Thursday, 6 March 2014

Handling Hasbara: Recognising Zionist Propaganda

You’ll see them on online fora which have anything at all to do with the words “Palestine”, “Israel”, “Zionist”, or “Jew”. In fact it’s extremely likely that just by including those words in the last sentence, some of them will come to have a look at this article in order to see if it needs their attention.

And then they’ll begin their work, which has only one focus, and one only – to completely wreck any discussion which might rouse sympathy for the Palestinians or even potentially criticise their master and employer, the (illegitimate and so-called) State of Israel.

The existence of the Hasbara propagandists isn’t even something new; we’ve seen them around for years. They used to go into full operation only at times when the Zionists were in the news, as when they invaded Lebanon in 2006 or Gaza after that. But in recent times they seem to be active all the time, without cease. The fact that the Zionist entity is under fairly unrelenting pressure these days – fast losing the sympathy of Europe, and even Obama occasionally making grumbling noises – may have something to do with it.

[If you’re wondering, no, they won’t be able to work their mission here, for the simple reason that full comment moderation is enforced and I’m not going to let them start.]

So how does one recognise when one is faced with a Hasbara propagandist and not merely a common or garden Zionist partisan? There are several clues, none of which is itself diagnostic, but which together paint a fairly clear picture:

The typical Hasbara propagandist (or HP for short) will begin by testing the waters. In a new thread, where there aren’t as yet too many comments, it (I say “it” because HP can be male, female, or a team of individuals, as I’ll mention in a moment) will say something base-level, like “God gave the land to the Jews, so they have a right to it.” I suppose that this stupendous piece of logic must have, at some point, worked with someone, though I have not seen that happen. Unless everyone is stunned into silence by this lunacy, there will be, of course, dismissive responses. If it’s a Zionist Partisan (ZP), and one so stupid that it has extended such an idiotic argument, it will usually withdraw at this point, perhaps after condemning everyone as anti-God or something equally puerile. (More sophisticated ZPs will never extend an argument of this level of idiocy.) The Hasbara propagandist will never withdraw.

In fact, one of the most identifying features of HPs is that they will never withdraw. Even if derided, provided with links and evidence, they will never, ever, quit. Even when the most indefatigable ZP has left the field, shamed or worn out, the HP won’t leave. The HP, in fact, is doing a job, and the longer it carries on, the more it’s earning its money. Only when everyone else has been disgusted or exhausted into leaving is the HP content. (This is an important thing to remember when reacting to HPs, as I’ll discuss later in this article.)

If the HP’s “God gave the Jews the land” argument fails, it will move to other, also very basic arguments. A few of these – this is very, very far from a comprehensive list – are:

*Jews “bought” the land from the Palestinians, and did not expel them with massacres. That Zionist historians like Ilan Pappe themselves have refuted this notion makes no difference; the reason why not, I’ll tell you in a moment.

*The Palestinians do not exist, and never did. (That’s particularly rich considering the Zionists are nowadays inventing fake “Jews” like the Mizos of India in order to find new immigrants. This might as well be the place for me to record my own conviction that the Jewish people does not exist, and probably never did. There are Jewish peoples – just as there are Muslim peoples, and Christian, and Hindu – with their own lives and cultures; this was particularly brought home to German Jews who were expelled to ghettoes in Poland and discovered themselves hated outsiders among the Polish Jews, with whom they had nothing in common. And these were Jews from two neighbouring European countries with a common border! The single, unitary, Jewish "people" is a modern Zionist myth, with a manufactured past, just like Hitler's Aryan myth. But then the Zionists and the Nazis have the same right wing ideology, so it's not strange.)

*Speaking out against Israel is inherently “racist” or “anti-Semitic”. This is, in fact, an argument which will be trotted out in each and every discussion about the Zionist entity. That there are many, many Jews who are against the so-called state of Israel will be handled in two ways: they’re either “self-hating racial traitors/kapos”, or they are an insignificant minority to whom nobody listens.

*The Zionists “civilised” the land and made better use of it than the Arabs did, so they deserve it. I haven’t come across this excuse in the recent past, though a  couple of days ago I did see a white American claim that his ancestors had “conquered the land from savages and made it a great nation.” Maybe the racist overtones are so clear that the Zionazi regime asked its HPs to stay away from that for a while.

