Home Featured Stories Did You Know? Background Information News On the Web

ISRAELI HASBARA: A Nation Working Against Itself
posted by Yoram Shifftan
July 2, 2003

Introduction: Israel as victim of psychological warfare

An alien from outer space could be excused for concluding that Israel is the target of a classic Soviet-style propaganda war.1 The essentials of such a war are (a) continuously repeating a few simple messages and (b) placing agents in positions of influence. Not all agents are bought, bribed directly or indirectly, blackmailed or intimidated. Many are naive idealists or pacifists - Lenin's `useful idiots.'

The major messages repeated again and again by Israel's enemies over many years are: the "illegality of the settlements" and the "occupation." Astonishingly, this repetition was met with stony silence by Israel's official representatives. Their refraining for many years from providing a rebuttal resulted in an increased acceptance of anti-Israeli views by even neutral observers. It also encouraged hostile - and violent - elements, with the ensuing loss of Jewish life and limb. It resulted in Israel's having decreased room for manoeuvrability on the ground. It is the fundamental reason for economic, scientific and cultural boycotts.

The poor state of Israeli hasbara is due to the official Israeli reluctance to put forward pro-Israel objective legal-historical facts. It is not due to a lack of resources or opportunities to appear in the media.

Objective (as distinct from pro-Israel) hasbara is what is most needed and is precisely what is absent. On the day the Israeli government decided to accept the Road Map (25.5.03), advocates for acceptance such as deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Eli Landau explained on the Voice of Israel Radio that the world will not accept our non-acceptance of the Road Map, which implies hasbara has been tried and failed. A few days later, Olmert said on the Voice of Israel that the world should know how difficult it is for us to make the expected concessions - a logic that implies that the world knows that what Israel is willing to give away actually belongs to her by international law. Yet official Israel refused for years to declare in front of the world that the whole of Western Palestine 2 belongs to the Jewish people according to international law. The incomprehensibility of this is compounded when one notes that the same official Israel, which is responsible for hasbara, also uses the misleading terminology used by Israel's enemies, instead of the objective terminology found, for example, in the documents of the League of Nations and the United Nations. (See the discussion of the term `Palestine' in the Section on Terminology below.)

The most ardent proponents of an additional Palestinian Arab state and for the acceptance of the Road Map, in Israel and abroad, are the same individuals and parties that were also the most enthusiastic supporters of the Soviet dream and Stalin. The mental constitution that led them then to the admiration of Stalin is no doubt at play again. But appeasing and rewarding terror is as wrong now as it was then.

The Road Map contradicts international law

Tony Blair (and to a lesser extent, George Bush) is under heavy attack by the `intellectual intelligentsia' in the U.K., his own M.P.'s, diplomats and journalists for transgressing international law in attacking Iraq without the blessing of the U.N. The difficulties in locating WMD aggravates his position. His opponents feel free to put heavy pressure on Blair to cater to the Arabs by leaning on Israel about the settlements. They press him to put pressure on Bush. This anti-Israel orientation does not come from Blair himself, who is not that unfriendly to the Jews, but from an odd coalition of these `intellectuals' with Muslims who organise petitions to Blair and to their local M.P.'s.

In the UK, and increasingly in the rest of Europe, the chance of a politician being elected increases significantly if he takes an anti-Israel position. Increasingly, European politicians and experts call for adherence to the dates of the `Road Map,' irrespective of a change in attitude on the Palestinian side. There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a collective obsession about "Palestine." People who know nothing about the historical and legal background are stating, with increasing vociferousness, that all the ills of the world would end if America put pressure on Israel to stop repressing the Palestinians, i.e., to dismantle the settlements. Blair (and Bush) needs some ammunition to withstand the onslaught. The last thing he (and Bush) needs now is to be blamed for encouraging yet another transgression of international law.

This is the time to stress emphatically again and again that freezing settlements (as called for in the Road Map) is against international law. This will give Blair (and Bush) the ammunition they need, and, in any case, it will make it more difficult to put pressure on Israel. Let us remember that the U.K. policy that culminated in the White Paper of 1939,3 which bears large responsibility for the Holocaust, was made possible and easier because of the unwillingness of Jewish leaders to speak out that this was a transgression of international law. Today, we have modern media and the internet to create international accountability, if we argue the point strongly enough.

