The time for Israeli hasbara is now – opinion

When the State of Israel recently revealed to the international community the true terrorist nature of the six Palestinian human rights organizations, it hoped that the world would thank and reproach and condemn these organizations. These NGOs collected funds from international donors under the guise of human rights organizations when in fact they were involved in terrorist activities. Yet instead, it was Israel that was heavily condemned, from the United States Congress to the European Union, through organizations around the world and even those based here in Israel.
But Israel did nothing wrong by making this statement. In fact, after a long process of investigation led by the General Security Services (GSS) it has been shown that these same NGOs not only served as branches of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization, and raised funds for it, Rather, some of the high-ranking members have blood stained hands; they participated directly and indirectly in terrorist attacks in Israel.

However, the State of Israel has another problem, hasbara, self-defense or the lack of it. Sadly, even after 73 years, Israel has not learned that it is not enough to be right, we must also be smart.

The statement calling these terrorist groups for what they really need should be accompanied by images and content easily understandable to people around the world. The information and evidence that Israel had about these terrorist organizations had to be immediately revealed both abroad and here at home because, even in Israel, there were ministers and members of the Knesset who condemned it. It had to be presented clearly for all to see immediately.

In recent days, social media has been flooded with the “StandWithThe6 #” campaign.

Social networks: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok (credit: courtesy)

Why didn’t Israel pre-empt this with a campaign of its own that would have accompanied the declaration? Why wasn’t there a social media campaign ready to go that would have been a buffer against all the opposition? Are we saying that Israel has good enough intelligence to uncover these terrorist organizations but not enough to know that the world would never accept the statement in the form in which it was delivered, without attacking Israel? Even school children know that when taking a test and answering questions they have to explain their answer, prove their points, and show their work.

The country must learn the lesson from all this. It is not the first time that we have failed to convey our message or defend ourselves. We have failed too many times in the kingdom of hasbara. In May, during Operation Guardian of the Walls, Israel did not explain why it brought down the building that housed the Associated Press and other media outlets in Gaza, another incident that unfolded without the proper hasbara. For 11 days, Israel searched for the ‘winning’ photo and in the end the image the world remembers is the one on the New York Times front page of the dead Palestinian children.

In this age, the fight for the minds and hearts of the people is the most important battle. Failure to act immediately with a social media campaign hurts us. The main area of ​​Israel’s battle these days is not in Gaza, Syria or Lebanon, but on social media. We are not only fighting terrorist operations; we are fighting a lot against influencers with millions of followers. The State of Israel must establish its might here also against massive anti-Israel activity. You must have a hasbara system that can make your mark and be part of your diplomatic efforts. You must be able to go both on offense and defense immediately and effectively.

Our national resilience depends on our Hasbara strength; In the 21st century, even the most powerful military backed by a country with a significant military budget is not enough to win the hearts and minds of the public. A country that prides itself on victory after the Six Day War cannot afford to be defeated in the “War of the Six Organizations”.

Israel needs to create an effective hasbara system now that communicates well the justification for its actions and shows what is really happening on the ground backed by facts and data in all languages. It is on this front that Israel has been failing time and time again; Yet this is the most important battlefront today, and this is where Israel needs victories more than ever.

The writer is the CEO of the nonprofit Together – Vouch For Each Other.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *