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Jonathon Cook staves off the zionist hordes
It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!
It is an honour of a kind, I suppose, to briefly have the most active thread on the Comment is free site. But not much of one when 95% of the posts rarely rose above the level of vitriolic name-calling. The posters probably know that by now I am immune to playground taunts of "scum" and "Nazi", but the abuse, I suspect, is meant more as a warning to others who might criticise Israel. Keep quite [sic] - or else.
But, their tired little game is becoming more and more transparent and we will not stand for it.
Volcanic outbursts of hatred on Cif greet anyone who objects to Israel's policies: in my case, I sinned by pointing out that its leaders have turned the small community of Jews in Tehran into pawns in a struggle to persuade the world that Iran is a genocidal threat to world Jewry. My point was that Israel's concern is entirely hollow. It simply wants to mobilise support for an attack on Iran, either by itself or the US.
Some posters to this site seem to be aware of the organised nature of these critic-bashing campaigns. They note that sites like giyus.org rally the faithful to the cause. But most posters are probably not aware that giyus and its ilk are only the tip of a much larger effort called "hasbara" by Israel and its supporters. Usually the word is translated as "advocacy for Israel". I call it by its proper name: propaganda.
The main goal of hasbara is constantly to disseminate good news about Israel, largely independent of whether the news is true or not, in the hope that over time a benevolent image of Israel will be reinforced. Here's an example: in 2000 it was reported that an Israeli court ruling had ended the country's system of land apartheid, a legally enforced territorial separation that keeps Jewish and Arab citizens apart in most of country. To this day apologists cite this ruling as proof of equality in Israel, even though the decision only applied to one Arab family, has yet to be enforced, and the Israeli parliament is currently passing legislation to make sure it never is.
But the charm offensive is only the upside of their work. The downside is, as Cif posters know well, a relentless campaign to target, discredit and silence critics of Israel. It can take many forms, not only name-calling. I was intrigued to see several posters thought I had no right to criticise Israel because my wife is an Israeli citizen, though - and this is presumably her and my offence - she also happens to be a Palestinian. They would have a field day - but fail to see their own double standards - were I to suggest that only non-Jews be allowed to apologise for Israel.
A few posters made what appeared to be a substantive point: why had I failed to note that, while today 25,000 Jews live in Tehran, another 80,000 have fled? But look closer and the case crumbles. The overwhelming majority of those 80,000 Jews left in the wake of the country's Islamic revolution in 1979 - that is, nearly 30 years ago. They are irrelevant to Israel's current claims that the Iranian leadership is preparing to commit a genocide against the Jews. In any case, most of those fleeing Jews left because they were middle class and secular and saw no future in an Islamic state, despite reassurances from Ayatollah Khomeini that they would left in peace. In other words, they left - like many other Iranians - for economic reasons, not political or religious ones.
Other posters simply lied, in the great tradition of hasbara. Several suggested I had written that Rafik Hariri was killed by Israel. I hadn't, and you can check my website to be sure. I had also apparently written that the two Israeli soldiers killed in a Hizbullah operation last year were caught on Lebanese soil. Again a search failed to find the story. No matter. Truth is not what hasbara is about.
And if all this fails to discredit a critic of Israel, simply label him an anti-semite, and the argument can be closed. Game, set and match.
I am not sure if any other country or cause encourages this kind of mainly voluntary propaganda work, but I am sure that no other country or cause has the human resources that Israel can rely on to carry it out. There are thousands of people sitting at their computers ready to pounce. (I know because I have received abusive emails from them, unless it's just a handful with thousands of different email addresses.) They do not need orders or much guidance. They do it because they love Israel and see it as part of their life's work to protect Israel's image.
Doubtless, they believe what they write too. If you have been raised to live in constant fear of anti-semitism, and to see an anti-semitic impulse lurking in the recessses of every non-Jewish mind (an observation that is often publicly made in the Israeli and American media but less often here), then what other motive could someone like me have but anti-semitism for writing what I do? The logic is satisfyingly circular.
But Cif posters may be less aware of how the rest of the Israel lobby works. Giyus is, in fact, the most amateurish part of its operation. These are the "shock troops" on the front line. They overwhelm by force of numbers only. Far more effective are the lobby's "snipers". They pick off anyone the shock troops have failed to frighten off and whose voice might be heard in places where it matters: particularly in the American media and on US campuses. Tony Judt has recently felt their ire, as have Professors Walt and Mearsheimer.
A separate lobby system, particularly Aipac, is dedicated to intimidating elected American representatives. This obsession with preserving Israel's image in the US is not surprising: the country's fate as an occupying, military power in the Middle East will, after all, be decided in Washington. In the main, the professional Israel lobby cares little about what is said in the European media, although as British newspaper websites like the Guardian start to penetrate the other side of the Atlantic that is changing. There may yet come a day when we will miss the abusive giyus crowd.
The professional Israel lobby have respectable names like Camera (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Reporting in America), Honest Reporting and the Anti-Defamation League.
Camera has a section dedicated to "naming and shaming" some of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East. You'll find a page dedicated to the Guardian's former Jerusalem correspondent, Chris McGreal, after he made the ultimate faux pas of comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa, a country he knows intimately. There are many who share the honour: the Independent's Donald MacIntyre, Tim McGirk of Time magazine, Molly Moore of the Washington Post, Jim Muir and Kylie Morris of the BBC, Greg Myre and Neil MacFarquhar of the New York Times. And that's just a fraction of those whose surname begins with M.
And thanks to continuing israeli atrocities, the list grows every day.
Pretty soon, zionist freaks in the media will be outnumbered by the rest of us.