The same U.K. that in 1939 cynically reasoned `that the Jews will have to fight Hitler anyhow, so let us appease the Arabs,' is now again talking about appeasing the Arabs and radical Islam. We should remind the British that, in the long run, the policy of appeasing totalitarian regimes never works - the Mufti of Jerusalem still supported Hitler. We should remind them that Israel is the bulwark for all democracies.

The strange paralysis of official Israel and its MFA

It cannot be overemphasised that `the illegality of the settlements' has been the sharp end of the international campaign against Israel for years. It is the justification for all the boycotts, anti-Israel decisions and attacks. Tony Blair's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jack Straw (he is said to be `of Jewish origin'), does not miss an opportunity to justify the Road Map by invoking the `illegality of the settlements,' as he did on 27.4.03 in an international phone-in program of the BBC World Service. The Arabs and their friends talk only about it. They do not refer to the Bible or archaeology but to international law. The normal reaction would be to refer to the subject of the accusation and try to explain it away. But since the early 90's (Oslo), no official Israeli representative has been willing even to refer to the legality of the settlements. The historians of the future will wonder about this reluctance. They will wonder why generations of Israelis were educated without hearing that the League of Nations solemnly dedicated the whole of historic Palestine (including trans-Jordan where, later, they only "postponed", or "withheld", the application of their decision) to the "the establishment of the Jewish National Home." All rights of nations obtained by virtue of the League of Nations mandate were adopted by the Charter of the United Nations. This was also confirmed by the International Court of Justice.

The self-denial within Israel's education and hasbara system precludes any rational hasbara and allows the `new historians' to distort history. Israeli politicians have been for many years unwilling to explain, even in private conversations with foreign politicians, that the settlements are legal, and to explain the true nature of the `occupation.'

For many years now, whenever there is a news event in the Middle East, all the TV chains summon (often simultaneously) official Israeli and Arab representatives. Whatever the current event, the Arab representative will not refer to it but always focus on the "illegality of the settlements" and the "occupation." The Israeli representative, by contrast, will never refer to these. It is clear what the objective observer must conclude from the repetition of this ritual over the years. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) refuses to include the justification of the settlements in its written material, including justification from the point of view of international law. So all the many bodies that are inclined to help Israel's hasbara effort - Diaspora activist Jewish organizations, student organisations, academic organizations and pro-Israeli Christians - are not briefed and do not receive written material from Israeli embassies that would help them refute these pernicious allegations.

It is incomprehensible that Israel's MFA is still reluctant, after two Likud victories, to tell Jack Straw that the settlements are legal. There should be no doubt that the lower ranks in the MFA act exactly according to the instructions of the Foreign Minister. So if the Minister were to change the policy, they would all conform. This reluctance is surely against the platform (manifesto) of the Likud party, and not just against the spirit and the letter of international law.

The reluctance of the MFA to mention the legality of the settlements stems from their eagerness to make peace with the Arabs. They are only willing to mention Israel's willingness to give away the territories. Immediately after the 1967 war the government of Israel suggested giving away all the territories for peace and was rewarded with the `Three No's of Khartoum.' This same suppression of facts that bolster Israel's claim to what is called the West Bank was again seen after Oslo. And it continues.

Stressing the legality of the settlements does not reduce MFA's freedom of action. On the contrary, it strengthens our negotiating position. If, for years, Israel's enemies have concentrated only on this legality, and we have said nothing, the objective observer cannot be blamed for thinking that we have no response. This, in turn, is the main source of increasing animosity towards Israel, which, in turn, leads to loss of Jewish life and economic assets. Israel's representatives do not even mention that these territories were acquired when Israel defended itself from attack from its Arab neighbors. They do not mention how other nations behave in similar circumstances.

