How the Arabs Manipulate the Media, Israelis and the West

News Abroad

Dr. Grobman is a Hebrew University trained historian. His is the author of a number of books, including Nations United: How The U.N. Undermines Israel and The West, Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? and a forthcoming book on Israel's moral and legal right to exist as a Jewish State to be published by Balfour Books.

“One need not destroy one's enemy. One need only destroy his willingness to engage." -- Sun Tzu

The recent Arab riots on the Temple Mount and inside Jerusalem’s Old City are part of the ongoing war against Israel. The Arabs employ a number of psychological techniques to demoralize Israelis in order to convince them that their county has usurped Arab lands, is unjust and morally bankrupt. Their ultimate objective is for Israel to abandon the idea of a Jewish state, allow the Arabs to establish their own country, and then purge the Jews.

In this “war of nerves,” the Arabs borrow from revolutionaries including Carlos Marighella, a leader of the Brazilian guerrilla organization ALN. Marighella urged his followers to use the mass media, foreign embassies, the U.N., international commissions, and Vatican representatives to spread their lies and false rumors in order to discredit the government. Acts of terror, assassination, sabotage and kidnappings further create an environment of uncertainty, anxiety and apprehension. 1

During the first Intifada (December 1987 to October 1991), the Arabs manipulated the international press by placing individuals affiliated with the PLO and other Islamic political groups into their media bureaus. Rather than hide these connections, the Arabs used them to enhance their attraction to their employers. 2

Developing personal relationships with Israelis who oppose Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, meeting with them in Israel and taking them on tours of the refugee camps helped solidify support for the Arabs, and created a sense of guilt among those who know little about the history of the conflict .3

Semantics is another weapon used against Israel. Instead of describing insurrections as riots, the Arabs call them demonstrations. This is in keeping, they assert, with their basic right in a democracy to protest against unfair government policies. What they don’t say is that the riots are designed to hasten the demise of Israel. After the Arabs continually used the term “demonstration,” members of the media adopted it as their own.

When a demonstration becomes violent after the military intervenes to disband the crowd, the Arabs allege that they are being oppressed. Often they charge Israelis with committing atrocities. This is after trying to goad the army into committing indiscriminate acts of force, particularly against women and children.

Contrived shootings, protests, arrests for the Western media is another technique Arabs use. Dutch television showed an Arab boy being aggressively arrested by Israeli soldiers while he was walking on the street. To ensure that the TV crew noticed that he was “innocent,” he yelled to them to take notice of what was happening.

An investigation later revealed that the youth had purposely violated curfew after seeing the TV crew. He knew he would be apprehended, that his violent arrest would be recorded and the broadcast would help to discredit Israel. This was an isolated event, yet Israeli intelligence claimed that journalists knew how much they would have to pay for a stone throwing or a demonstration. The Arabs instructed the journalists when and where to stand in order to get the best shot. 4

At the beginning of the second intifada in 2000, Muhammad al-Dura, a 12 year-old Palestinian boy, was reportedly shot by Israelis in a cross fire near the Netzarim crossing in Gaza while being shielded by his father. The episode was filmed and broadcast on France TV 2.

Though few Americans ever heard of Muhammad al-Dura, to “a billion people in the Muslim world, “ his name had become “an infamous symbol of grievance against Israel” and “a potent symbol of the genocidal intentions of Israel's government. “ 5

After conferring with Israeli soldiers and photographers who were at the scene and reviewing unedited videotape from the area of the incident, Israeli physicist Nahum Shahaf found that the Palestinians had cooperated with foreign journalists and the U.N. to arrange this staged production.6

Historian Richard Landes began investigating the case as a blood libel after seeing this incident as “One Jew allegedly kills a gentile child in cold blood, and all Jews everywhere are responsible. That's the beginning of the wave of anti-Semitism that literally has marked the 21st century, and we have not seen the end of it. This is where cyberspace can play a crucial role.”7

Landes coined the phrase “Pallywood” to describe this and other “pernicious productions staged by Palestinians in front of (and often with cooperation from) Western camera crews, for the purpose of promoting anti-Israel propaganda by disguising it as news.”

