Dmitri Orlov: Israeli Public Relations Fail

This post is by Dmitri Orlov. If you like him, go buy his books and support his page or if not complain about him in the comments. Reposted here by request and for public interest certainly not because of any agreement with opinions herein.


Observing the events in Palestine/Israel for almost two months now from the height of my own bell tower in Russia, there is one peculiarity I couldn't help but notice: the Jews of Israel, and quite a few Jews elsewhere, seem quite incapable of grasping some very basic tenets of public relations. Interns learn these on their first day.

1. The Israelis would like the whole world to feel pity for them and to commiserate with them after the Hamas attacks of October 7 while at the same time forcing the world to feel outrage toward it with its murder of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West bank including thousands of women and children. Pity and outrage are incompatible like love and hate, purely physiologically, in terms of brain chemistry. A PR campaign that produces both pity and outrage simultaneously is doomed from the start.

People who wish to dig a little deeper would find that what Hamas did with their October 7th attack was actually quite clever. Previously, the leaders of Arab nations were ready to write off the Palestinians and make peace with Israel for the sake of some filthy lucre; that is now politically impossible for them. Previously, the Israeli army was looking quite invincible; now, after first sleeping through the attack, then overreacting and killing lots of their own civilians, then inconclusively treading sand in Gaza for almost two months while scoring up huge losses of both armor and personnel, Tsakhal is looking rather bleak and pale. Oh, and Netanyahoo seems to be on his way out, and perhaps off to jail, which is, from the Palestinian perspective, not too significant (one Israeli PM is worth another, since they are all Zionists) but it's still a nice to have. Netanyahoo, being a great opportunist but none too bright, made a promise to "destroy Hamas." But can Hamas be destroyed? It is a national liberation movement; as such, it can be repressed but to destroy it is to kill all Palestinians — i.e., genocide. And what will that do for Israel's public relations?

2. The Israeli/Jewish PR machine likes to slander anyone who dares to speak out in opposition to Israel's actions with the charge of "antisemitism." But Jews are not the only Semites on the planet; there are also the Arabs and, in particular the Palestinian Arabs. And the ways that the Jews have been treating the Palestinians since well before the original Nakba (disaster) of 1948 have been nothing if not antisemitic. The quote "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" springs readily to any English Major's mind. In 1948 the crafty British crafted a permanent conflict in the Middle East through the establishment of the State of Israel that can only be resolved — and, mark my words, will be resolved — through war. Israel is the most antisemitic state there is or could possibly be, doing to the Palestinians pretty much what the German Nazis had done to the Jews (with the possible exception of the gas chambers). How is that not antisemitic? This bit of the Israeli/Jewish PR machine has unwittingly put itself into the situation of the thief who shouts "Hold the thief!" the loudest. Please look down, frown and move your head slowly from side to side in silent disapproval of such a PR travesty.

3. When fundraising, it is very important to at least pretend to be respectful and humble. It is inadvisable to combine calls to charity and appeals to a lofty cause with threats, bragging and attempts at extortion. Israel cannot continue to exist without regular infusions of billions of dollars in money and weapons, mainly from the United States. And yet the American-Israeli Political Action Committee makes no secret of the fact that it "owns" something like half of the US Congress, recycling some of the billions appropriated to it as campaign finance contributions. That same Netanyahoo is on the record, on camera, saying that, in effect, Israel can do whatever it wants and still get the money thanks to the power of its lobbyists in the US. That is neither respectful nor humble: it is an affront to the American voters because it tells them, to their faces, that they have no choice but to spend their tax money on Israel because Israel owns their government — they don't, Israel does, so give us your money, you silly, powerless Americans! Again, a tiny country that, like Blanche DuBois, has "always depended on the kindness of strangers" and that will shrivel up and blow away if deprived of American largesse really shouldn't brag about its political clout in a foreign land because that is not, politically, a steady state solution. Why can't the Jews, being so literate, read the writing on the wall? מנא מנא תקל ופרסין‎

4. Do not appeal to justice from the position of hypocrisy and double standards; to pose as someone deserving of consideration, you must appear as just, forthright and upstanding yourself. In particular, do not even attempt to claim compensation for a crime of which you yourself are guilty. And yet Israel is attempting to do just that. Does Israel have the right to exist? Well, first things first, does Palestine have the right to exist? (Because, you know, Palestine came first.) How can Israel deny an internationally recognized right to Palestine, yet claim that same right for itself?

