27 Jan

For Immediate Release

The worldwide movement to isolate the Apartheid Palestinian Authority and Hamas regimes gained significant momentum over the last year, as hundreds of artists and performers visiting Israel continued to avoid performing in territories ruled by human-rights abusing Palestinian governments whose very existence violates international law.

Meanwhile, a year after the murder of Italian journalist Vittorio Arrigoni at Palestinian hands, many international journalists refuse to work in Hamas-run Gaza, especially after a series of kidnappings and threats have made it nearly impossible to report from the Strip objectively.

World governments have also stepped up sanctions activities against the Iran-backed, fundamentalist Gaza regime in light of Hamas’ continued support of terror and well-documented record of human rights abuses directed at women, gays and religious minorities.

The international watchdog group Human Rights Watch recently condemned the government in Gaza for war crimes related to their behavior during the recent conflict with Israel. “Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”

HRW and other respected human rights organizations also demanded an investigation into Palestinian Authority’s role in the torture and murder of 18-year-old Haitham Amer, one of many human rights violations attributed to the Palestinian Authority rule.

Meanwhile members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have strongly condemned Palestinian acts of terrorist incitement which may ultimately lead to an increase in global sanctions against Apartheid Palestine.

These and other divestment, sanctions and boycott successes too numerous to list continue to demonstrate the ongoing strength of the DSB movement!

Consider the mock press release above as a thought experiment.

Before this experiment begins, notice how this release has all the hallmarks of a genuine BDS “Year in Review” news story or hyperventilating blog post.

First, there are the trademark ambiguous accusations (such as “Apartheid” or “violation of international law”) presented as unquestionably true facts. Then, you’ve got specific political motivations (ones shared by the BDSers, or – in this case – the DSBers) attributed to individuals (performers, journalists) or organizations (governments) with no evidence demonstrating why we must accept these motivations over equally plausible alternatives.

Finally, you’ve got the juxtaposition of events, statements and quotes meant to give the impression that they are all part of a single coherent story, even though these components may have nothing to do with one another. For instance, I just strung together the Human Rights Watch and Security Council stories and hitched them to my other two stories (of performers and journalists allegedly boycotting “Apartheid Palestine”) to give the impression that they were all part of the same narrative, in this case of the success of my fictitious “DSB movement.” And my use of quotes from Human Rights Watch glosses over the fact that this organization is far more critical of Israel than of the Palestinians (a background I purposefully ignored in order to give the impression that HRW condemnations of the PA and Hamas are far more typical than they actually are).

Oh, and also notice how each of the tricks I use provides just enough wiggle room to worm out of accusation of manipulativeness if ever I’m cornered. For instance, the aforementioned quote from Human Rights Watch is genuine, so why should it be my fault if you choose to incorrectly interpret it in a way that suits my purposes?

OK, so given what we know of this type of propaganda tool, the two questions that will make up our thought experiment include:

(1) If this is so easy to do, why don’t Israel’s supporter play this game too? and…

(2) Given that this type of manipulativeness is so blindingly transparent, why do so many people (including many of us) continue to fall for or respond to it?

To be continued…