Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What is Hasbara?

The word Hasbara means "explanation" in Hebrew. In actual English usage, it refers to the efforts by the Israeli government, pro-Israel pundits and a considerable bunch of useful idiots (mostly bloggers) to justify Israel's behavior and slander the Palestinians, the Arabs in general, and, if necessary, the 1.3 billion followers of the Muslim faith.

Hasbara employs the usual techniques of all propaganda efforts: half-truths, decontextualized quotes, false claims made in the cynical hope that the readers won't bother to check them out, invalid analogies, and so on and so forth. One of its procedures is to tell a lie enough times that people will begin to believe it's true. Just like Goebbels did. Oh, I'm mentioning a Nazi in some vague connection with Israel; I'm an antisemite. By the way, the default method of Hasbara is calling all critics of Israel antisemites.

When one has been observing the Hasbara gang for some time, one (me!) realizes that they restrict themselves to performing a limited set of tricks over and over again, and it becomes easy to defeat them. I have exposed those tricks repeated times on Hasbara blogs. In some cases I was eventually blocked from participating; in other cases I was met with more than my share of ad-hominem attacks; in one case (this) I was politely treated as a human being with a different opinion.

One day I found I had gathered quite an impressive file of counter-Hasbara arguments, and I decided to start my own blog, which I did in my mother tonge, Spanish. Here's the English version, which will consist mostly (but not exclusively) of translated versions of the original Spanish-language articles from my other blog.


Dan said...

THIS is what really pisses me off!

" By the way, the default method of Hasbara is calling all critics of Israel antisemites. ".

This is completely false. Hasbara has its pro's and its con's but nowhere does its followers/students/whatever u wana call them, blanket call everyone who criticises israel as anti-semitic.

Did you ever thing that you may have been called an anti-semite because JEWISH people might actually have been OFFENDED personally by the things you were saying? Are you that blind to think that you were only being called an anti-semite because it is the 'tactical' thing to do.

I am a zionist jew. I am however highly critical of a lot of the things israel does and I think criticism is definitely healthy. I believe that there are issues that MUST be brought up.

YOU however, having read your blog, may not be anti-semitic but some of your writing certainly is. You often blame jews for things en masse. You use isolated incidents of crazy jews (i.e. the settlers who attacked islamic graves - who FYI deserve to be hung, drawn and quarters, they disgust me and im ashamed to share a cultural/religious heritage with them) and blame it all on israel, or vice-versa.

I, as a jew, have been personally offended by some things that you have written.

On the other hand, you have exposed some important issues that i previously wasn't aware of (e.g. the soldier shooting that man in the foot). You need to tone this down and stop it with the jew-baiting and stick with criticising israels policies.

About Health Blog said...

Are you that blind to think that you were only being called an anti-semite because it is the 'tactical' thing to do.

Brotyboy said...

Good man. If it's not explicitly said, this is the sub-text. And if you're jewish and critisise Israel, you're a 'self'hating Jew', itself a vile piece of anti-semitism.

vaginas said...

Very worthwhile piece of writing, thank you for this article.

www.mueblesennavarra.com said...

This will not actually have success, I consider this way.

Anonymous said...

Holocaust Inversion, the technique you utilised in your post in comparing Israelis to Nazis is legally defined as Anti Semitism by the EU and 11 separate nations. Ergo, when people label YOU an Anti Semite they are doing so factually and based upon tried and true legal principles. I have yet to hear a single critic if Israel labeled as "Anti Semitic" when engaging in actual criticism that does not rely upon stock Anti Semitic techniques.

Oh, for someone who claims to be a Linguist I find it interesting that you could not even properly state the definition of "Hasbara." It simply means, "Telling the truth," literally. It does not mean "Explaining" in the limited sense that you have attached to it. If you are that ignorant about a term you have devoted your entire blig to, one can only wonder why you devote so much of your time to attack Israel.

Rachamim Dwek.