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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Report

I received this by email and thought I would pass it on. I agree with him by the way: Our hasbara is still badly lacking.

The Report

by Ari Bussel

What many could not understand was how an army which even some German generals considered the strongest in Europe could be defeated so quickly and easily. So staggering were the losses – 90,000 dead, 200,000 wounded, more than one and a half million taken prisoner – …” This is the story of France in 1939 (as told by Don & Petie Kladstrup in 2002).

The most important arena where we need to act … is in the arena of public opinion, which is crucial in the democratic world. We must continue to debunk this lie that is spreading with the help of the Goldstone report.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, a Ministerial Committee on National Security convened for the first time in Israel to discuss the implications of the Goldstone Report recently adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. A new unit will be established in the Ministry of Justice in coordination with the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor to handle legal proceedings taking place overseas against the State of Israel, or against its citizens, which require legal handling and special coordination.

A Jewish person headed the Goldstone Report and the investigation leading to its publication. The White House Chief of Staff is Jewish. He orchestrates the President’s disengagement from Israel and the constant attacks by the Nobel Laureate (Peace, 2009) on Israel to “freeze settlements” and allow the creation of an enemy state from within, with Jerusalem as its capital.

When it is time to hit Israel again, more forceful than before, what better way than to use the Jews themselves to do the job? There is an army of willing participants, many standing ready to volunteer to badmouth Israel, subjugate the Jewish State to poison and administer death. They are of our own, aided and abated by true enemies of the Jewish State.

Two young Israeli women, age 18, objecting to military service, are on a speaking tour in the USA attacking Israel. The goal justifies the means, and their homeland can be sacrificed along the way. So eager they are to do the right thing, and yet so little did either one accomplished in her lifetime. Military service is mandatory in Israel, making a youth into a responsible young adult. The IDF is a melting pot, in which race, educational background, affluence and other factors disappear and are replaced by a common thread, yielding a proud Israeli citizen.

So what is wrong with the Goldstone Report or the UN decision? A vote was taken, and Israel is now accused of committing war crimes. Add this latest “substantiation of charges” by a dignified and reliable world body to blood libels raging on for many months and the recipe is now complete.

Israeli soldiers murdering children, the narrative created and filmed for television near the Western Wall by Turkish Television. Israeli soldiers harvesting organs from young Arab males for sale on the international black market as reported on Swedish leading newspaper (based on rumors and innuendos). These blood libels are a perfect tool used by the enemy, inflaming an already agitated world concerned that the root-cause of all things evil is Israel’s settlements and the “occupation of Palestine. “

Much like a defendant of frivolous litigation, Israel needs to invest enormous resources to protect herself and her people, time and again, although her success rate exhibits fast-diminishing returns. The reason is not the fast-escalating intensity of the attacks, rather it is Israel persuading herself she is doing just fine and thus either excusing the enemy from within or doing little if anything to wage a true war against the baseless accusations and accusers.

The poison drips slowly into the patient’s IV. The patient does not look delirious, on the contrary, she advocates increasing the rate of flow.

It was not that long ago when prominent members of Israel’s own academia accused her of being an Apartheid state. They called for a boycott on Israel to be carried out by all thinking and responsible individuals, corporations and governments. I wrote at that time to a doctor who practices in Israel that one consequence of defending the “right” of an “out-fringe” to do what some of his colleagues are doing is making it his problem.

The issue will come back to haunt him, I warned. It is not unlikely that the doctor, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, will soon be accused himself of committing war crimes. God only knows this is further from all possible truth.

The esteemed president of the university named after Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion sat here in Beverly Hills and essentially dismissed the whole affair. Her concern was with the continued flow of money from the Diaspora, and all means were acceptable, despite being short-lived, shortsighted and lacking in vision.

The day has arrived, requiring immediate corrective action, a new approach, a vision. Israel has no one to blame but herself. The Jewish Homeland is completely surrounded. Raging fires many stories high engulf her from all sides. For fires of such intensity and magnitude, special equipment is necessary, yet Israel has not fathomed the wisdom to counteract these fires or even obtain the necessary equipment.

