Fight our enemies, tell the truth

Delegitimization campaigns use the internet as a platform to spread their lies. Pro-Israel supporters must learn how to make use of the wealth of truths that exist and scrupulously avoid fabrications.

311_Mavi Marmara side (photo credit: Associated Press)
311_Mavi Marmara side
(photo credit: Associated Press)
As a platform for conveying news, the internet has fast become an alternative to mainstream media. But it is closer to anarchy than democracy. It takes mere minutes to disseminate information to millions - without the limits of editing and censorship. The industry of lies against Israel successfully uses this tool with calculated precision. But Israel's delegitmizers are not the only ones who resort to lies. Even Israel's supporters get swept in by sensational information that at times, is just pure fiction.
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Occasionally, however, the lies change direction. Victims of the industry of lies are also prone to infection. In recent years, there were a number of emails in circulation reporting that Holocaust studies had been discontinued in educational institutions due to Muslim pressure. One of these emails related that Holocaust studies had been dropped in UK high schools. A second missive reported the same thing happening in the University of Kentucky. Both these stories had no basis whatsoever and Holocaust studies were not dropped in either case.
And the parade of lies – including those that are constructed for Israel’s “benefit” - continues. There was a clip going around the Internet showing the weapons used on the Mavi Marmara. The video became an instant hit – if you’ll mind the pun, and shortly thereafter pro-Israel factions began using it to rebuff Hamas sympathizers. But the problem was that it was all fiction. Ammunition and weapons were never found on boat. If indeed they had been, one can assume that official channels in Israel would’ve shown the film. I checked with military officials who make it clear that they have no concrete evidence that the Mavi Marmara was hording firearms.
Due to the nature of the internet, there is no way to stop information once it has been released. Lies spread like wildfire. The fact that the delegitimization industry has been working vigorously in using lies against Israel does not mean that pro-Israel groups should respond in kind. Anti-Israel forces have fashioned the industry into an art-form. They always have access to reliable information from "Israeli sources." There is no shortage of academics from Israel and abroad that are recruited to provide partial information that is both biased and manipulative.
The ball is in their court and they continue to score own goals when pro-Israel factions fall into the trap of believing fictitious internet dramas. When these factions cause a ruckus based on dodgy video clips or email rumors, it inevitably backfires. Israel has real and credible claims aplenty, and does not need to resort to lies and fabrications. This is the domain of anti-Semites and anti-Zionists and is the only way they are able to establish their misguided claims. The only way for is Israel to combat them is to brandish a doomsday weapon: The truth and nothing but the truth.
The fact that the propaganda of lies is winning, at least for now, should not lead Israel to conclude that it too needs to lie. Israel needs only to drum in the truth over and over. The presence of weapons aboard the Mavi Marmara is not needed to justify the Israeli takeover of the ship. The truth that participants involved in the flotilla incident are part of a political Islam is justification enough. As is the truth that those on board sang songs in Arabic celebrating the extermination of the Jews. Or the truth that the humanitarian “crisis” in Gaza is actually in far better shape than the one happening in Turkey, or in any number of Arab countries. Hamas as an organization that is racist, anti-Semitic and anti-freedom also joins the ever-growing list of truisms. As does the fact that the issue of "refugees" and the “Nakba” (Arabic for 'catastrophe' and the term given by the Palestinians for the creation of Israel in 1948) is an astonishing Palestinian invention – especially in light of the fact that over fifty million people went through precisely the same experience and yet they are not labeled refugees. It is true that just as the Arabs fled or were driven away - due to a war of annihilation that they declared - Jews in Arab countries similarly fled or were driven out, though of course without any previous declaration of war.
There are of course many, many more truths. And only a person with no good arguments will resort to lies. That isn’t the case with Israel. We can win with the truth; we just have to know how to use it sucessfully. Alas, until now, we’ve not yet learned how.
The writer is a regular columnist for Maariv.