The Propaganda War

Global developments have changed the nature of the local and global warfare, as the war of propaganda determines winners and losers. While in the past, the creators of video games attempted to copy actual battlefield scenarios in developing their gaming framework, today, the fantasies of video game creators have in fact dictated the realities of war. The propaganda wars of today also utilize virtual reality for inspiration and ideas. In today’s reality, the war of propaganda over public opinion determines the fate of regional and global conflicts more so than actual the actual military battlefield. Victory on the battlefield has no meaning without winning the war for public opinion.

Today, the great superpowers must deal with small organizations who can cause great damage by spreading simple slogans. Terror organizations have been able to impose their views and approaches towards reality upon a sympathetic public opinion. Thus, terror organizations are able to create masses of supporters and undermine their enemies.

Until the West adopts a strategy for dealing with the propaganda, manipulations, and outright lies spread by terror organizations, it will find itself fighting a losing battle, always portrayed as a Goliath, brutally oppressing the defenseless.

Indeed, terrorists have learned how to manipulate slogans that pierce the consciousness, while Israel and the West respond with complex messages that utilize logic and historical contexts to make their arguments. However, without utilizing simple messages to get a message across.

Lenin once stated that a great victory of communism was the fact that the “idiot” intellectuals of Western Europe supported his cause of global Communist revolution. Such is the case today, as the West has become sympathetic to the terrorists’ skewed version of reality. Indeed, during the Cold War, the West faced the Soviet Iron Curtain, which ensured that propaganda could exit the Soviet Union to the West, but that messages from the West could not enter. The “Bamboo Curtain” raised by Chinese Communism was also a one-way curtain, from which messages could exit, but never enter. This same type of curtain today divides Islamic fundamentalism from the West. Terror inspired propaganda passes through this “curtain of lies” and infects the West, but the West’s messages fail to penetrate to the other side. The greater the lie and the greater the disinformation, the more chance the propaganda has of infecting its target. This curtain of lies is invisible to the public and is able to manipulate the public opinion of any target.

Israel’s existence is threatened by this curtain of lies, as it casts doubt upon Jewish history and tradition, the Bible, and the Jewish connection to the Holy Land – lies which have been accepted in many places in the world. Indeed, the battle against the curtain of lies is a Sisyphustic, unending battle that we face with our teeth clenched. It is a war that threatens Israel’s present and future, and could threaten democracies across the world, if not dealt with properly.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center