The PR War – 3 Points for the State of Israel… and everyone else
Since October 7, I’ve become a news junky. The fantastic news is that Israel seems to be winning the physical war. But the accompanying awful part is that Israel (and the Jewish people in general) seem to be losing the PR War. To that end, I would like to propose three ideas we should all keep in mind whenever we speak about the situation. I believe that if the state of Israel were to bear these three points in mind, the PR war might shift.
Point 1 – Never approximate our statistics and our casualties.
I keep hearing repeatedly that there were 1,200 people killed in the October 7th massacre. Even this past weekend when I was with an Israeli member of the parliament, she kept referring to the casualties as 1,200.
But 1,200 is NOT the number.
Approximating numbers is the antithesis of who we are as the Jewish and Israeli people. They are not numbers or statistics, but lives with names, families, homes, loved ones, etc. When I look up the number of deaths from the October 7th massacre, the vast majority of sources say “approximately 1,200 people.” For us to round numbers (up or down) is to treat people the same way that Hamas does (point no. 2).
From what I can gather, the exact number of murders from October 7th is 1,228 – that number was not easy to come by. It includes: 855 Israeli civilians (including 36 children and 71 foreigners), as well as 373 security forces, plus 239 hostages (many of whom are feared to already be dead). As forensic evidence presents itself, the numbers will likely shift. Regardless, whenever we speak about the horrors of October 7th, we need to be as exact as we can be.
Point No. 2 – Lean on the Generalized Nature of Hamas’ Statistics
Whenever someone talks to me about Israeli attempted genocide and 25,000 civilians casualties, I stop them. How do you know those numbers? Those are numbers reported by the same people who raped, murdered and pillaged 1,228 innocent civilians. Those are numbers from a reporting body with an agenda and a history of exaggeration.
And how does Hamas define a civilian? A factory worker who picks up and fires an RPG, is he still a civilian? What about a woman who plants a bomb? Or worse, a child who is sent into battle with a gun? Are they still civilians? Hamas thinks so.
Every time we tacitly accept the 25,000 number (which seems to happen in every interview I hear) we add credence to that statistic. We need to continuously cast doubt and never accept a vague accusatory number.
Point No. 3 – Change the Dialogue
Palestinians annually receive billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. From 2014-2020, the UN gave $4.5 billion dollars with additional funds from European, the US and other governments. That money was supposed to be used for improving the lives of Palestinians, specifically improving their housing. But the incredible web of underground tunnels tells a different story. It is apparent that tremendous resources were used for a warring agenda. How much of that humanitarian aid was used for nefarious purposes?
Whenever someone speaks about the strife of Gazans and the need for aid, it is our job to call out how that aid is used. Where is the outrage that so many resources have been used to fuel a war rather than for the betterment of the people? Where is the outrage that military outposts have been housed in or below civilian institutions like schools and hospitals? Where is the outrage that a hospital was bombed by Islamic Jihad? There was worldwide outrage when they accused Israel, but silence when it was proven to have been hit from within.
Our job as defenders of Israel is to redirect the conversation.
Thankfully, UNRWA is finally being held accountable. The participation of UN employees in the massacre is egregious, but so are the emails from within the organization calling for public execution of Israelis. We need to know that the United Nations defines a Palestinian refugee differently than any other people in the world. Palestinians maintain the status as refugees despite Israel withdrawing from Gaza 18 years ago. Palestinians are refugees despite that in 2012, the UN renamed it as The State of Palestine. The original number of refugees designated in Gaza was 360,000 people. Today, 4 generations later, that number is 5.9 million. How is it possible? The UN defines refugees as anyone descended from Palestinian refugees including adopted children and it takes nothing else into account of that definition. No other people or country has a similar designation. Talk about a double standard… redirect the conversation.
We are all ambassadors of Israel. We are all interacting regularly with people who don’t know the facts. We need to know them; we need to be specific; and we need to have them at our fingertips. It is the only chance we have at winning back the advantage in the PR war.