The concealment of the legality of the settlements is reminiscent of the concealment from the Israeli public that Arab incitement continued even after the beginning of Oslo (which is reminiscent of the dangerous wishful thinking of Jewish leaders on the eve of the Holocaust, dismissing and ignoring the Nazi threat until it was too late). The argument that there is not enough time on TV to develop subjects does not wash. Indeed, one needs only observe the Arab representatives in action on TV. To argue effectively why the settlements are legal, (which the MFA is reluctant to do even in private), can take half a minute. To mention that there are also Jewish refugees takes only a few seconds.

Terminology and history do matter

The situation since Oslo began has been worse than mere concealment of our national legal rights. Our representatives and leaders actually take part in the enemy's propagation of misleading information and in its deformation of the truth and language. The previous Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shimon Peres, often said on Israeli radio and in writing in Maariv interviews that "Arafat deserves at least 22% of Palestine" (meaning that Arafat deserves the whole of Yesha4). But this is incorrect usage of language. Yesha is 22% of Western Palestine, but Western Palestine is only a fifth of Palestine. `Palestine' includes both trans-Jordan ( now called Jordan) and Western Palestine in the documents of the League of Nations, the United Nations, and other relevant legal documents. Equating Western Palestine with Palestine is one of the linguistic tricks in the language of our enemies. Why would our Minister of Foreign Affairs, who for years was at the helm of Israel's hasbara policy, use this misleading language? We can not control the stream of lies emitted against Israel. But we don't have to adopt the terminology of the enemy. We can refute these lies.

The slow process of gradually removing parts of our national heritage combined with changing the terminology has dulled our awareness of what is going on. First they took ("postponed" the application of) four fifths of Palestine (whereas all of Palestine was originally dedicated by the international community, including the Arab representatives, for a Jewish state) and called it Trans-Jordan. Then they renamed it Jordan.

In Mandate times, `Palestine' designating the area that was southern Syria in the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinians started claiming to be a separate nation around 1965. Many European politicians began to talk about a native Palestinian nation that existed for thousands of years until the colonial imperialist Zionism extinguished it. When our Minister of Foreign Affairs adds to the confusion instead of pointing to the real historical and legal facts, how can we be surprised by the increasing hatred towards Israel. It is not all anti-Semitism. It is to a large extent our own failure. Recent articles on hasbara in the Jerusalem Post and in the English edition of Hamodia lamented that not enough resources are devoted to hasbara. Salvation is sought through professional advertising agencies. Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem lies in our unwillingness to say the right things. It lies in our working against ourselves in our uniquely Jewish culture of self-hatred.

In fact, Peres is on record as saying that history does not matter and only the future counts. This further increases the suspicion in the world that our history is nothing to be proud of. Dismissing Jewish history plays into the hands of our enemies who do likewise. It prevents us from explaining the justice of our cause to ourselves and to the world at large. The recent destruction by the Arabs of Jewish historical places in Jericho, Joseph tomb and the Temple Mount, and the very major destruction wreaked by the Jordanian Legion in 1948 that erased many Jewish historical sites in the old part of Jerusalem, complement declarative erasings of Jewish history, such as the assertion that the Western Wall has nothing to do with Jewish history.

Anchoring national identities in historical continuity is a universal practice and value. So the singling out of Jewish history as of no importance is a clear manifestation of anti-Semitism. Yet this is precisely what is done by the `Post-Zionists.'5 If the leaders of MFA believe that history is of no importance, this in itself secures the failure of Israel's hasbara policy.

Autonomy versus state

The proponents of the Road Map and an additional Palestinian Arab state, such as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his deputy Ehud Olmert, argue that we do not want and are not able to control the life of another people. But it is naive to believe that if they are granted a state, they will let us live in peace. In order to live in relative peace we will likely have to control their life to some extent and be there in any case. But one can only imagine the international outcry should Israel need to invade the additional Palestinian state, as compared to the current `occupation' of a land that international law says is ours. Again, one sees the damage currently done by our leaders instructing our diplomats not to tell the world, including the Arabs themselves, that the land is ours according to international law. It is as if our leaders want to increase the international pressure on us to abandon Yesha. We won the territories as a result of self-defence and we occupied land that did not belong to Jordan according to international law. But the new state of Palestine would be recognised by all the world including ourselves. So unlike in 1967 this will really be invading another country.