While examining footage from another alleged incident, Landes noticed a Palestinian with “blood” on his forehead ostensibly from a head wound running without any sign of trauma. 8

After giving what appears to be a Molotov cocktail to a colleague, the Palestinian darts into the crowd. In the next frame, he is put on a stretcher and taken to an awaiting ambulance, while keeping his head high though allegedly suffering from a head injury. “It’s really obvious that it’s fake,” Landes concludes.9

In the Gaza beach explosion on June 9, 2006, eight Palestinians were killed and 30 or more injured. Though very compelling evidence shows they were killed by Palestinian land mines, the Palestinians accused Israel.

The foreign media sided with the Arabs. Landes noted “And herein lies another real tragedy: The eagerness with which the media seize upon anything negative about Israel, and the reluctance with which they reveal anything negative about the Palestinians, have radically skewed the world's view of what's going on here.”10

In Rhetoric, Aristotle claimed that “Men have a sufficient natural instinct for what is true, and usually do arrive at the truth.” When it comes to the Arabs, many in the West and Israel have yet to use their natural instinct.

1. Carlos Marighella, Mini-Manuel Of The Urban Guerrilla (Toronto: Abraham Guillen Press and Arm The Spirit, 2002), 28-32; Maurice Tugwell, “Terrorism and Propaganda: Problem and Response,” Conflict Quarterly (Spring 1986): 5; Abu Iyad with Eric Rouleau, My Home, My Land: A Narrative of The Palestinian Struggle (New York: Times Books, 1978), 69, 136-138; Shaul Mishal and Reuben Aharoni, Speaking Stones: Communiqués from the Intifada Underground (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1994).
2. Ron Schleifer, Psychological Warfare in the Intifada (Portland, Oregon: Sussex Academic Press, 2006), 94.
3. Ibid. 31, 78.
4. Ibid.21, 48, 95, 97.
5. James Fallows, “Who Shot Mohammad al-Dura,” Atlantic Monthly (June 2003); Nidra Poller, “Myth, Fact, and the al-Dura Affair,” commentarymagazine.com (September 2005); Doreen Carvajal, “The Mysteries and Passions of an Iconic Frame,” NYT (February 7, 2005); James Fallow, “News on the al-Dura front-Israel finding that it was staged,” Atlantic Monthly (October 2, 2007); Martin Patience, “Dispute rages over al-Durrah” BBC News (November 8, 2007); Gabriel Weimann, Communicating Unreality: Modern Media and the Reconstruction of Reality (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 1999).
6. Amnon Lord, “Who Killed Muhammad Al-Dura? Blood Libel-Model 2000” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs No. 482. (July 15, 2002)
7. Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, “One on One: Framing the Debate” The Jerusalem Post (March 27, 2008). For more information on Professor Landes efforts in this area, please see Second Draft; The Augean Stables (blog) and Understanding the Goldstone Report. 8. Ibid.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.

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Peter Kovachev - 11/7/2009

Jaako,just what on earth is the "Jewish version of history," and what evidence do you have for Israel having even moderate competence in promoting its cause, much less being a "master of media-manipulation through decades"?

Elliott, above, is being much too kind and polite and has wasted good words on your post. I won't. My guess is that you are clueless about the topic, that you can't articulate one specific objection Dr. Grobman's arguments, have never read whatever "sorry little book" you are refering to, and that you have no idea what the word "propaganda" actually means, only that it sounds bad.

Elliott Aron Green - 11/7/2009

Jaako, you do recall, don't you, that in the 1930s and 1940s the German Nazis' anti-Jewish propaganda campaign was in full force? You do know that that campaign helped prepare the way for the mass murder of approx. 6 million Jews? You know that Jews were subject to religious prejudice in Europe from the 4th century on --if this did not start earlier? And you know that this hatred was encouraged by the state church in most of Europe well into the 20th century? So the Nazis' anti-Jewish propaganda fell on fertile ground in many parts of Europe, although not everywhere. Now, we may ask, against that background, whether all Europeans are mentally and/or psychologically capable of judging Jews fairly.

