SOLAR PLEXUS

A site devoted to to understanding the world we live in and to making a difference.

Bollocks!

Bollocks!  That’s how Mr Tony Weaver, one of the main manne at the Cape Times, described the TIMER Report, which documents the systematic anti-Israel bias of the Cape Times. This was at a meeting with the Zionist Federation Media Team, which I was not prepared to drive 90 km to attend since I predicted it would be an exercise in futility. And so it was.

As author of the Report I called Mr Weaver to confirm, which he, slightly reluctantly, did. So I offered him the use of SOLAR PLEXUS to explain to a wider audience exactly why my Report was “bollocks”. He declined this offer saying he was only prepared to say “bollocks” once and to prepare a reply would be too time-consuming.

Well, how about a debate at the Press Club where I would present my Report and he would have an opportunity to reply? No, that too was declined.

 But Mr Weaver did have more to say. Apparently my claim in the Report that the Cape Times had not reported on the Toulouse-Montauban shootings in March last year was grossly mistaken. According to Weaver there were no less than 14 items dealing with the shootings. That rendered the Report “bollocks” in its entirety. 

Of course, that’s BS. Even a gross error on one item does not invalidate the entire Report, but it does give him and the Cape Times a slender foothold – and being the escape artists that they are, they will exploit it to the maximum.

So of course I have instituted my own checks to see if an error had crept in (and extended it to other incidents as well) and, if so, how did it occur. I will continue to keep you informed.

But now to bigger fish. A few weeks ago the ZF-Media Team (Cape) attended at talk by Mr Amir Sagie, Deputy Director Arms Control Dep. at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel), according to his LinkedIn profile. He was charming, intelligent and promised us (volunteer advocates for Israel mostly) real support.

We were led to believe that he had a staff of “experts” who would supply us with the hard factual material and analysis to help us do our jobs properly. And by that I do not mean obfuscate or deny reality, but to correct misleading claims, to provide contextualisation and to sharpen analysis.

The fact is it was just so much hot air. When actually contacted for information, Sagie has come up short – badly short. This is nothing new. It is longstanding and by now there have been dozens (metaphorically speaking), anguished pleas for Israel to devote some money and professional expertise to the PR arena.

To judge by my experience this has fallen on deaf ears. How come that a country which can show so much competence and creativity in so many arenas cannot get this vital theatre of modern conflict right?

Yes, I know that the playing fields aren’t level. That the Western “liberal” media are living in a conceptual bubble in which Israel is cast as a colonial bully irrespective of the reality unfolding before their eyes. I know that there are a few Israelis themselves only too happy to paint Israel in the same light, and that Israel has to tolerate this as a democracy. I know that their opponents are well-funded and have a good story to sell – victimhood and grievance – two precious commodities in today’s world.

But none of this excuses the blundering incompetence which pervades the PR arena. Just take two recent examples. Firstly, the two dedicated bus lines for Palestinian workers from the West Bank into Israel. Why was the contextualisation not prepared? Why were the allegations of hostile NGOs or news editors not foreseen and counter information provided? Does Israel believe that such matters will remain solely within Israel when they know that a global network devoted to blackening Israel’s name is waiting out there? Haven’t they read the basic books on propaganda?

Or are the critics right – is it just a racist act without justification?  Who can tell in the absence of hard information?

And now the UNICEF Report on the treatment of children in Israeli detention. Haven’t they had enough warning that this is a potential time bomb? How long will it take them to get going in response? Do they need us in the Diaspora to tell them what they should have been doing and should be doing now? Is it really so difficult for Israel to understand it is, and will remain, under scrutiny not suffered by any other country and cannot afford stupid blunders?

Israel is immensely fortunate to have hundreds – indeed thousands – of hardworking and devoted volunteers  willing to give time and effort gratis to a just cause. But we won’t support injustice and we are tired of supporting a country which is not willing to invest an equivalent effort. By and large Israel has a good case, in some aspects an outstanding case. But it needs to up its game by an order of magnitude.

In some future post I will also deal with the response of our communal structures to the challenge of the anti-Israel propaganda industry.

Mike Berger

 

 

 

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2 responses to “Bollocks!

  1. amweston2013 March 8, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Have often wondered why there is little or no PR emanating from Israel to counter the Palestinian PR machine. Tony Weaver is full of his own self importance, in fact he is dizzy with the power of his pen and any journo who won’t engage in a discussion which might just prove him wrong is a coward..

    Like

    • Mike Berger March 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Hi Amy Self-importance seems to be an occupational disease of editors nowadays. I intend to take up some of the Israel PR issues further in due course and include some of the failures of our own communal leadership.. thanks for your support and thoughts

      Like

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