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August 24, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 24, 2018

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 24, 2018 Beth Shalom Memonal Chapel Proucll Serving Our Cornmuni Over Years remain so The first mention in JTA of the Hebrew word "has- barah" was in 1988, at the height of the first intifada. The article focused on Israelis and American Jews and their deep concern that the media were distorting the unrestand showing the Israeli military in a bad light. The answer, interview- ees agreed, was better "hasbarah"--a Hebrew word, explained the author (OK, it was me), "whose meaning falls somewhere between informa- tion and propaganda." "Israel has never actually looked at hasbarah as an in- tegral part of policymaking," said Dan Pattir, a former press secretary to prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin. Fast forward 30 years. Writ- ing last week in the Los Angeles Times, Noga Tar- nopolsky makes a convinc- ing case that Israel's public diplomacy efforts are flawed, unprofessional, scattershot and out of touch. Critics tell her that Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu relies too much on social-media videos to defend Israel. They say its military spokespeople are ill prepared to answer questions about controversial events, like May's deadly riots on the border with Gaza. There is no single authority that coordinates and supervises these various activities," complains Michael Oren, who is (wait for it) Israel's deputy minister in charge of public diplomacy. The critics, however, don't make a convincing case why any of this matters. Complaints about Israel's hasbarah efforts are as regular and ritualistic as the Jewish holidays. Without answers from a strong PR campaign, the theory goes, the litany of anti-Israel charges gains traction. But amongwhom? Israel re- mains hugely popular among the American public. Accord- ing to Gallup, 64 percent of the U.S. population sympa- thizes with the Israelis over the Palestinians, and only 19 percent say they sympathize more with the Palestinians. Congress remains firmly pro-Israel. Yes, a Pew survey in January showed a wide partisan divide over Israel, with 79 percent of Republi- cans and only 27 percent of Democratic sympathizing more with Israel than with the Palestinians. But the poll questions forced respondents to choose between Israelis and Palestinians (why not both?), and the results may have reflected only the deeply partisan nature of American politics--not anything you can hasbarah away. Despite wide publicity and Jewish consternation, the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement hasn't taken root outside the far left. As of June, 25 states have en- acted anti-BDS laws. In fact, the whole point of BDS is that Israel has a positive image that needs to be undermined. You wouldn't know about BDS if celebrities didn't regularly include Israel on their world tours. The charge of "pinkwash- ing'--that Israel touts its relatively progressive record on LGBT rights to distract the world from the occupa- tion-targets what the BDS folk think is a positive and effective means ofhasbarah-- otherwise, why would they bother? And paradoxically, every charge of pinkwash- ing only reminds the casual reader of Israel's strong LGBT record. Two kinds of critics, often overlapping, criticize Israel's hasbarah. The first is convinced that the media have in it for Israel. Such critics also hold the mistaken notion that the media's role is to tell a story as they would have it told. Cover- age of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is hardly perfect, and examples abound of stories becoming stories only when Palestinians are the victims, or headlines that ignore cause (a terror attack) for effect (the Israelis' response). In general, however, Palestinians have a point when they complain that the media often shape the narrative according to an Israeli point of view, depict- ing Palestinian life with an PR on page 14A Building Community Since 1954 bi Joshua N ly Cantorial e eitin The 3ates of heaven SO aT6 OUr dOOTS. Sunday, September 9 Erev Rosh Monday, September 1st Day Rosh Tashlieh* - 6:15p Mineha Tuesday, 2nd Day Rosh H Tuesday, September Kol Nidre - 7:00pm Wednesday, September 19 Yom Kippur Day - 9:00am Mineha* - 5:00pm Community Memorial Service - 6:40pm* Neila* - 7:00pm Maariv* - 7:50pm (*open to entire community) High Holiday Tickets includes unlimited for in Israel a donation of $180. and Babysitting without reservation. i i Your donation can be applied to your membership dues. 50 South Moss Road Winter Springs, FL 32708 407.647.3055 Online reservations: , am-12:00 pm : . : .