Add to the legacy of Judeophobic hatred and prejudice the Arabs' advantages of possessing huge oil reserves, large populations, large territories, etc. Since Western govts often think and act more in terms of realpolitik than justice and truth, whom --which side-- would the European govts and their govt-influenced media be inclined to favor?

Of course, the Western press is not uniform in its approach to the Middle East and the Jewish-Arab conflict, but your view seems naive to me. Just when did the press that was anti-Jewish so often before WW2 become pro-Israel?

Jaakko Juhani Wallenius - 11/7/2009

It's funny how one sided and partisan things can be published by a "trained historian" when he is enough in love with one side of a bitter and unresolved conflict.
The Zionist movement and the Jewish state created by it has always been a master of media-manipulation through decades, but when the other side uses their tactics, they cry foul play.
In fact a surprising number of people have bought the Jewish version of history without ever questioning it in any way.
This sorry little book does not add anything new to this and I strongly suggest that this kind of one-sided propaganda should not be treated as serious work of history, even if it is part of the serious propaganda war that is currently going on in the Middle East and as such a interesting evidence for future historians.

Peter Kovachev - 11/4/2009

Gosh, Omar, every time I return to these pages I keep hoping your handlers will have splurged on a "An Idiot's Guide on How to Win an Argument" for your...and everyone elses...benefit.

The bottom line is that you again failed to grasp the salient points in an article which is about concrete examples of Arab manipulation of Western media. Then again, your Goebbelsian repetitions of tired old Arafat-era agitprop to the shrinking pool of political naifs will surely get a few claps here and there. Images of a sad rendition of Tom Jones tunes by a tone-deaf has-been before a smattering of alcoholic lounge lizards dripping Brilcream. But I digress.

As for the demonstration-riot thing you sunk your teeth into, I see you've got things somewhat confused again. No matter, I'll try to clarify and help you muddle through.

"Arab riots" is the term media most frequently used up until recently to describe ineptly organized and brutal attempts to massacre Jews. Ok, I do sympathise with the fact that this term, "Arab riots," may cause some embarassment. Alas, the first word denotes the true nationality and self-identification of the said subjects, while the latter accurately describes the phenomenon. By *demonstration* we usually mean an orderly public display, or manifestation, of a position. A *riot* is when a bunch of violent idiots go ape over something and run around as a mob to loot, hurt or kill. For practical examples, what the Iranian opposition has been trying to do when not shot, beaten or raped by the mullocracy is an example of a classical demonstration. Your "Palestinians," on the other hand, engaged in a classical Arab riot in the Temple Mound precincts, with all the familiar markers of wild rumours, hysteria and mindless mayhem and most importantly, the intent to hurt, kill and damage. While the passions were spontaneous (which kind of defines passions) and the event itself was historically and culturally predictable. The fact that these riots were planned and cynically orchestrated from the "top" by people with some brains, to be executed by those without, doesn't really matter; it's the act which defines the term, and some act that was. Thank goodness that the Israeli police exercised skill and moderation and that the majority of Israeli Arabs quickly saw through the manipulation.

Words, you see, only have meaning and use when they can distinguish. Otherwise we might as well go back to grunting and gesticulating, right? In this case, the latest Arab attempt to confuse the English language threatens to erase the distinction between say, a bunch of grey-haired ladies marching in front of the city hall and, for example, a mob of crazed criminals reacting to lies by cynical terrorist leaders.

omar ibrahim baker - 11/3/2009

Zionist Jews and non Jews are indeed a curious breed when it comes to the moral and legal acrobatics they perform and the resourcefulness and endless inventiveness they demonstrate to defend and justify their colonialist project in Palestine.

Being subconsciously,and increasingly
consciously, aware of the huge unforgivable crime they committed in establishing their own "nation/state" on the ruins of another community they feel at a loss on how best to justify and defend what is inescapably an inherent colonialist conquest that led tothe establishment
of a colony.
They used with some success for some time then abandoned several lines of defense foremost among which were:
a-“A land with no people for a people with no land.”
b- A Divinely “promised land" to a "chosen people"
c- A "beacon of democracy" in an undemocratic milieu and an "outpost of Western civilization" in the Levant
d-A Jewish "survival necessity"
e-AN act of “atonement",by the West, for crimes committed against them.
f - The free exercise of their right to "self determination"
g-The Western vanguard in the "Battle of Civilizations."

