Seth Freedman, may be CiF’s resident diva of over the top sarcasm and ridiculous hyperbole, but obviously his repertoire does not extend to understanding irony. In his February 22nd article he attacks Israel’s new PR campaign, employing such terms as “witch-hunts and whitewashes”, “darker side of Israeli hasbara” and “McCarthyite hounding”. That’s quite a spectacular reaction to a web site, a few pamphlets and three TV commercials.
Of course the irony lies in the fact that if Freedman and others like him did not devote their energies to writing articles which have no other purpose than to delegitimise Israel for a newspaper which seems to have made this cause its raison d’etre, then Israel might have less of a need to try to counteract the destructive results of their polemics. When confronted with this point in the comments, Freedman clearly demonstrated his pitiful lack of self awareness.
22 Feb 2010, 2:33PM
madisonwest – “Seth Freedman, isn’t it safe to say that no matter what Israel does, they are doomed because there are so many writers out there who go out of their way to constantly demonize Israel in virtually every topic they discuss?”
Oh dear. But for the rest of us it is patently obvious that Freedman’s repeated nit-picking of every aspect of Israeli life not only has a detrimental effect on Israel’s image but also distorts people’s understanding of the conflict and one need look no further than the comments on this or any other CiF thread – I/P related or often not – to see this in action.
22 Feb 2010, 2:14PM
There’s no point engaging with the Israelis. We give them the most generous trade deal in the world and if we don’t stand shoulder to shoulder with them when they want to bomb someone we are anti-semitic Nazis. Their interaction with us, just like their interaction with the Palestinians is fundamentally driven by the nature of their culture.
They will never ever listen to us so what’s the point in speaking.
What we should do is stay the hell away from them and stop associating with them so we’re not tarred with the same brush.
We can’t add much to any putative peace process so we have nothing to gain from getting involved in any way, shape or form.
They’ll call us anti-semties anyway so let’s just get out of earshot.
22 Feb 2010, 2:13PM
Of course, there is another way that Israel could improve its image abroad:
Stop bombing, imprisoning, harrassing, assassinating and terrorising the palestinian people. Retreat to the 1947 borders. Stop the creation and expansion of settlements and adopt a policy of non violence.
They really don’t need to go to all this fuss…
22 Feb 2010, 2:13PM
So it’s all just a matter of the image being portrayed as far as Israel is concerned then is it? Nothing to do with the ever growing expansion, militarism, racism and murders?
22 Feb 2010, 1:48PM
***Even Israel’s own leaders warn of a system of apartheid emerging if a settlement with the Palestinians is not hammered out soon, and for all that the spin doctors try to blow out the smoke, the underlying fire continues to burn.***
No coincidence that Israel was Apartheid South Africa’s most staunch supporters.
22 Feb 2010, 3:32PM
@Madison West said Correct. India does support what Israel actually is, which is a more liberal and free country than Pakistan or most of the countries that are right near Israel. The Arabs in Israel are doing a heck of a lot better in life than the people in Pakistan.
I agree India is more liberal and free than Israel. Do not try to compare India with Israel.
Israel practices apartheid among it’s own citizen like Israeli Christians & Israeli Arabs
Arab workers face discrimination in Israel
Racial discrimination within Israel
* Institutionalised discrimination in land and housing policies
* Discrimination resulting from the granting of military service benefits
* Impunity in cases of excessive use of force by the police against Arab citizens, including the October 2000 killings
* A law banning family unification with Palestinians from the Occupied Territories based solely on national origin
* Unequal state funding of Arab towns and villages and the lack of participation of Arab citizens in the planning process
* Discriminatory resources allocated to and limitations on access to education for Arab students
* Discrimination in state support for Arab cultural institutions, and the lack of recognition for Muslim holy sites in Israel, among others.
* Discrimination of allotting housing based on race
Israeli ads warn against marrying non-Jews
Discrimination against Religious symbols:
: Chief Rabbinate In Israel Demands Not Displaying Christian Symbols
Or how about Israeli Govt. funding and promoting “Handbook for Killing of Non-Hews/Gentiles”
22 Feb 2010, 4:27PM
I think Israel’s survival depends on it’s PR. It’s now locked itself into an apartheid future, which it will have to justify. With future generations being brought up on civil rights heros like Nelson Mandela, I don’t think that’ll be easy.
As we are all aware, the infamous hate fest known as ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ was recently upon us once again and some of its promotors such as Adalah are funded by the New Israel Fund, adding further irony to Freedman’s claims that “The recent savaging of Naomi Chazan and the New Israel Fund, as well as the gunning down of the Goldstone report, showed the true face behind the hasbara mask, in which politicians and press alike utilised the most vicious tactics available to ostensibly “improve Israel’s image in the eyes of the world”. By sweeping under the carpet of self righteous indignation the fact that the NIF funds groups such as Adalah which are dedicated to the destruction of Israel, Freedman is aiding and abetting the perpetuation of a pernicious myth which is no more than a political tactic to undermine a sovereign country; a fact openly recognised by those who actually know what apartheid was all about.
South African apartheid opponent and editor Benjamin Pogrund:
“Apartheid is dead in South Africa but the word is alive in the world, especially as an epithet of abuse for Israel. Israel is accused by some of being ‘the new apartheid’ state. If true, it would be a grave charge, justifying international condemnation and sanctions. But it isn’t true. Anyone who knows what apartheid was, and who knows Israel today, is aware of that. Use of the apartheid label is at best ignorant and naïve and at worst cynical and manipulative. …”Apartheid” is used in this case and elsewhere because it comes easily to hand: it is a lazy label for the complexities of the Middle East conflict. It is also used because, if it can be made to stick, then Israel can be made to appear to be as vile as was apartheid South Africa and seeking its destruction can be presented to the world as an equally moral cause.” (From the December 2005 issue of Focus, published by The Helen Suzman Foundation)
The harm done by Freedman and his fellow travelers obviously needs to be repaired if possible and Israel is trying to do this by funding a relatively modest PR campaign aimed at damage limitation. Not only is this necessary largely because of people like him, but he also has the brazen cheek to use it as material for yet another of his Israel-bashing articles. If you’re wondering just how low Freedman can go, but then it’s probably worth remembering Tom Stoppard’s paraphrasing of the CiF motto in ‘Night and Day’; “Comment is free but facts are on expenses”. The willful ignorance and distortion of them are too, apparently.