ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Information Campaigns (Hasbara): Not a Quick Fix 5.6.10

Information Campaigns (Hasbara): Not a Quick Fix

5 June 2010

By Yisarel Ne'eman

Although Israel has quite a few enemies, the whole world is not against us and there are plenty of people and governments willing to listen to reason. If Israel does not present its case in a long running, consistent and coherent manner "proofs" afterwards will be of little use. Within the first hour or so of a clash impressions are formed and public opinion solidifies in taking sides.

After the Turkish flotilla disaster everyone is talking and writing about Israel's "hasbara" failure but no one is confronting the essence and depth of the debacle. For an information campaign to work it must be built on previous knowledge, in this case "know thy enemy". Today we speak of the Muslim Brotherhood, its Palestinian wing Hamas and the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood "aid" organization the IHH. Over the past twenty years or so Israel for whatever reason (political correctness?), neglected to define Hamas for world leaders, the media and the international community.

Step one is to define Hamas using its own words. The Hamas "motto" is contained in Article 8 of its charter: "Allah is its goal; the messenger is its leader. The Koran is its constitution. Jihad is its methodology, and death for the sake of Allah is its most sacred desire."

Article 2: "Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood chapter in Palestine."

Article 7: "The Final Hour will not come until Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, and a stone or tree or tree would way: O Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

Article 13: "The initiatives, what is called a 'peaceful solution' and 'international conferences' to resolve the Palestinian problem, are contrary to the ideology of the Hamas, because giving up any part of Palestine is like giving up part of religion."

And: "There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except for Jihad."

*** Summary: Hamas advocates Jihad (Holy War), rejects all possible compromise in the Palestinian arena and demands the slaughter of Jews. These actions are condoned through Koranic legal dictate in the name of Allah for whom Hamas members sacrifice themselves as a matter of "sacred desire". By extension homicide-suicide bombers are desirable.

More concise or in a sound byte: Hamas = World Jihad, deadly antisemitism, death for Allah.

And just to emphasize extermination doctrine towards Jews and Israel we have the leading Muslim Brotherhood theologian the Egyptian Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi in a speech made on Jan. 30, 2009 (from Wikipedia and Memri):

Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon them [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.

We also have Qaradawi several years earlier urging suicide-homicide bombers as the best weapon to use against Israeli society in totality. By extension this means killing children and pregnant women since he determines that "the Zionist entity" is one large army.

The Turkish IHH is an avid supporter of Hamas and has been suspected of Islamic terrorist connections by the Turkish government itself in 1997 and by Danish, French, USA and Israeli authorities. Not allowing their cargo to be inspected and routed through Ashdod on the way to Gaza makes them accomplices to Hamas activities.

Points 4 and 5: Hamas is anti-PLO (Art. 27) and battles Palestinian secular nationalism, demands that Jews and Christians who survive after the Jihad must live under discriminatory dhimma statutes (Art. 31).

Point 6: More recently Hamas proved itself anti-democratic. They may have won a four year term in the January 2006 parliamentary elections but they overthrew the quasi-state Palestinian Authority regime (June 2007) in which they had a leading role. They could not countenance the thought of holding "elected" office, using military force they destroyed the PA democratic apparatus and banned elections. Hamas rule in Gaza is an Islamic dictatorship.

Does anyone believe the press and public at large will not remember these six points should Israel make a concerted effort to repeat them every time Hamas is mentioned?


With the essential factual background established over the past two decades one can turn to the specific aspects of the flotilla. All suspicions of IHH links with extremist groups needed to be aired publicly the moment they began organizing their mission. The other aid group known as the "Free Gaza" movement is said to be peaceful and humanitarian. Israel would test both groups by establishing a special warehouse in Ashdod port for aid going to Gaza.

In a ten minute video clip prepared for the press the warehouse would be draped with a large banner entitled "Humanitarian Aid". The cameras would scan the inside showing not only storage facilities but machines to help in detecting weapons and ammunition. A narrator would survey the temporary living quarters for the detoured passengers emphasizing that any delay would be short. Once the equipment and supplies were checked all legitimate donations would be loaded onto waiting trucks. The ship's passengers would then board buses and be driven with the trucks to the Erez Crossing (where 4,000 Palestinian jobs existed and 15,000 more Palestinians would cross to work in Israel until Hamas terrorist attacks put all 19,000 out of business six years ago) where all would be dropped off. Since everyone wanted to go to Gaza, there is no reason Israel should send anyone to the airport. Looking back at the past and in anticipation of the future such a clip could have been distributed a month ago.

Good hasbara begins with simple facts made public about your opponent and an explanation as to why one is in an adversarial relationship. This is done over an extended period of time (in this case decades) so the message is absorbed. In this specific case of using "humanitarian aid" as a weapon against Israel the government had to separate those who truly want to give aid from those who do not. Well in advance the world would know that anyone with honest intentions to give aid to the Palestinians could do so through Ashdod port or even as Egypt has suggested, through their Sinai port of El Arish.

For Israel winning the hasbara battle is primarily to implant the truth about Hamas in everyone's mind. Secondly one must show the peaceful way out of any possible conflict. Third, should a conflict arise in any case Israel will be able to prove it did its best to avoid a confrontation. And fourth, time is of the essence – as soon as a conflictual situation arises Israeli spokespeople must be on hand to repeat all the previous messages and then to confront the issue at hand. This way world public opinion will be much responsive to the overall truth and not to Hamas distortions.

And finally one very up to date fact: Hamas refuses to receive the humanitarian aid now stored by Israel after the Marmara incident, including the latest supplies arriving from the Rachel Corry ship taken to Ashdod on Saturday. So who is blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza? "Aid" ships are being sent – but to what purpose?