Wake up before the libel is entrenched

Mainstream media portrayal of the current wave of Arab terror in Israel is yet another wake up call for the Israeli government.

The old paradigms of thought and action are no longer relevant in the new media age of viral flash news. The previous explanations-come-excuses of being outmanned and underfunded in countering Anti-Israel bias, bigotry and libels are no longer acceptable and no longer relevant. Once again, Israel is faced with hostile and biased media that knows no bounds in vilifying anything and everything that Israel does to combat the terror that she is facing. It’s high time that we not only recognise that there is a war on words, but that it is war as any other which demands a changes in approach to be able to adapt to deal with it appropriately.

Many of you, especially activists who encounter media bias and disingenuous anti-Israel narratives, will already thinking that this is just another frustration piece on what “they (or we), should’ve, could’ve, should, could and must” do in order to effectively counter the twisted image of Israel that is painted in the media, social media included. I find little point in ranting as much has already been written on this. What we should have and could have done, are not going to retrospectively change anything. I prefer to suggest a channel of thought towards an operative viable solution.

All the makings of another Al-Dura saga are just waiting to explode in our faces. A few days ago marked 15 years since the Al-Dura blood libel, the ramifications of which are still felt. The Al-Dura libel is still alive and its anniversary is marked with renewed invective. I have no doubt that many activists who encounter recent displays of the Al-Dura libel, have a fair amount of proficiency in fighting the words and facts. Random responses that are reliant on activists’ fury and spare time, to random encounters of the Al-Dura libel is, and will never be enough. This Al-Dura libel just one example of just one battle in the war in which we cannot afford a “no show”.

Imagine for a moment, an “Al-Dura libel expert” or a group of experts, whose entire and only objective is “to reset the Al-Dura libel”. This sounds rather intensive, because it is, and also should be. Most activists know a little about every issue at hand but not many are experts on one issue. This has to change and can change. Breaking down the entire “Case for Israel” umbrella into smaller pockets of expertise, make the mission both more professional and manageable.

Change is a twofold process, the first being: recognition of the fact that the old limping methods are less effective than they were. Once recognized as such, exploration of new innovative suggestions for change becomes a whole lot easier. The “Case for Israel” umbrella covers many different categories and issues from green tech to campus activity to media bias, to anti-Semitism, to name just a few. These sub-categories can be further broken down into local or specific country expertise, language, mentality and target audience.

By definition, the Israeli government, with all the different ministries and departments that tackle the various categories and issues, cannot possibly deal with each and every one. Thus, the Israeli government has to recognise, support, and cooperate with the organisations, NGO’s and individual activists that specialise in each niche. While the government obviously cannot (and perhaps should not) employ and/or fund these organisations and individuals, there is however ample room and opportunity to facilitate much needed assistance, information, resources and cooperation. In practical terms, (without delving into the envisioned model for obvious reasons), this would mean connecting islands of activists (organisations and individuals) with the abovementioned information, resources.

It is uncanny and unacceptable that successfully making the case for Israel is topped by organisations such as StandWithUs, Honest Reporting, MEMRI, Israel Forever Foundation, PALmedia Watch, amongst many, many others. There are individuals too – Richard Kemp, Ryan Bellerose, Father Gabriel Naddaf, Mordechai Kedar, Hen Mazzig and many others who do sterling work in making the case for Israel. (Since there are too many examples to cite, I randomly picked the last few organisations and individuals that I came across. Sincerely apologies to those not mentioned here).

The game rules have changed and large hierarchal organisations cannot provide the fast-action quick-response that is required in the new media age. The enormous human resource of dedicated activists and willing volunteers who can and do provide almost immediate responses, is almost completely untapped. Institutionalised methods of tapping into this crucial potential have to be formulated if we aspire to win battles in Israel’s war on words.

About the Author
Ex-South African Israeli and social media addict running after too many creative ideas and children.