In claiming that Israel has the right to exist, the Israelis/Jews often refer to the Bible; according to the Book of Exodus, as well as a few others, God gave Palestine to the Jews. Yet a solid majority of Jews don't actually believe in God — they are either atheist or agnostic. Most of them go through the motions of the rituals and abide by the various strictures as a price of social inclusion, not an act of faith and conscience. And yet they appeal to those who believe to grant them a right that they say was granted to them by a god, which they don't believe exists, as an act of faith and conscience? If that's not the height of hypocrisy, what is?

5. Do not make appeals for exclusive, special privileges based on a nonexclusive victimhood status. Israelis/Jews often appeal to the Holocaust as a justification for all sorts of special considerations that they feel they must be granted. In particular, the phrase "Never again!" tends to be used a lot. And yet during WWII more Slavs and Gypsies died in concentration camps at the hands of the German (and Ukrainian, and Polish, and Lithuanian...) Nazis than Jews. But somehow the Russians don't keep talking about the thousands of Russian kids that were bled to death to provide blood transfusions to wounded Wehrmacht soldiers and crying "Never again!" They do remember, and commemorate, but in private, because, if you are Russian it is shameful to prostitute your dead for the sake of political advantage. Similarly, the Gypsies certainly remember their dead and commemorate them in long laments that they perform for each other, in private, not for the tourists or anyone else.

Beyond the question of basic decency and modesty, there is the matter of cognitive dissonance: it is not possible to claim special victim status from genocide while... perpetrating a genocide, on camera, 24/7, for close to two months! That, friends, just doesn't work. Holocaust is dead; don't use it, move on.

6. Do not draw false parallels between your own plight and that of others. It tends to elicit loud cries of "Whattt?!!!1!" and the entire PR gambit falls flat on its face. My good friend Jim Kunstler recently wrote the following:

"You may have lost count of how many times Russia has been invaded across the vast plain of Ukraine, but the Russians have not forgotten and their attitude about it is synonymous with the phrase Never Again. What part of that did the USA, Germany, France, and the rest not understand?"

Comparing Israel to Russia is like comparing a paramecium to a blue whale. Beyond the preposterousness of that comparison, the Russian attitude is not "Never Again"; it is "We'll repeat the lesson as many times as we have to." France was taught its lesson at noon on March 31, 1814, when Russian cavalry, headed by Czar Alexander I, triumphantly rode into Paris. That afternoon, the Cossacks went bathing in the Seine — in the nude, as Cossacks are wont to do. France will never forget that lesson; the problem with it at the moment is that it is a US/NATO colony, but that's fixable. Germany was taught its lesson far more harshly in May of 1945 with the Red Army rolling into Berlin; that lesson is even fresher in German minds, but Germany is also at the moment a US/NATO colony, and that's also fixable. London's and Washington's lessons are forthcoming; small fry like Ottawa, Canberra and Warsaw will get the message and stand down; and then we shall finally have some peace.

I wrote to Jim in response: "I am rather disappointed by your last post. It is emotional and partisan and doesn't qualify as analysis. In particular, the comparison between Russia and Israel ("never again") stands out as bizarre. To start with, it fails because Russia in the former Ukraine is the winner whereas Israel in the future Palestine is the loser." Jim didn't respond well but I forgive him. It's hard for Jews, especially the older ones, to let go of the idea of a Jewish State. But they will have to. מנא מנא תקל ופרסין

Oh, and, just in case you haven't noticed, Russia has just hung out a welcome shingle: !مرحبا بكم أيها الفلسطينيون

A future generation of Palestinian lads, fit, educated, armed and trained, will say: "In my native Daghestan, I am a Palestinian Arab; in Russia, I am a Daghestani, and outside Russia I am just a Moslem Russian. Now, what about that historical homeland of ours?" Welcome to the New World Order; it is not going to be just multilateral — it is going to be fractal!

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