The other main argument of the proponents of the Road Map and an additional Palestinian Arab State is that Israel cannot be both democratic and Jewish in the absence of such a Palestinian state. This does not apply if the Palestinian Arabs are granted autonomy with national voting rights in Amman, as advocated in the Elon plan.6 Having autonomy, but not a state, would allow the Arabs of Yesha to control most, but not all, aspects of their life. The classical retort to it is that this is unfair to the Palestinian Arabs. But this is a false argument that again can be traced to poor hasbara. In isolation it sounds reasonable, but not if real-world limitations, past history and comparable cases are invoked.

It is also naive to believe that something that is called a state will not in the long run have all the attributes of a state. In view of the history and the non-democratic and unstable nature of Israel's neighbours, only autonomy should be discussed. What Israel is on the verge of doing is unparalleled in the annals of nations: giving away, albeit under duress, national rights recognised in international law - an irreversible act - in return for easily reversible assurances, which one knows in advance will not be honoured. And there will be no real sanction against the expected violation.

Those who say that removing Arafat, who has not respected any of the many agreements he has signed, will make a difference , ignore fundamental Arab ideology. The declarations and writings of all present and past Arab leaders and personalities attest to the inability of the Arabs to entertain the idea of Jewish sovereignty no matter how tiny the Jewish state will be. This Islamic-Arab requirement to have the Jews in a second class protected ('dhimmi') status is so fundamental that all keen observers, including Jewish researchers such as Prof. Eli Kadouri from London University or Bat Yeor, and non-Jewish researchers such as John Laffin7 agree that no real peace for Israel is ever possible. This holds in addition to the universal argument that in general democracies do not go to war (and Israel is surrounded by non-democracies). All apparent moderation is only temporary for the purpose of attaining a better starting point for the next phase. In the beginning of the Oslo process the Palestinians were on their best behaviour only as long as was needed to bring in brigades of terrorists and call them police and for Israel to hand over all its bases and effect its retreat. The Road Map is catastrophic even if only for its time scale: a reasonable starting point would be to require the Palestinians to educate their children and population for, say, ten years that Jews have a right to a state in Palestine. In view of the past, the burden of proof of sincerity is on them.

Perhaps the most fundamental missing element in the Israeli consciousness is the absolute realisation that the only kind of peace Israel can expect is one based on deterrence. And this too needs to be explained to the nations of the world. But this too is not done. The current pressure on Israel is not unlike the pressure on Czechoslovakia. Israeli hasbara officials should overtly make this analogy and recall that Czechoslovakia, which had 12 divisions, could have finished off Hitler by itself. In view of the nature of radical Islam, those `friends' of Israel who are currently pressing her may themselves pay a high price later. This is in exact analogy to Britain and France paying a higher price later following their attempt to appease Nazism at the expense of Czechoslovakia. Despite what Peres thinks, history provides a useful analogy and a guide for the future, and only a fool repeats the same mistake.

A rational hasbara comprising an opposition to an additional Palestinian state and the Road Map will be effective if this opposition is coupled with arguments, many of which were put forward by Israel's MFA until the beginning of Oslo, but not afterwards.

It is worth beginning by noting that according to the only documents that are binding in international law and which apply to the whole of Western Palestine, only Jews were given `national rights,' as distinct from the `civil and religious rights' that were given to all the inhabitants. This in itself provides a strong argument for settling Palestinian refugees in the larger part of Palestine, east of the Jordan.

Arguments opposing an additional Arab state in Palestine should also point out that normally nations do not return territories acquired in self-defence.

The suggestion that Palestinians vote to Parliament in Amman and have only autonomy in western Palestine is even more convincing if the fate of real nations, e.g., the Kurds or the Tibetans, who do not have a state, is invoked in the same context. It is also worth recalling that millions of Turks and their descendants live in Germany and Switzerland without voting rights, even though Turkey is not at war with these states. At the same time, Germany gives a right of return to ethnic Germans who have been away for hundreds of years, but nobody consider it a racist policy, as the Arabs say with respect to the Jewish `Law of Return.'

