Israel Forum Watch; 24-Hour Vilification, Apologetics and Hate from a Fanatically Pro-Israel Viewpoint

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I’ve often pondered the exact purpose of IsraelForum. I don’t mean in general terms, as it’s quite obvious that it strives to maintain a strong pro-Israel voice on the internet. The question in my mind was, how does it attempt to do this.

Israel and Israel-advocates have long recognised that the court of public opinion is an arena of vital concern. Historically, Israel has enjoyed a relatively criticism free existence in this respect. Despite the current fad that ascribes all hostility to Israel as coming from the ‘left’, prior to 1967 Israel was the darling of this same ‘left’. This began to undergo significant change after the Six Day War, when Israel became an occupying power and was further accelerated by the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the 1987 Palestinian Intifada. While world public opinion was important, public opinion in another sphere was undergoing a similar change – in the Jewish community itself. Dissident voices were increasingly Jewish voices.

A vital part of Israels’ appeal to public opinion was the phenomenon of ‘Exodus’ history.
Especially in the US, Leon Uris’s novel would provide a rough reckoning of the knowledge of many people regarding Israel and its’ creation; heroic pioneers fresh from Nazi Germany, striving to make the desert bloom in a land of swarthy and hateful Arabs. This narrative was one where only the new Israeli Jews had a voice. Palestinians were at best a backdrop, part of the scenery, at worst, they didn’t even exist, as Golda Meir asserted. However, events of the past few decades raise questions and introduce doubts into the mythological narrative of Zionism.

IsraelForum is an attempt to reinforce that mythology which is in danger of being exposed to new truths and a compelling Palestinian narrative that is also one of dispossession and injustice. The target is primarily those who still remain loyal, at least partly, to the myths and the aim is to keep them there, protected from uncomfortable truths.

Hence, the forum continually recycles the same ideas; Palestinian otherness, Jewish right to the land, the moral IDF, Israeli striving for peace, Jewish victimhood, the historical justice of Israel, claimed recentness of Palestinian immigration etc. All reinforcing the basic tenants of an ‘Exodus’ style mythological history, while at the same time dehumanising Palestinians and deligitimising the Palestinian narrative. So insecure is the Zionist mythology that it can tolerate no competition.

The idea being, that if that narrative is sufficiently well instilled, it will be impervious to other narratives that clash or compete with it, just as the bodies immune system will identify and reject foreign bodies.

Jewish voices of dissent are particularly threatening. But it doesn’t matter if a small number remain outside the fold, in fact they can be held up as aberrations, anomalies on the fringes which can actually reinforce the dominant narrative. The principle of herd immunity means that as long as a sufficiently high percentage are immune, a disease/virus will not spread easily despite some members of the herd being susceptible. And undoubtedly, the Palestinian story is seen as a dangerous virus by the pro-Israel zealots, one that has to be guarded against. And the best way to do this is to portray their story solely through the lens of terrorism, of a violent and fanatical people who kill without reason, or from blind hate.

So IsraelForum isn’t just a crude propaganda site, which it is, it is also a location for a community to maintain and strengthen a shared outlook, to indoctrinate against a perceived threat, to instill immunity against a foreign invader. IsraelForum is an innoculation against the notion of Palestinian humanity.