Israel is waging an asymmetric war of annihilation against Palestine, but if you criticise it for this you will be branded an anti-Semite supporter of terrorism. This is the work of Israel’s online hasbarartists – an army devoted to defending genocide.
Every day the State of Israel receives $10.2 million in military aid from the US taxpayer, money that is spent on a colonial project that is geared towards – in all practical terms – the complete annihilation of Palestine and the Arab Palestinian population. Israel kills Palestinians at a ratio of eight to one, and Palestinian children at a ratio of nineteen to one, with almost 10,000 Palestinians – mostly civilian non-combatants – having been killed by Israel’s armed forces since the year 2000. When it comes to “conflicts” this is hardly a fight between equals. For Israel this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Israel is the world’s leading producer of laser-guided airstrike drones responsible for the deaths of countless civilians in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. Palestine produces olive oil and receives no military aid.
This situation of course leads to anger, and some Palestinians have joined the armed struggle against Israel’s military occupation of their country. Yes, in Gaza people dig tunnels for supplies of food, medication, and weapons. International law recognises the legitimacy of armed struggle against invasion and occupation, and so – while we may be uncomfortable with violence – there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Palestinians defending their country from Israel. It is also true that Hamas – the democratically elected government of the Gaza Strip – has fired Qassam rockets into Israel. These rockets have a range of three kilometres and since 2002 have taken the lives of 26 Israeli citizens. This is tragic and sad, but Israel’s “measured response” was the killing of over 2,100 Gazan civilians in its 2014 invasion.
Yet when we mention the disproportionality of the conflict and the genocidal behaviour of the State of Israel the defenders of Israel will immediately flood the discussion with conflations of Palestine and Hamas, and armed resistance with “terrorism” in an attempt to jam any and all legitimate criticism of Israel. This is a favourite Hasbara tactic. Those responsible – the hasbarartists – are as guilty as the State of Israel for the crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing being perpetrated against the people of Palestine. Another favourite they use, because they know we are all quite sensitive to it, is the charge of antisemitism. All criticism of Israel is branded as anti-Semitic, and some – as I have experienced – will go so far as to say that in criticising Israel we want all Jews dead.
Hasbara is a very smart form of state-sponsored terrorism, and has been reasonably effective in silencing criticism directed towards Israel. It is a form of lying that seeks to undermine the will of reasoned debate on Israel’s atrocious record of ignoring UN Resolutions and committing human rights violations. It relies on the false dilemma fallacy of being either for Israel or against it, where being against it means to be on the side of terrorists. It is a lie and a particularly nasty bully tactic. We can be against Hamas firing what are essentially no better than improvised rockets into Israel and we can be against Israel waging a highly sophisticated and expensive war of annihilation against the whole of Palestine.
How Israel Uses Twitter, Facebook & Tinder to Legitimize Murder