It is better to talk in a positive sense and the opposition to an additional Palestinian state should stress that the Arabs themselves say that they are one nation, and therefore they deserve one state according to their own logic. Instead, the Arabs have more than 20 states and almost all the area and its resources. A constant reference to the map would show the world that the many empty areas in Judea and Samaria are needed not just for strategic depth but also for future settlement of Jews, the alternative being an ecological disaster in Israel. This very limited space should constantly be compared with the enormous surface area the Arabs control already. Comparative maps are very telling and our MFA personnel would do well if they would often appear on TV with such a map. It is hard to imagine the superficiality and ignorance of many people who despite their ignorance still pontificate on the Middle East. A glance at the map would make it clear how preposterous is the incessant Arab propaganda about Israel expansionism.

Even if one concedes that the Palestinians are a separate nation - another `big lie' that even the `Palestinians' themselves did not claim until very recently - our MFA should have pointed out that there is already a Palestinian state, Jordan, located in Palestine. (This point was still central in our MFA hasbara in the Eighties.)

Our hasbara should point out that there has never been an historical, cultural, linguistic or assertive Palestinian nation. In fact, there have been many admissions by the Arabs themselves that the demand for a Palestinian state is only a ploy to destroy Israel. For example, Zuhair Mushin, the head of the PLO Military Operations Department, said:

"there are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese... We are one people. Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. For it is of national interest for the Arabs to encourage the existence of the Palestinians against Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity."8

The world needs reminding that all non-Jewish explorers testified that the land was almost deserted at the end of the 19th century, and that the Arabs came in the wake of the Zionist economic success.

Opposition to an additional Palestinian state is in particular effective if the fate of Palestinian refugees is compared with the fate of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It should be a rule of our official representatives that they should not talk about Palestinian refugees without mentioning Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It is really amazing that for years now representatives of our MFA go on international TV, talking about Palestinian refugees, without ever mentioning the large number of Jewish refugees displaced, not within Palestine as was the case with most Palestinians refugees, but thousands of miles away from places where they preceded the Arabs. We should constantly stress there was in effect an exchange of population, as happened or was initiated in many other places in the world; that the Arabs intently and politically do not absorb their own refugees, unlike the Jews; and that many more refugees have been absorbed in other cases.

The property of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries is never mentioned in the international media by our official representatives. One wonders for whom he thought he was working, when Yossi Beilin, upon becoming Minister of Justice, stopped the collection of data on Jewish property confiscated and abandoned in Arab countries. Similarly, Prime Minister Barak emasculated the American Jewish lobby (AIPAC) and was unreceptive when Congressmen suggested the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Barak's very proposition to compensate the Arabs with land within Israel, broadcasts to the world that our presence in Yesha is illegal from the point of view of international law. You would expect a Jewish Prime Minister to focus the attention of the world on the fact that in 1948, when they attacked Israel, Jordan and Egypt entered Yesha illegally and aggressively destroyed Jewish settlements that had been there for hundreds of years. If these settlements were legal before 1948, which they were, how it is possible to argue that Jewish settlements in the same areas are now illegal? Has the intervening aggression of Egypt and Trans-Jordan made them illegal? The world should also be told that it was precisely the unlawful Egyptian-Jordanian aggression in 1948 that prevented the erection of new settlements in these largely empty territories of Yesha for 19 years, an erection that international law calls for and actively encourages.

Israel's official representatives are timid and passive

In the daily confrontation on the small screen, the international chains cannot confront an official Arab representative with a Gush Shalom activist. Therefore since the show must go on, personnel of Israel's MFA and the Prime Minister's office get their daily chance to put forward their views. But as befits victims of psychological warfare and misinformation, most of Israel's official representatives appear confused, timid and not informative at all. This also applies to many Diaspora Jewish leaders. They need to imitate their Arab opponents, who are masters of propaganda. A classical masterstroke was milking the heroic overtones of the word `resistance' in the French mentality and completely submerging the crucial difference that `La Resistance' of WW2 did not kill innocent civilians. They need to promote understanding of the basis of the conflict. In talking about current events, they should contrast those that deliberately kill civilians with those who sacrifice their lives and go out of their way to save civilians.

