Reprinted from Wallwritings
On one of my earliest reporting trips to Israel/Palestine in the early 1980s, I was assaulted by an Israeli government official wielding a wicked instrument called hasbara, Hebrew for propaganda.
I had latched on to a group of tourists who were being lectured to by an Israeli government official. I asked the official a question about the West Bank.
He whirled around to face me, his face contorted in a condescending smile.
"I know nothing about any West Bank," he answered. "We have a Bank Leumi branch near here, but no West Bank."
We both knew he was lying when he threw that verbal bomb at me, a weapon that Israel uses constantly to preserve a false narrative.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir made popular the key hasbara text for this false narrative, "A land without a people for a people without a land."
To sustain its invading colonial project, Israel constructed its own narrative history, utilizing a steady outpouring of hasbara (propaganda).
Hasbara tolerates no attack on Israel's false narrative. My encounter in the 1980s was with an official who did not want "West Bank" to enter the minds of the tourists he was busy brain-washing.
This official was a soldier in the hasbara army. My question revealed that I was an enemy combatant who must be silenced.
This narrative has infected the world, most especially in the United States, where all centers of power adhere to the false narrative. Those who fail to embrace the narrative are branded with that ultimate mark of shame, "anti-Semitism."
BDS was created to combat the occupation the false narrative sustains. BDS is a non-violent tactic of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against corporations profiting from Israel's occupation.
It was created by secular and religious groups who knew in time it could work to end the occupation just as a similar campaign brought down South Africa's apartheid system.
BDS was not intended to eliminate Israel (a favorite Israeli false claim) but to call the world's attention to the oppressiveness of the occupation.
Is BDS working? To use a Sarah Palin assertion, "you betcha."