It was during Operation Cast Lead that then leader of the Opposition, now Prime Minister Netanyahu, invited the foreign press to tour the south. We went from 45-seconds-from-launch (the city of Ashdod) to 30-seconds-from-launch (the city of Ashkelon). As we arrived at each city we were greeted by a bombardment of rockets launched by peace-loving “Palestinians” living under the “siege of Gaza.”

Our buses were not protected and we were not immune, but it seems that this field trip was to end well and we were soon to arrive back to the safety of the center of Israel.

I remember the time in the bus and later at the hospital, As Netanyahu and most other politicians came for photo-ops. Netanyahu answered very eloquently, as always. He was no longer “leader of the Opposition.” Israel was all one. Honorable, but given a one-on-one discussion later in the bus with his top advisers, tired of yet another successful day, the truth was revealed: Israel was doing well!

The same sentiment was shared not only by Netanyahu’s top advisers but others as well including the Foreign Minister and head of the ruling party, Livni. With the Foreign Ministry at her disposal (often used as the party’s own PR firm), Livni failed to lead. The top echelon of the Ministry in a makeshift bunker at the front-line in Sderot, 15-seconds-from-launch, was telling tales of wonder, how well the country was doing, how magnificently they were faring internationally.

Given Israel’s deep failures in 2006 during the Second War in Lebanon, Israel was indeed implementing basic improvements. Yet, the fact that the IDF Spokesperson’s unit spoke in one voice, organized and orchestrated, did not amount to “victory” or even to “success.”

The lack of dozens and hundreds of commentators from within the ranks of the IDF simply reminded one that an army needs to run like an army and military service is not made-for-TV. Starting to utilize social networks was not a great discovery either, just arriving to the right point of time on a timeline.

A minority sounded the alarm, claiming that Israel is failing in its public diplomacy efforts. Those who thought differently then and still believe Israel should not and cannot be held responsible should take a few steps aside and spend a few minutes reading the Goldstone Report. Dismissing it as well will not work this time around, the next stumbling block is a few feet ahead. As it was said in a previous war: “Gentleman, you are about to witness the most famous victory in history” (Hitler to his generals, May 9, 1940).

Among the minority calling for a change of direction was an image of the past, the “face of Israel” from the First Persian Gulf War. He knew from experience the importance of public diplomacy, and the signs of failure were evident all around. Unfortunately, he was busy running for the parliament, and although elected, the powers to be are the same Netanyahu top advisers who knew before we were doing well.

Once in power, the gang of advisers did not waste any time or other resources for nine months to plan and get ready. Act? Execute? Why bother when you have convinced yourself you are right and winning?

Twenty years ago Israel did not have a Home Command. The First Persian Gulf War and Saddam Hussein taught Israel a lesson the hard way. In 2009 Israel still does not have the proper Diplomacy Front. Indeed, there are numerous entities, from a huge bureaucratic Foreign Ministry to a new “Hasbara” (public diplomacy and information) Ministry to the IDF to a plethora of other NGOs and well-meaning individuals. The sum total of this effort – a total and utter failure – can be summarized in the Goldstone Report’s astounding success: Blame Israel for defending herself.

Israel needs decisive action. Israel needs the courage to act, whatever the consequences. Most importantly, Israel needs a vision, a new direction and the strength to follow through. Lacking these, she may find herself facing a new exile, one she cannot afford.


In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related - the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts - and so is this “point - counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.

© Postcards from Home, October, 2009


At 9:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel needs to face up to the fact the most dangerous war being waged against it is not by guns or terrorists. It is through political arguments. And Israel can ill afford to remain on the defensive given the fact this assault will continue for many years to come. Goldstone was just the opening salvo in this war. It will not be the last.

At 9:57 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

These analyses and responses to the Goldstone report would be strengthened by descriptions/engineering drawings of rocket paths, effects, costs to defend against, etc. Israel's Hasbara needs to change the angle of the discussion. With no description and animation of the THOUSANDS of ROCKETS, Hamas and Hiz. can keep taking PR shots. Israel's defenders can say "Rockets", but they have no visuals. Very distressing to watch.


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