As the Pope visits the ‘Holy Land’, much media coverage has focused on the current problems facing Christian Palestinians, and in particular, the so-called ‘price tag’ attacks being perpetrated by right-wing Jewish extremists. Ahead of the Papal visit, Israeli police even issued restraining orders against known activists. Read more
Posts tagged ‘hasbara’
Last month at the University of Leeds, a debate was held on the boycott of Israel. The specific motion read: “This house believes that UK academics should boycott Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends the occupation and abides by international law”.
Arguing for the motion were Jonathan Rosenhead and Sue Blackwell, both active members of British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP). Against them were Robert Fine and Hugh Hubbard, the former an active campaigner against the boycott of Israel. In the pre-debate vote, the motion was backed 53-37. By the end of the debate, that had shifted to 68-23 in favour of academic boycott, a clear majority. Read more
In recent years, Israeli leaders and advocates have repeatedly warned of the threat posed by so-called “delegitimisation”. Yosef Kuperwasser, the current director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, has claimed it is the country’s most important challenge.
“Delegitimisation” is frequently used to variously describe Palestine solidarity activism, boycott and divestment campaigns, and opposition to Israel’s definition as a Jewish state. The term is intended to rally the faithful, and place the targeted critics beyond the pale. To describe Israeli policies in terms of apartheid is also considered a form of “delegitimisation”. Read more
As students begin a new academic year, there are signs that pro-Israel propaganda initiatives at Britain’s universities are being given a boost. The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) has established a new role within the organisation of “Israel Engagement Officer”, a post being taken up by Canadian Beca Bookman. Bookman comes with considerable experience in working with the Israeli government to undermine Palestine solidarity, and is a past recipient of a “Hasbara in Action” award from the Menachem Begin Foundation. Read more
As governments and civil society groups around the world increase their efforts to target goods produced in Israel’s illegal settlements, the Israeli government and BDS critics are stepping up the propaganda counter offensive.
One of the main tactics adopted by those seeking to stem the boycott tide is to state that these measures actually harm Palestinians. Read more
Discussion about a one state solution in Palestine/Israel is moving into the mainstream. As its advocates gain a platform for their views, defenders of ethnic separation are increasingly falling back on crude arguments about birth-rates and how ‘Jews’ would be treated in an ‘Arab state’. But a smarter, seemingly ‘pragmatic’ objection to a single state is also common: namely that a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians actually want a ‘two-state solution’. At first glance, this can appear to be a strong argument, particularly when deployed in debates in the West (e.g. ‘Who are you to force your solution on people who don’t want it?’) However, it is a claim that cannot withstand serious scrutiny. Read more
Putting aside the absurd categorization of “rock throwing” and “firebomb incidents” as “terror,” I thought it was important to demonstrate the routine reality for Palestinians under Israeli apartheid rule in the West Bank. Read more
Two recent episodes serve as useful illustrations of the hypocrisy of Israel’s apologists in the West and their approach to racism.
Firstly, there was the outrage that greeted Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon in The Sunday Times and which forced an eventual climb down by the newspaper. Some did not hesitate to call the cartoon anti-Semitic – others were more ambiguous but explained why others could think it was anti-Semitic. Read more
The Palestinians’ Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign is making headlines, thanks to pro-Israel advocates’ attack on an event scheduled for tonight at Brooklyn College in New York. In a blow to the likes of Alan Dershowitz, the decision by the college’s political science department to co-sponsor the discussion on a boycott of Israel has been widely defended on the grounds of free speech, including by Mayor Bloomberg. Read more
A notice for the upcoming Association for Israel Studies annual conference in Haifa. (Image: Association for Israel Studies)
In April 2011, I wrote a post for Mondoweiss on the role played by Israel studies in ‘rebranding’ and fighting ‘delegitimization’. My sources included the Reut Institute, and the think tank subsequently responded to my piece – which I then dealt with in a further post. I was thus interested to read a new briefing by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) on the same topic, published last month under the title: “Universities rebranding Israel’s image: Hasbara posts in Israel Studies threaten academic integrity”. With the Association for Israel Studies (AIS) annual meeting scheduled to take place in Haifa next week, it seems a good opportunity to revisit the topic. Read more