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Letter from Israel
David Frankfurter
Can I really help Israel's PR? Read to the end! 
13th-Aug-2009 11:17 am
The Media often publish and syndicate stories regarding the Middle East which present the Palestinian narrative unchallenged by basic tests of reasonableness and without even considering the Israeli perspective. This “news” is then reproduced almost verbatim by thousands of local, national and international newspapers, radio and television outlets. Complaints of bias are met with a total lack of understanding – after all, these were just reprints of syndicated stories from “reputable” media sources.

Additionally, abuses of the terms “war crimes” and “international law” are unquestioningly quoted and repeated, without any reference to what really happened on the ground, Israel’s right and obligation to protect its citizens from the genuine war crimes perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist regime in Gaza.

How will the UN investigation headed by Justice Goldstone be treated? It is about to issue its report, which could well lead to legal action against Israel in international courts. The frame of reference of the commission was tainted and biased from the outset, assuming that Israel had committed war crimes and that the Palestinians had not – or if they did, then they were not really worthy of attention. One member of the commission publicly admitted that she had already found Israel guilty before the commission even began, and before a single witness had been called.

It is no wonder that in this environment, Israel refused to give legitimacy to the commission by co-operating with or appearing before it.

Nevertheless, good friend Maurice Ostroff made sure that a great deal of publicly available material which supported Israel’s case was put to the commission. (You can see it at his website, together with a summary questioning the impartiality of the commission.) Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, also testified as a private citizen. Of course, given the predisposition of the panel to find Israel guilty, it is not clear how much weight will be given to this evidence.

What is needed are facts in anticipation of this report, which will also answer the many NGO “reports” which have simply taken the Palestinian narrative as absolute truth, with no proper investigation, evidence, or consideration of the right and obligation of Israel to defend its citizens. Facts that also show that Israel is a democratic state of law, and if individual soldiers acted against Israeli or international law, that they will be duly answerable.

Most unusually, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a detailed, 164 page report analyzing just these questions. And so that the press could not claim “too long” or “too complex”, the MFA held a pro-active press briefing this week, where it presented the report to the foreign media and answered questions. Unfortunately, it would be naïve to think that the syndicated media (who have proved themselves to be no friends of Israel over the years) will use this material in a manner that will give Israel’s positions a fair reflection.

Can anything be done? And if so by whom? I am not sure you will like my answers here.

YES something can be done; by YOU.

Write to the international media, and especially your local media now. Tell them that you are disappointed in the way that they have treated the topic in the past. Tell them that before they report on the Goldstone commission, you wanted to make sure that they had all the facts in hand so that they could make proper editorial decisions. Send them the above links and information so that they can do the research and balance their reports. Let them know that the public is watching, and after the reports are published, let them know how they went.
13th-Aug-2009 04:04 pm (UTC) - Pro-active efforts to undercut unfair criticism of Israel's Gaza Incursion
David -

Brilliant! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will send it out to 687 of my closest friends and ask them to take action also.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus
16th-Aug-2009 11:53 am (UTC) - Who Cares?

For goodness sakes, David.

When are you going to stop caring about what the goyim think, and start caring about what HaShem thinks??

PR and Hasbara are nothing less than codependence tripe.

We must stand strong and be firm. We know the truth, and so does HaShem. That's all that matters.

The only way we can be a light unto the nations is by being a example of proper avodath HaShem.

Sometimes that means battling and/or throwing our enemies.

Jews are supposed to hold by halacha {the real, politically incorrect halacha, not that which is made up according to "feelings."}, not by "what the goyim might say."

Furthermore, that wall also does not fit into halacha, and you have yet to justify it hallachicly. You can't.

Milhemeth misswah dohah piquah nefesh.
17th-Aug-2009 06:48 am (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
While what you say about obeying G-d's commandments is correct, it is not correct to say that our PR doesn't matter. As his chosedn people, the representation of the Jews in the media as committing war crimes or crimes against humanity is a desecration of G-d's name. Our job is to make an effort to correct that. השתדלות. After that "Man tracht und Gott lacht".

As far as the fence goes - it saves Jewish lives. That is halachic justification.
23rd-Aug-2009 11:27 am (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
David, perhaps you did not read the last sentence of my post.

We've been through this before. You are wrong.

Milhemeth misswah dohah piquah nefesh. {An obligatory war takes precedence over saving lives.} This is directly from Haza"l and reiterated by the Ramba"m, Hil. Melachim u'Milhamothehem.

We are in an obligatory war according to many rabbanim, including Rav Kaniefsky.