None of these lines of defense cum justification failed to conceal for long the objectively indisputable fact that, by modern norms, practices and universal legal standards ,Israel is in essence an alien body forcedly implanted on the region via a successful colonialist conquest that led to the establishment of a colony over the ruins of the indigenous community of the land they coveted.
The mode that colony was, still is, being populated unerringly confirmed its racist character and the “chosen people” / “exceptionalism”, with concurrent privileges and prerogatives, it claims..

All of Israel’s lines of defense are being substantially overrun by thoughtful consideration and /or the detection of their inherent falseness:

(a) Was soon brushed aside for its apparent falsehood and conscious fabrication

(b)Was laughed away for its basic ridiculousness and retrogressive nature

(c)Was immediately disproved by actual Israeli practices at inception and post establishment and is presently being increasingly dropped, together with (g) by a growing Western awareness of the counter productive output from a Western political and cultural identification with Israel and an outright unequivocal rejection for identification with a racist colony

(d)Was and is rejected on the principle that you can not establish or justify the legitimacy of an act by committing an illegitimate act.

(e)Is being turned down for the universally acknowledged ethical/legal standard that it is totally unacceptable and is essentially illegal and immoral to undo a certain crime by committing an other crime ; particularly if the crime you perpetrate is against innocent bystanders totally unrelated to the original crime

(f) “Self Determination” in this case is a patent misnomer in that legally it applies to, allows a, “people”, not a multitude of persons of diverse origins and provenance solely related by a confessional faith, to declare their preferences in their own land not in a land they forcedly colonized and illegally appropriated and populated by supplanting its indigenous population

(g)Although a shared concept at inception it was, is progressively, quickly rejected by the West, except its neo con segment, for both its counter productive nature and the inborn aggressive and racist nature of Israel.

With ALL of Israel’s original “raison d’êtres” being unveiled to reveal its intrinsic colonialist nature and its pretensions belied by its contemporary practices( insatiable lands grab, expansionism, oppression, racist discrimination, domineering aspirations etc )Israel is now at a loss how to justify its legitimacy and how to counter the growing universal trend to deligitimize it!

Professor Grobman, in this post, is attempting a new ploy that could be summed up as the conscious distortion of the meaning of ordinary words via reinterpretation and extrapolation , their reintroduction , after reinterpretation, in a manner that NOT only defies any dictionary but is clearly meant to contort their original meaning and inherent significance for better to introduce his heart felt “justification” for acts universally acknowledged and universally deemed as atrocious and barbaric

Witness, as a simple example, his attempt in the following extract from his post:

“Semantics is another weapon used against Israel. Instead of describing insurrections as riots, the Arabs call them demonstrations. This is in keeping, they assert, with their basic right in a democracy to protest against unfair government policies. What they don’t say is that the riots are designed to hasten the demise of Israel. After the Arabs continually used the term “demonstration,” members of the media adopted it as their own.
When a demonstration becomes violent after the military intervenes to disband the crowd, the Arabs allege that they are being oppressed. Often they charge Israelis with committing atrocities. This is after trying to goad the army into committing indiscriminate acts of force, particularly against women and children.”

Here we have a contrived , Israel friendly anti Palestinian ,new meaning for the simple word
“demonstration” which necessarily becomes “insurrection” if undertaken by Palestinians in their homeland ; a purpose made, custom tailored , redefinition of “democratic rights to protest”, which automatically becomes inapplicable if used by Palestinians and friends and a clear justification of military suppression of
“demonstrations”, being, necessarily in the case of the Palestinians, the outcome from “trying to goad the army into committing indiscriminate acts of force, “

Ultimately the Professor’s efforts are an admission of the moral and legal bankruptcy of the Zionist claim on and colonialist project in Palestine; as such it is welcome