*Jews have a large number of Nobel Prizes than Muslims, so they are better. This is one of many attempts the HP will invariably make in order to divert the discussion from the crimes of Israel into a Jew-versus-Muslim debate. They depend on the fact that Muslims are now considered a legitimate target for hate (like the Jews themselves were not so long ago, and the blacks before them) even in what passes for the mainstream. How exactly this has anything to do with the subject is never made clear, especially since the Jews who won Nobels are all from Westernised scientific backgrounds, totally acculturated to their nations’ scientific temper, like Einstein for instance; and like him, most of them were atheists, only notionally Jewish.  How many Nobel Prizes did Torah-reading, kippah-wearing, children of rabbis from Poland or Hungary win?

*The Zionists are a bastion of “democracy” and “freedom” in a Muslim sea. In this argument the HPs may cite people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, proven liar and professional “atheist” shill for ultra-right-wing American Christianity. How this democracy and freedom squares with the vile treatment of Palestinians, and the atrocities against African refugees, is never made clear. Again, the intent is to move the debate into an anti-Muslim platform.  

*Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians, and all it got for that was terrorism. That Gaza was never the Zionist entity’s to “give”, that the Zionists themselves helped spawn HAMAS, and that turning Gaza into a giant concentration camp isn’t exactly giving anyone anything, isn’t something that will register.

*Jews are threatened by Muslim terrorism from groups like HAMAS which rain Qassam rockets on the Zionists, so any and all security responses are justified. This is another argument that will be trotted out, each time, every time. You will never be able to have a discussion without coming across it. The fact is, of course, that Qassams are pipes stuffed with explosives that would have a hard time blasting a hole through a sheet of cardboard, and that more Zionists are killed by peanut butter allergies than by them. But facts aren’t germane here.

*That Muslims, in the form of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, “sided with Hitler in the Second World War”. This is a powerful weapon against the ignorant, but only against the ignorant. The Grand Mufti was a discredited figure with no domestic following, let alone being a representative of all Muslims. Besides, there were plenty of Christians, including, notoriously, Pope Pius, who also dallied with the Nazis. And most devastatingly, the Zionists themselves engaged with the Nazis on several occasions. I’m just pointing these things out for the facts. I don’t say that these will have any effect on the HP if you trot them out.

*The state of Israel will “always be there”, no matter what (you) think. This is the fall back option when every other argument has played itself out. Well, seeing that the sun will turn the planet Earth into a baked cinder in about a thousand million years, “always” is stretching it a bit. In fact the very balance of Arab versus Zionist birth rates and demographics would argue that the “state of Israel” will be swamped long, long before that.

There are many more arguments, all of which are along the same lines. I won’t bother with them except one, which I will put at the very end of this article for reasons that will become obvious.

Now, if you look back at those points I made, you’ll notice that they have a mix of the utterly nonsensical with the (relatively) more substantial, though ultimately hollow, “arguments”. There’s a reason for this. Each and every one of these arguments is easily refutable, if you want to take the trouble of refuting them. But there is no point refuting them.  By the time you have finished countering one argument, the HP has already moved on to the next. It will, if you cite sources, attack those sources. It will attack you, personally. But it will make no effort to provide solid information countering what you said, ever, any time.

There is a clear reason behind this. The purpose of the HP, as I said, is not to provide information about the Zionists or even to change peoples’ minds about them; the Zionazis in power in Tel Aviv are realistic enough to know that the actual actions of their “nation” are indefensible. The purpose is to muddy the issue and exhaust all comers, so that the discussion is kept shifting away from the central point, which is, let me repeat, the crimes of the Zionist entity. As an analogy, let’s consider the hypothetical case of a concentration campcommandant who gassed a million people. Suppose you try and discuss his actual crime, but your opponents keep on and on and on about how some Jew allegedly undercut his father in business or how Aryans “created western civilisation” or how Jews “murdered Christ.” Is any of this even remotely germane to his crime of gassing a million Jews? Of course not. But has this quite successfully derailed the discussion from its original focus, which is, let’s repeat, his act of mass murder? Of course it has. You’re so busy countering the rubbish that you have no time for the main idea. And that is precisely the point.