Rabbenu Tzvi Yehudah Kook ztz"l went a step further:

"One must do everything to delay and prevent the evacuation of Jewish strongholds."

Students of his, Rabbis Lior {Hevron-Qiriyath Arba} and Melamed {Beth El} have said very clearly that everything means everything.

I believe that another student of his Rabbi Moshe Tzuriel concurs.

Rabbenu Tzvi Yehudah also said that one must be moser nefesh completely for the sake of the Jewish strongholds.

The wall

A true Torah Zionist {non-mamlakhti, non-galuthi} is against any wall.

You are doing a great disservice by supporting the wall, and supporting the Torah commandment to expel hostile enemies {Num. 33:54-56}, and until we can, make is difficult for them to remain here Ramba"m Hil. AZ 11.

The next time you want to cite "halakhic" justification, pleas cite your sources, like I have.

Western logic and sensibilities are not always compatible with halacha and REAL Jewish thinking.
23rd-Aug-2009 09:05 pm (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
See my note to "A waste of your talents" below. They apply to your comments too.
23rd-Aug-2009 09:12 pm (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
First of all thanks for the convenient reply email.

I am afraid you haven't addressed the issue that by publicizing 90 percent of the truth {that's giving you the benefit of the doubt}, that you are in fact covering up 10 percent of the truth, in this case the politically incorrect-Torah part, even more so if you are, as you say, writing to anyone who will listen, Jew or non-Jew.

If you do not feel equipped to address the Torah issues, which guide EVERY aspect of a Jew's life, not just Kashruth questions and mehadrin skhakh issues, then please do not claim "halachic" justification.

Admit the truth. That's not where you're coming from. You just happen to have a kippah on your head,... I think.
23rd-Aug-2009 09:27 pm (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
Who claimed "halachic" justification? I claimed that Jews need to hear these messages more than non-Jews.
23rd-Aug-2009 09:35 pm (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
The Wall, David, the Wall.

There is NO justification for that stupid "security wall."

That's what I said you were wrong about.
23rd-Aug-2009 09:51 pm (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
Since the security fence went up the number of terror attacks dropped to near zero. Whether the fence physically stopped them, or the Palestinian leadership understood that they had created a problem for themselves doesn't matter. My family is safer. Let's agree to disagree on this topic and move on.
23rd-Aug-2009 10:14 pm (UTC) - Re: Who Cares?
I don't think I have ever seen someone runaway from an issue as much you on the wall.

You said clearly this was halachic justification. I showed you to be wrong, and using Western {ie. non-Jewish} logic.

Address that, and we can move on.

BTW, you family is safer? What about my family in K'far Tapu'ah, Yitzhar and Itamar? The hell with them?
18th-Aug-2009 01:01 am (UTC) - Privileged being employed
I had already provided info about Goldstone study http://mkwrk2.instablogs.com/entry/the-un-war-investigation-richard-goldstones-team-wasted-international-taxpayer-money-in-gaza/, one could say, a very playground for UK-minted (UN Undersecretary- General →Envoy to Middle East →Head of an investigating team in Palestine) privileged for being internationally paid by international community at the UN in this case.

No wonder Associated Press had since then its article of true activities there, withdrawn.

A bit practically acquainted with a kitchen of “UN neutrality and impartiality” respondent is short of data on the Jews employed from around the world by the UN System while there is no visual lack of the Arabs of Palestine wandering international hallways on a predominantly Western taxpayers’ expense.

Michael Kerjman
23rd-Aug-2009 07:26 pm (UTC) - A waste of your talents
David, what I'm about to say is coming from genuine respect.

I've followed your posts for quite a long time and have been impressed with many of the things you've written. But something has changed with you, and the above appeal to join the Hasbara bandwagon shows this.

This essay disturbs me and many others who, until now, have thought you really understood our situation. You're very far from understanding what's about to happen to us here. Or, to give you a well-deserved benefit of the doubt, it's just too overwhelming for you to deal with.

I agree with the anonymous poster who told you that you're wasting your time. Instead of trying to make ourselves look pretty and nice to the goyim, you ought to be hammering on the injustices done by the British during the Mandate era, and their consistent betrayal of the trust placed in them to establish the Jewish homeland.

You ought to be bashing heads (rhetorically) and revealing the horrible culture that Islam is imposing everywhere in the world - a culture born in the blood of Jews and sustained to this day by hatred mandated in their Koran (Sura 9:5 and related Hadith).

