Managing debate on Zionism

Mick Hall

If any one has ever posted a critical comment to a web site about the State of Israel and especially the IDF's behavior towards the Palestinian or Lebanese people, and then found yourself under a torrent of abuse from correspondents who are reacting towards you as if you were Osama bin Laden's right hand man, then they might be interested in a web site that was mentioned recently on the Slugger O'Toole web site. Whether the site was set up by the Israeli State, or one of the many front organizations it sponsors around the world it is difficult to say, but undoubtedly its sole purpose is to combat the influence of Israel's opponents on the internet and in the wider media. It even provides a handy toolbar which can be downloaded so one can be up to date with the latest IDF incursion into Arab lands and will provide the spin needed to excuse such behaviour.

The site is a first as far as I'm aware, as it is not there simply to circulate information about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its current war on the Lebanese people, but it is also designed as an instant rebuttal tool. In today's world in which 24 hour cable news channels are hungry for ever more sources of news and information, not least from the internet, governments are ever searching for ways to manipulate the content that reaches our homes via our TV and computer screens.

Thus the Internet has become an important target for those who wish to censor and manipulate what we get to watch and read, for whilst it rarely sets the agenda, it can set the pace of reporting and at times can and does set the tone of the mass media's reportage. For example, the results of a CNN or BBC opinion poll would in all probability be broadcast on their nightly news program. In the case of the BBC, it may also be broadcast on BBC World Service and their local Radio and TV networks. So one would be naive not to believe that any government, being the secretive beasts most of them are, would like to have the means to influence the said opinion poll in their favor, the more so in wartime.

The Israeli web site is a vehicle which enables Israel to do just this, plus to make sure its supporters stay on message, no matter which part of the world they live in, plus making sure when putting the case for whatever provocation or military adventure Israel is currently engaged in, their supporters do not flay about all over the place making it all the easier for their political opponents to challenge them. In this it is an extension of the Excalibur computer system which worked so well for New Labour in the 1997 and subsequent General Elections. This program originated with the Clinton Democrats in the USA and was designed to analyze and flag up all incoming news and critical comment, so that an almost instant rebuttal or straw man argument could be put out before any real damage could be done to the campaign of their candidate.

Like all the most effective web sites and hi-tech machinery, is both highly sophisticated and yet simplistic, as it mainly sticks to a small number of core positions to justify the occupation of the West Bank or the Israeli war on Lebanon. They clearly feel information overload will only confuse their core supporters and those non aligned people they wish to win over. So giyus bangs away at things that strike a cord with most of us via humanities common decency. Terrorists are bad, defending hearth and home is good, Iran's dreadful human rights record is a disgrace, the refusal of the Lebanese government to disarm Hizbullah means Israel must do it for them, if only the Arab street would stop opposing the occupation of the West Bank and Israel's continued military incursion into Gaza and southern Lebanon, then all would be well, etc, etc.

On the surface the line giyus propagates may seem reasonable to those who have little knowledge about the region and its history, but if one takes the time to search out the truth, and it is there at the click of the google search button, then the giyus line is revealed as having more holes in it that a large slice of Swiss cheese. But that is why Israel demands of its supporters via giyus that they stick to their agenda rigidly. For if they move beyond its confines, it leaves them open to participating in rational argument about who is exactly occupying whose land; that democracy is about accepting the results of elections even when people you hate are elected to office; and it is not logical or reasonable to demand your opponents support UN resolutions when you yourself refuse to abide by a shed load of the said same UN resolutions.

However, as anyone knows who has had the unpleasant experience of having had any any dealings with pro Zionist fanatics on the internet, they refuse to engage in democratic debate. Instead, they follow the giyus plan and rant and rave at their opponents as if we are sub humans and blanket all of us who oppose an Israel that occupies other people's land against UN resolutions like 242 as being supporters of terrorists, who are unworthy of civilized debate. If anyone doubts this I suggest they go to internet sites like the Guardians Comment is Free and read the intensity and hostility those who are working from a giyus script display to all who disagree with them.

Finally now that has come into the public eye, it is worth analyzing just how close the language used by President GW Bush and his satrap doormat Tony Blair is to that which this web site encourages. They, like giyus, call all who refuses to bow to US hegemony in the region terrorists, they continuously blame Iran and Syria for inflaming the region by arming and supporting Hizbullah, whilst the governments which they lead have poured billions of dollars of high tech weaponry into Israel. They, like guyis, wish for an International force, preferable Nato, which will police Lebanon against the wishes of a majority of its people—and this only months after Bush and Blair themselves condemned Syria's presence in Lebanon, with the threat of sanctions if it did not withdraw, for doing the very same thing.



This article first appeared in the Blanket

August 2006

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