The HP’s great difference with the ZP is, as I said, that it will keep going. You can’t successfully counteract its lies because by the time you counter one it will have moved on to the next one. If you provide sources it will attack the sources, accusing them of bias, not the information therein. Facts do not matter to it. Nor will it have to necessarily have to take time off to rest, because unlike you – a normal human with basic biological needs and the necessity of earning a living – it is earning a living by keeping you occupied. And it does not have to take time off to eat or sleep because it’s often not a single individual, but part of a team. As such, when one HP leaves off, another will take over, using the same fake identity, and carry on the fight.

As such, when confronted by an HP, what is the right thing to do? How should you counter its lies?

In one word, the answer is: don’t.

For the reasons I mentioned above, arguing with an HP will get you nowhere. You will be forced to make a choice: either stick to the main focus, in which case the HP will accuse you of ignoring all the “facts” it’s pushing on you; or get mired in countering those “facts”, and lose sight of the main focus.

If you come across an HP, this is what you should do:

Point out to the rest of the online forum that the person is an HP, and give the reasons (you are welcome to post a link to this article if you wish). Then ignore the HP completely. It is not in your own interests to waste your time and raise your blood pressure to fight with a professional liar whose only purpose is to waste your time and raise your blood pressure.

As a conclusion, I’ll post the final HP “argument”, which it fondly imagines is the clincher:

*The Holocaust Holocaust Holocaust. Any sane person will admit the Holocaust happened. Any sane person will also say that this does not excuse the crimes of the Zionist entity. In fact, I’ll let a far, far better person than me say it in his own words:

Peace and happiness to you.

Further reading, for those who don't want to believe the links between the Zionists and the Nazis:


  1. this one is going on piazza this weekend, great write !

  2. Bill, Terrific post. It is really unbelievable and sometimes so discouraging that people can turn around and do to others the exact same injustice that was done to them. Kind of turns the golden rule on its head.

  3. excellent post bill,our mullahs also make stupid stuff like that and justify their activities against shias,and hindunazis also make this sort of stories to justify their anti-muslim activities.

  4. Ah yes, hate. So many damn fool stupid people seem to thrive on hate. Hate is a nasty thing. Why hate? To really hate takes all of your time and then some. Hate will never produce anything worth having, ever. Hate is totally useless to any sane, rational human being. That being said, I can, and do, despise some deserving asshats, but, I refuse to hate. Hate is far too negative and consumes those who hate until they become nothing but and empty shell, a really piss poor hollow example of what passes, outwardly, as a human, but is in fact, a very hollow, bitter shell, devoid of any and all emotion except their own vile hatred.
    Just my opinion, for what it is worth.

  5. Hey man. Visiting here from the Comics Curmudgeon, where I haven't seen you in a while. You still posting there? Anyway, you'd remember me as "Ratiocinator" and I'm commenting today partly because I agree with you about the conflict and partly because I just recently visited the blog of another CC commenter, Cloudbuster, and saw a post of his that reduced my faith in humanity by a little bit more.

    The post was about the U.S. and Israel not wanting to piss off Iran by doing...something, I forget and I don't feel like going back and looking, because one time was enough. But he was like "Can you say 'pussies'?" Exact words there.

    He then compared it to a battered wife not wanting to piss off her husband, and I just had to shake my head. Because I need to know: in what warped version of reality can he see a military juggernaut like Israel (which, correct me if I'm wrong, would not be such a military juggernaut if it hadn't been given tons of great military hardware by America) as a battered wife? Particularly when the number of Israelis killed by organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah is microscopic compared to the number of people killed by the IDF?

    I'm talking about civilians here, on both sides. If there's one thing that I passionately hate, it's civilians being killed. I don't think it's fair game to either target them intentionally or to take action where you know it's inevitable that civilians will be killed by your forces.

    This Cloudbuster guy, he thinks that trying to avoid war is for "pussies". He didn't think that the Iraq war was so bad because the body count among U.S. troops was so low. Dead Iraqis? Far as he's concerned, they don't count. And dead Iranians wouldn't count either. And certainly dead Palestinians don't count, as he talks about in another post where he says that he'd be happy to fight for Israel if he could since they're defending themselves against people who want to wipe them out and...

    ...goddamn it, it's discouraging. War is a Bad Thing, innocent people dying is a Bad Thing. How do people not fucking get this? Or, how do they delude themselves into believing that there are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip, or in Iran, or wherever? I mean, damn, I hate what Israel does militarily, but I'd never go so far as to say or think that there are no innocent Israelis, and that it doesn't matter how many of them die.

    I needed to vent. I hope that's okay.


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