Hasbara central

Five Minutes for IsraelDo YOU want to help?

It’s not often if at all that I start up a Five Minutes for Israel article with an apology. I promised Israel advocate and activist Jeremy Dery†, who among many other things admins the Pro-Israel Activists Unite!!! Facebook group that I would write up proposals for a hasbara portal at least a couple of months ago when we were discussing our individual contributions during Operation Pillar of Defence‡, but life, laziness and longitude got in the way. The urgent need for something like this hasn’t gone away. So with apologies for the delay, here I go.

If you are an eloquent Israel advocate relating to you will often be accused of the crime of hasbara. Do it well enough and often enough and you will be accused of paid hasbara. In the Israel Hater’s minds and increasingly in the minds of the uninformed it has become an ad hominem slur , to avoid inconvenient facts they don’t want to answer.

My answer to the charge of being a paid agent of hasbara is, I wish. Israel needs more professional defenders. Those in the know will laugh. One thing Israel doesn’t do nearly enough is employ the services of skilled advocates. When they should be recruiting they discourage those who offer their services. For that matter, it doesn’t use those who want to volunteer, well either. This plan is an approach to turn this around.

I’d like to add that, in my experience, the one Israeli politician who understood this was former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. To the regret of everybody I know working or attempting to work in hasbara he won’t be part of the 19th Knesset.

Even the word hasbara, literally explanation, public diplomacy for Israel, has been successfully appropriated by the Destroy Israel Lobby as a synonym for dishonest propaganda.  There’s an article there when I get around to it. Think or better Google apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing, antisemitism, refugees to see how they have successfully redefined these words to their advantage. Theft of the language is a particular Israel Hater’s marketing success. One would have thought that intensely verbal Jews would have done better in protecting themselves than they have.

Hasbara portal

The digital world gives us so many tools to organise with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, email … and more. All it requires is the labour, especially when Israel is not between crises – yes, it happens.

Whenever a crisis occurs with Israel volunteers from all over the world want to help. But they are stymied by four of the five W’s – How, Where, When and Who. The Why should be self explanatory.

This portal should be a place where you can find whatever you might be looking for to defend Israel. A place to answer the Ws.

The dating service paradigm

The concept and I expect the software are not so different. What is a dating service anyway but a method of putting people together who want to meet?

  •  Are you an Israeli advocate looking for a full-time, part-time, intern, consultant, crisis, paid, volunteer position or just want to be contacted? Add your CV. We will guarantee someone human will respond.
  • Are you a government department, pro-Israel NGO, media monitor, Jewish/Zionist federation, student society looking to fill a position? Treat us as your classified pages. Can you have too many applicants? Think wide. Much hasbara can be preformed by telecommuting.
  • Do you think you are the only Israeli advocate in your small piece of the boondocks? This is an excellent way to network.
  • Planning or hoping to organise an event or a demonstration, especially online? The portal is an ideal extra, free option.

Worth a thousand words

One of my favourite country/folk/Gospel songs (I’m eclectic) is Larry Norman’s 1972 Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music? I was thinking about it in relation to my own occassional graphic work. I needed a copy of a graphic I had produced and had somehow misplaced the original. I located it on a pro Palestinian narrative image database!

Perhaps the Palestinians don’t have all the good graphics (Our own Dry Bones is at least equal to Carlos Latuf) but they do distribute them better. If we need a suitable illustration for our advocacy work where would we look. A database of royalty-free Zionist graphic work is long over due. Why not expand the concept. Call it a culture and media clearing house.

Any questions?

Clearly this is just the germ of a conception of the principle of an idea. Feedback is not just welcome. It is essential.

Action items

  • Interested in taking an active role in getting this project underway? We will need backroom boys (girls), funding people, marketing people, translators, artists, writers.
  • Comments? Advice? Let me know.
  • Small bloggers who would like to expand their audiences on Five Minutes for Israel, contact david@5MFI.com from this blog.

4 April 2013
By David Guy (@5MFI)

† Jeremy like so many superb activists who are much younger, more attractive, more intelligent, sexier, etc. than me is looking for a full time position in Hasbara. You can contact him by mail or through Five Minutes for Israel.
‡ Operation Pillar of Defence (Hebrew: עַמּוּד עָנָן, ʿAmúd ʿAnán, literally: “Pillar of Cloud“) the lattest Gaza war was in many ways an example of how Israel has learnt some serious public diplomacy lessons. Not enough.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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