are a reporter…

…Where can you do your reporting? You need to publish!

Easy to set up  Tough to get an audience  Almost by nature, partisan – so difficult to get wide range of readers

Citizen journalism sites
Built-in readers  Articles need to be somewhat better quality  Advantage: most are already left-leaning so you can make a bigger splash  Demotix photos get covered in mainstream newspapers  AlterNet, NowPublic, Examiner.com, NewsVine

Create your own news aggregator site
If you are a techie and good at design, use RSS to make an attractive pro-Israel news aggregator site  But don’t call it “Israel News” – call it “MidEast News” or similar

YouTube channel
Easy to get into  Takes time to build an audience but a potentially much bigger audience than blogs  Requires a little expertise, and a little money, to do a quality job

Many established blogs will be happy to publish original material and give full credit  If you are prolific enough, you could end up becoming a co-blogger on an established blog

Now that you have published…

You need to publicize!

Types of Internet users

◦ People who create content ◦ Reporters, bloggers, podcasters, video uploaders, organizations, some Facebook users

◦ Everyone who reads, views or listens to content

How can the consumers help Israel?

There is a third category that everyone can be a part of:


Amplifying the message



Straight Amplification
FB “likes”  Tweets  Social bookmarking like Reddit, del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon  Posting links in message boards  Email and email lists  Repost on other blogs and comments

All these take little time

Value-Added Amplification
Translate and repost  Comment on post and repost

◦ “Here’s a great example of X” ◦ “Must read article from Y who nails it” ◦ “This video will make you cheer!”

A taxonomy of effective mass communication
Live events (rallies, plays) Public multimedia (movies, art) TV, videogames Home video/YouTube Music, audio

Emotional Payoff

Social media (Facebook, Twitter) Photos, pictures, charts, posters Books/Ebooks Newspapers Blogs

Social bookmarking sites, message boards

Amplifying to a higher level
 

Different media have different emotional payoffs Raise the message to a higher level
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Illustrate a blog post with a photo Create a slide show out of an article Turn dry statistics into a video Posters for demonstrations Write an op-ed (helps if you are a Ph.D. or author)

The mainstream media and the anti-Israel crowd all have memes that they rely on  It is a lazy way of reporting but the memes become believed by repetition  They need to be disproven

Meme-busting example #1

“Pro-Palestinian activists”
◦ They do not exist ◦ If they were “pro-Palestinian” they would be holding protests outside Lebanese embassies ◦ The are, always, anti-Israel protesters

Meme-busting example #2

“Abbas is a moderate/Israel is intransigent”
◦ Abbas has bragged that he has not moved one inch from Arafat’s positions – of 1988 ◦ Meanwhile, Israel has offered specific peace plans that would painfully cut out the spiritual center of the land ◦ Not to mention abandoning Gaza – and its residents

Meme-busting example #3

“Christians are leaving Palestine because of Israeli policies”
◦ Christians in the West Bank and Gaza are terrified of Muslim extremists ◦ Christians have been fleeing Bethlehem – but the Muslim population has gone up ◦ Christian population in Israel has increased ◦ Why are Lebanese Christians leaving?

Meme-busting example #4

“The Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site”
◦ After people complained, wire services have actually fixed this meme ◦ Politely pointing out errors in fact makes a difference!

Other memes….
“Gaza is an open-air prison” “Humanitarian crisis” “Arab East Jerusalem” “Israel ethically cleansed Palestinians in 1948”  “Greater Israel”  “Israel is a colonial state”  “Historic Palestine”  “Illegal Occupation”  “Israel trying to erase Palestinian culture”  “Judaizing Jerusalem”
   

Doing it alone vs. doing it together
Practically all the ideas given so far can be done by individuals or very small groups  But people in college have resources that others don’t have – so take advantage!


Sponsor a symposium, together with a major media player such as Commentary, on topics of importance
◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Jews of Arab countries The Iranian threat Turkey’s tilt towards Islamism Media bias

Invite bigshots  These things make news!

Research avenues
Project to digitize historical documents relating to American Jewry or early Zionism  Convert early films to digital  Partner with Google Books or YouTube

Create a loose network of skills
Everyone has different talents  Create a mailing list/Facebook group for a team of people with the talents needed  Then when you need to ask a question or get something done you have a team that can help  You can also blast out important news in multiple venues

Online Hasbara network
◦ Writers ◦ Prominent amplifiers ◦ Historians/ researchers ◦ Graphic designers ◦ Video directors/editors ◦ Techies – database, design, coders ◦ Reporters

•Analysts •People who know people •Fact-checkers •Gadflies – letter writers, message board members •Translators •Political junkies •“Insulters”

Summing up
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Grab attention Make your time count Appeal to emotions Contact the players Go on the offensive Use liberal terminology Set the framework Be proud and be loud Shame is the best weapon Truth above all Know your audience

Summing up
You can be a reporter and create content  Publish the message  Amplify the message to gain exposure  Move the message to more visceral levels  Go after the false memes  Leverage university prestige and resources  Brainstorm ideas with a group

ElderOfZiyon.com  coolboardpresident@yahoo.com  Facebook: Elder Ziyon

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