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Mixed Messages: Arabs Challenge Israeli Hasbara

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Israeli officials warned, yet again, of some Islamic extremist menace at work involving Hamas and Hezbollah, and others warned of an Iranian plot. Some praised their fallen Arab allies, while taking pride in Israel for being a fortress of stability, while others called to speed up the "peace process." Some denied any association between the absence of peace and Arab revolution. Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, who duly accused Iran of attempting to exploit the situation, chastised Western countries for disowning their beleaguered allies in the region.

The fractured nature of the latest round of Israeli official propaganda could partly be blamed on the element of surprise. Israel, which bought into its own dehumanization of its Arab enemies for so long, couldn't fathom such scenarios as popular non-violent revolutions underway in the Middle East.

But even if a solid, streamlined, and certainly well-financed Israeli hasbara campaign is launched to better manage Israel's crisis, one wonders if it could really make much of a difference. If a multi-million dollar campaign to hide or "explain" the bloodbath wrought by Israel in Gaza in 2008-09 have largely failed, Israel cannot possibly succeed in hiding the fact that it is no longer the "only democracy in the Arab world" -- or that it was ever a true democracy to begin with.

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American-Arab journalist Ramzy Baroud is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London), now available at Amazon.com

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The Arabs do not need to challenge Israeli Hasbara... by syed mahdi on Saturday, Mar 5, 2011 at 7:58:02 AM