As Jews prepare to commemorate another year of exile next week on Tisha Be'av, there are people - a not insignificant number, it turns out - who believe that another exile is a definite possibility. There's Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas - the laundry list of enemies just keeps growing, it seems.
If there's one thing we Jews have learned by now, it's that unity is a major factor in our survival. If we can't rely on each other for help, we certainly shouldn't be surprised when the Europeans or the Americans turn a cold shoulder.
One of the major sources of divisiveness among Jews and Israelis, it seems to me, is the major international media (this publication excepted, of course). Whether it's on TV or in the newspapers, Israel always seems to be the bad guy, no matter what the issue. And even worse, our own people end up believing the propaganda after awhile. Why does the media constantly ignore Israel's side on many issues? Anti-Zionism/Semitism may be a factor for some editors, but as a newspaper person constantly battling deadlines, I think a better explanation is laziness. It's far easier, cheaper and quicker to take a Reuters or AP story than to write one and put it into context.
Here's an experiment: In the Google News (http://news.google.com) search box, type in a term relevant to the Israel-Arab conflict - say, "Karni crossing." The results page lists the names of the publications with the lead sentences. Notice how many are the same, with the content coming from news agencies? All it takes is one slanted, unsympathetic article - and hundreds of millions of readers around the world get a skewed picture of why Israel won't allow traffic and trade to pass through the Gaza crossings.
One way to advocate for Israel that has proven itself is blogs, like http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog or http://muqata.blogspot.com. The problem with blogs, though, is that only the "connected" - computer connected, that is - will read them. And you have to know about the good ones, or somehow be informed of their existence, to see them.
Which is why Blogburst (http://www.blogburst.com/) can be a great help in our advocacy struggle. Blogburst "feeds" blogs that sign up with the service to hundreds of newspapers in the US - providing them with content that they're just too overworked to get to. The better written, the more likely your content will be to get picked up by some very prestigious newspapers and magazines. In fact, according to the site, one Israeli blog, written from a bunker up north during last summer's war, was published on a regular basis in the Houston Chronicle. It's free to sign up, and your blog may just be the one to tip the scales in Israel's favor abroad - for our own sakes.