December 21, 2009
In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict
My Hebrew-speaking wife assures me a direct translation of Hasbara is “explaining.”Hasbara is not the same as fighting. Hasbara is a refined approach bringing passion and logic to our argument. Hasbara is a lawyer-like making of the public case for Israel. Explain, defend, debate, educate. Fighting is not nuanced in its objective. Fighting is direct; it is about causing the other guy pain. It means making the other guy pay a price for his actions. Fighting is about hurting your opponent. I have great appreciation for Hasbara and I believe there is a significant role for Hasbara in our struggle. But it is not fighting. And it has failed as a strategy in Europe. Continuing to pursue Hasbara objectives in Europe does not pass the marketplace test. Packaging and repackaging the same product in hopes that somehow, somebody in Europe will buy it is counterproductive and a waste of resources. The shelves are stacked sky high with unpurchased Hasbara. Nobody is buying our product. And they have tuned out our sales pitch. Bashing your head against a brick wall over and over will only get you a bloody head. This takes me to the subject of Sweden and the EU Jerusalem initiative. European Union (EU) foreign ministers have, with some modifications, rubber stamped a Swedish proposal to recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Swedish EU initiative provides the framework for international recognition of a soon to be unilaterally declared Palestinian State. “EU Calls For Jerusalem To Be Shared Capital,” is the Boston Globe headline. Hasbara has not dissuaded Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt. Or discouraged his friends even a little. The raw political truth behind the Swedish EU Jerusalem initiative is that Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt’s government gets away with it because there is no political price to pay in Sweden. You will not see Reinfeldt and his Rasputin-like partner Carl Bildt skulking back to Sweden, tail between their legs, apologizing for having bargained away a few details of their EU Jerusalem initiative. Not a bit of it. They won’t say it for publication but all Europe understands the message Reinfeldt and Bildt just delivered. . . We gave the Jews a good whack – and long overdue it was too. Yes indeed, Fredrick Reinfeldt and Carl Bildt showed Europe and the world what Swedish leadership is all about. Not only is there no price to pay for their EU Jerusalem initiative, politically, it’s a stone winner. Do we have the will?