Now Islam has the open and unashamed help of a U.S. President who almost certainly is not legally President and whose first order of business was signing an Executive Order sealing all his records... something unheard of until now.

I suggest you study Samson Blinded. In particular the entry titled "The Propaganda of Hate."

It's clear that in the galuth we needed to be weak, "walk-through-the-raindrops" Jews. But the reality is we're not in the galuth anymore, except in our heads.

If what you suggest in this essay could have any effect and could really change things, it would've happened long ago. All the absurd Holocaust Museums are an example of this. The world could care less about this horrific event. Those Horror Museums have only kept alive the idea of what the goyim (Christians and Muslims) are obligated to do to us when they get the first opportunity.

Please, use your rhetorical skills to better use. Enough of the "nice" words and "pretty" notions that have no basis in reality and will never ever do anything except magnify and multiply our troubles.

Ploni Almoni
23rd-Aug-2009 09:04 pm (UTC) - Re: A waste of your talents
There are a number of issues here.

Firstly, you assume that I write for Gentiles. I write for anyone who will listen. In fact, I first started writing because so many of my "Zionist" friends and family main exposure to what was happening in Israel was via the mainstream media. They were so convinced by the constant unquestioning repetition of Palestinian lies and "spin", that they began to question their own support of Israel. Preaching to the choir is much more important than people realise. Otherwise they are likely to sing from someone else's song book.

Secondly, evetry supporter of Israel that takes any form of positive action - forwards an email to friends, writes a letter to a newspaper, or just talks about the content of an email I sent, internalises and re-inforces their own understanding and committment to Israel.

Further, any small act that can be taken to prevent the lies about Israel from spreading reduces the desecration of G-d's name. Every person who reads and believes the lies spread about Israel must question whether G-d's influence is positive or whether G-d exists at all. It is therefore our job to at least TRY to refute the lies. For the sake of our fellow Jews and for the sake of G-d's name.

And if that's the "hasbara bandwaggon" so be it.
23rd-Aug-2009 10:02 pm (UTC) - Re: A waste of your talents
David - I have no doubt whatsoever that you're a genuinely decent person. Years of reading your reports shows this. Please remember this is how I and many many others view you even though some of us are critiquing your position in this matter.

How about you write an addendum to the post, urging your readers to send endless torrents of hand-written letters to their elected representatives DEMANDING legislation to stop the impending dislocation of Jews; DEMANDING full control of Har HaBayit and EVERY Holy site; DEMANDING removal of every person preaches and works against the interests of the Jewish State (especially the "Peace" bloc.

Urge them to go to their City Councils and other public forums and get Resolutions on the record taking a stand on these same subjects.

Since when does preventing others from spreading lies about us have any effect? Please give some evidence for this. To the contrary, the meek little lamb approach was what magnified the horrors of the Shoah - Nobody (not even the Jewish Establishment) listened or cared then, and it's even worse now thanks to the global media and Internet.

You're responding in an uncharacteristically uncritical way and grossly inflating the effect of your original exhortations to appeal to the media so that they write nice and pretty things about us. (I believe you're doing this because of well-intentioned wishful thinking, not clandestine malevolence.)

Not only will no Jewish lives be saved by your original suggestions, in fact it will only make us appear to be the weak, pitiful, "why does everybody hate us" kind of Jews of whom the Galuth produces an overabundance.

Awaken the spirit of Bar Khokba in you (the Bar Khokba before he got arrogant and went crazy).

23rd-Aug-2009 10:11 pm (UTC) - Re: A waste of your talents
Hit the send button too quickly.

The only realistic solution is massive Aliyah, not appeals to pity or useless efforts to "counter the lies" - which is equivalent to Lewis Carroll's maidens determined to mop up the ocean.

Please urge Jews to make Aliyah right away. This isn't hysterical panic, but a cold reading of our history and its relation to current events. Read Rav Teichtal's too-late realization that the Shoah was brought down upon us for failure to come to Israel when Jabotinsky and other "radicals" pleaded with the Jews of Europe to get out of the way of the storm that they saw coming. http://www.tsel.org/torah/emhabanim-eng/index.html

I, too, don't believe that wall has done as much as you seem to think. There's only one way to deal with those who militate against us, and it's not by pretty, kind, clever turns of phrase and appeals to sentimental notions of universal human values. Those values aren't really the basis of the goyim's culture (Christian and Islamic).

Your friends are trying to tell you something, not bash you. Listen to them. You're too valuable to us to be wasted on pursuing postmodern idealistic fantasies.
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