You will not find an official Israeli representative who will remind the world that in 1948 we begged the Arabs to stay but they were threatened by the Arab authorities to leave. When, for example, Israel was falsely blamed with a massacre in Jenin by all the European media, not one official representative of Israel who went on TV said that the lives of the 23 reservists killed there were sacrificed precisely to avoid the loss of civilian life which would have been in danger if the Air Force had been used. Israel did not even opt for the possibility of giving a warning to all civilians to leave and then send in the Air Force. At the time, our MFA personnel were grilled in all international TV stations for massacring civilians. And yet, when it was suggested to a representative of our MFA that this is the time to mention on the very same international TV that 630,000 innocent German civilians were deliberately killed by Allied bombardment towards the end of WW2, when the Allies were winning the war anyhow, and there were no military targets in these German cities, there was no enthusiasm for applying this suggestion. A typical Israeli MFA response to such a suggestion was that reminding the British of this deliberate killing on their part will hurt and insult them. This is neither normal nor a Jewish response to the virulent false accusations faced by the MFA personnel.

An effective deterrent strategy to fight suicide bombing is to transfer the enlarged family of the suicide bomber, or his village, or his quarter of town, east of the Jordan. Or, one can destroy the buildings of part or all of his village. This strategy is easily done if coupled with normal hasbara which would explain how other democracies have behaved. But this would demand a complete transformation in the mentality of our MFA into a normal mentality.

They should be instructed by their political masters to remind the world, on international TV and elsewhere, that during WW2 for example the British arrested in the British Isle every Jewish male over the age of 16 who was a refugee from countries such as Germany, Austria or Czechoslovakia and deported them to Australia and Canada under such terrible conditions and starvation that many of the Jews committed suicide. And many of them drowned when their transport ships were struck by German torpedoes. One of the two survivors out of 800 Jews who were drowned when a torpedo hit their ship campaigned to get an apology from the British government. It was recently rejected. Would the British act differently today?

Did the British deport them because there was a single case of a Jew committing a suicide bombing? No, they did it because of the theoretical possibility, extremely improbable, that among the Jews there would be a German spy. There was none, of course. Using this British logic, Israel should have deported the whole of the Palestinian Arab population east of the Jordan because it is impossible to distinguish between a suicide bomber disguised as an orthodox Jew and an orthodox Jew.

Similarly our MFA personnel should be ready to remind the world on international TV that the British used their Air Force to raze whole Arab villages in order to end the "Arab rebellion." In the recent Iraq war they used cluster bombs in civilian areas. And there are many more examples that show that, in order to survive, a democracy at times has to deviate from the ideal.


When current events are not placed in a comparative setting and fundamental historical and legal facts are not broadcast, the people of the world do not learn about these facts, and our own people become ever more ignorant. This results in collective loss of memory. For example, just after the government accepted the Road Map with reservations, ex-minister and ex-leader of the Meretz party, Shulamit Aloni, said on the `Voice of Israel' radio that it should have happened after the Six-Day War, ignoring the fact that indeed all the territories were offered but the reply was `The Three No's' of Khartoum.

Already, sections of the Left deny what Barak offered the Palestinians less than 3 years ago, even though Clinton confirmed it many times in public. Not only are there fewer and fewer Israelis who know the facts so that they can explain them to foreigners, but the phenomena of self-hatred, refusal to serve, lack of motivation and the belief that the state was born in sin, multiply. It is in this receptive atmosphere that for example Jewish-Israeli academics in Oxford and elsewhere, including Israel, publish books about how strong and well-equipped we were in 1948 in comparison to the Arab foe. They claim it was Israel that refused the 1947 division recommendation by the U.N. This is a complete Orwellian inversion of the truth and is promulgated by those (principally Jewish) who are supposed to be the gatekeepers of the truth. The process is made easier because such practitioners in the art of deceit are labeled `progressive', `liberal', `moderate' and '`peace camp'. This self-destructive process is now autocatalytic, whereby deliberate mischief, innocent ignorance, physical intimidation and buying opinions with money feed and mutually amplify each other. It really pays to be anti-Israel.

The point to emphasise is not only that settlements are compatible with international law, but that international law requires the active encouragement of Jewish settlements in Yesha. Therefore any opposition to the encouragement of settlements is a transgression of international law. But the moment is fateful: once we volitionally and officially give up the right of the Jewish people as codified by the League of Nations Mandate, and adopted as the rule of the U.N. and furthered confirmed by the International Court of Justice,9 this will be an irreversible act, with no way back.

This is why this is really a moment of truth. We cannot always rely on Arafat to help us out. A temporary moderation by the Arabs as an act of deception, together with European strong pressure to appease the Arabs following the Iraqi adventure and combined with the wish of politicians to enter into the history books as peacemakers, may bring about this irreversible act. Commitments of the U.S. are of little significance compared to the magnitude of this irreversible act. The United States made promises to Israel after the Sinai campaign. On the eve of the Six-Day War, they claimed they could not find the documents.

There is intellectual dishonesty in accepting the Road Map partly because of world opinion, and at the same time, intentionally refraining from carrying out the kind of hasbara Israel practiced until the beginning of Oslo. Even if we didn't need to respond to the Road Map, it is time to revert to the Jewish MFA we once had. The absurdity of official Israeli irreversible renouncement of historic and legal rights recognised by international bodies is magnified by the absolute certainty that no matter how tiny Israel becomes, and how many concessions it makes, the Arabs will never entertain the notion of Jewish sovereignty.


1. David M Jacobs, "The Middle East Propaganda War," The Salisbury Review, Winter 1998, pp. 31-33; see also Maty Regev, "The Satan from Gaza," 2001; Joel Fishman, Nativ, November 2002, and "Policy Paper No 142," ACPR, 2002.
2. When the Ottoman Empire was dissolved, England was given a mandate by the League of Nations to establish a Jewish state in all the territory that had been the Southern part of Syria under the Ottomans. Mandated Palestine comprised what are today Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. The Mandate talks about `homeland' rather than a state because Max Nordau, an early Zionist, thought it was less provocative language. Western Palestine is Israel, Samaria and Judea. Jordan began calling Samaria and Judea the West Bank in 1948.
3. See "Britain Retreats from its Support for Zionism" in the Encyclopedia of Jewish History, Massada Publishers, 1986, pp. 156-157. To appease the Arabs, Britain issued a series of white papers culminating in the White Paper of 1939 that restricted immigration, settlement and purchase of land by Jews in Palestine. They restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine at a time that Hitler was still willing to let the Jews go. This act of inhumanity took place even though the British had their whole Empire to accommodate the Jews; and despite the fact that the Mandate obliged them to encourage immigration; and "close settlement" of the land of Israel by Jews.
4. Yesha is the collective term for Samaria, Judea and Gaza.
5. Shlomo Sharan, "Zionism, The Post-Zionists and Myth: A Critique," ACPR Policy Paper No 134.
6. Benny Elon, a Minister in the current Israeli government, points out that Jordan is already a Palestinian state. In his plan, Jordan, not the Palestine Authority, is the sole representative of the Palestinian Arabs, including those living on the West Bank and Gaza, who become citizens of Jordan. The refugees are resettled in Arab countries. The terrorist structure is uprooted. Israel annexes the West Bank and Gaza. There are two complete Palestinian states in mandated Palestine: Israel and what is now Jordan.
7. John Laffin, The Arab Mind Considered: A Need for Understanding, the Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1975.
8. Published in the Dutch newspaper Trouw, March 3, 1977.
9. These legal documents are the only ones that are currently valid and binding; see for example pp. 121-123 in: Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981. See also "Are The Settlements Legal" by Eugene W. Rostow in this edition of Think-Israel.

Dr. Yoram Shifftan is a scientist who has often written about Israeli Hasbara. He ran the Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) radio program dedicated to Israeli hasbara.

Home Featured Stories Did You Know? Background Information News On The Web