"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

May 16, 2011

Further Adventures in Clumsy Propaganda

Whoever does the Israeli desk propaganda for AolHuffington needs to go back to school.*

Actually, they don't. It's a net good that their prop-fu is so full of fail. We get a peek inside the process, the logic. A useful insight  - or a set of them. A primer in how to read not only bad propaganda, but the well written stuff. Study the clumsy examples, to learn how to read the subtle ones.


Some lead fingered examples:

"Arab Protesters Descend On Israeli Border" 

Birds of prey descend. Angry hordes descend upon their civilized victims. Arabs descend upon Israelis, who of course act with restraint, as only members of the only democracy in the Middle East could do.

"In a surprising turn of events, hundreds of Palestinians and supporters poured across the Syrian frontier and staged riots, drawing Israeli accusations that Damascus, and its ally Iran, orchestrated the unrest to shift attention from an uprising back home. It was a rare incursion from the usually tightly controlled Syrian side and could upset the delicate balance between the two longtime foes."

Those filthy Ayrabs cannot get together without rioting. They're barely civilized, but they do know how to stage violence. They, easily manipulated braying beasts that they are, couldn't pull it off without being orchestrated from afar. Rioting is also objectively bad. You can tell, because it's Arabs doing it. They're like black people. Get them altogether in one place, and riots magically ensue. Besides, reasonable people respond to expulsion and degradation by waiting for the UN to do something. That's what the Israelis did. They never resorted to war, terrorism, assassination and expulsion. Reasonable and civilized Europeans go on with their lives. They make money to show how valuable they are. They make the desert bloom. Which puts them in a position to be such exact equals with their disarmed and unfunded neighbors as to find themselves in a delicate balance. The region is balanced. Israel is not sponsored and kept afloat by an imperial leviathan. It is not an occupying power in its own right. It rests, precariously balanced on the edge of disequilibrium. Or something.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads to Washington at the end of the week, said he ordered the military to act with "maximum restraint" but vowed a tough response to further provocations."

See. Israelis have restraint. An excess of it. By implication, it's the Israelis who are being provoked here. And, faced with this terrible and riotous provocation, they will restrain themselves. Those walls and fences and guard posts and roving patrols of sabra killers are value neutral. No one is provoked by an enlightened occupation. 

"The violence showed Israel the extent of Arab anger over the Palestinian issue, beyond the residents of the West Bank and Gaza, and came at a critical time for U.S. Mideast policy."

Yep. They just discovered it. Like Ayrab wolves emerging from the mists of history, descending in orchestrated surprise upon sovereign, sacred Israeli borders - this angry threat just materialized out of nowhere. It has no historical context. It's recent, immediate. But, take heart, now the Israelis know. They have been shown. And that's critical to US policy.

The Ayrabs? Fuck 'em.

"Deadly clashes also took place along Israel's nearby northern border with Lebanon, as well as in the Gaza Strip on Israel's southern flank. The Israeli military said 13 soldiers were wounded, none seriously."

Israeli lives have value. When civilizations clash, deadliness erupts.  These deadly clashes are opaque. They just occur. It isn't that well armed, well supplied, well paid Israeli soldiers shot and murdered unarmed Arab protesters. Deadly clashes happened. They tend to happen in proximity to Ayrabs. And the real people, the Israeli soldiers, suffered some injuries. That's noteworthy, newsworthy. The people murdered by those poor, wounded Israeli professionals? Deadly dead, but that's the risk you take when you clash, eh?

"Sunday's unrest – which came after activists used Facebook and other websites to mobilize Palestinians and their supporters in neighboring countries to march on the border with Israel – marked the first time the protests that have swept the Arab world in recent months have been directed at Israel."

The very first time. Protests didn't occur during the episodes of unsettling and unfortunate unrest in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen or Bahrain. There was no Palestinian solidarity.  It never happened. There is no video, obviously. This is the first time. Those Palestinians sure are late to the game, huh? It's like they're shameless, selfish opportunists who only know how to muck up the "independence" celebrations of their European colonial betters.

"The events carried a message for Israel: Even as it wrestles with the Palestinian demand for a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem – areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war – there is a related problem of neighboring countries that host millions of Palestinians with aspirations to return."

When Ayrabs get all publicly angry, and sputter in their funny, ragey sounding language, the message for Israel is that there are a lot of Palestinians. A lot of them. Those fuckers breed like rabbits. Millions of members of an autochthonus horde of barbarians who descend upon borders they aren't civilized enough to accept, in law and fact. It's a good thing Bibi is heading to DeeCee to pick up his protection money, no doubt.

"Palestinians were marking the 'nakba,' or "catastrophe" – the term they use to describe their defeat and displacement in the war that followed Israel's founding on May 15, 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted. Today, the surviving refugees and their descendants number several million people."

When a professionalized Army rounds up, massacres and expels unarmed or poorly armed villagers, it's a war. Wars have winners and losers. The Pallies were defeated. Them's the breaks, people. It wasn't bureaucratic murder and expulsion. Remember this please. Especially the next time someone tells you about the Holocaust™, which never gets put in scare quotes. Still, those hundreds of thousands have become a horde of millions. Millions of people who want to violate sacred borders. Who have foreign names for ancient Israeli towns and seaside resorts. Scary. Very scary.

"Each year, Palestinians throughout the region mark the "nakba" with demonstrations. But never before have marchers descended upon Israel's borders from all directions. The Syrian incursion was especially surprising."

Remember, no one marks "the Holocaust." The Holocaust™ happened.  It was historical, unlike the "nakba." The "nakba" is celebrated by angry little savages who descend upon Israel from all directions. The penetrate and violate. They are orchestrated into incursions. It's not that they want to return to the orchards, farms and villages of their mothers and grandmothers. They're a violent, penetrative horde of barely humans who don't have the good fortune of a Holocaust™ to justify their realpolitik. They have to settle for a "nakba."

"Israeli defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information, acknowledged the military was caught off guard by the violent marches.

Officials also said there were strong signs that Syria and its Iranian-backed Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, orchestrated the unrest."

Ayrabs march violently. That's what they do. They don't have a historical context for their discontent, except for their poor excuse of an imagined and imaginary slight, the "nakba."  They're so violent and disordered, that the restrained, civilized professionals armed with billions of dollars of equipment and weaponry purchased with expropriated American tax receipts were caught off guard. It's not like Israeli soldiers are a vigilant, oppressive, violent occupying force which suppresses protest and resistance on sight, or which bombs schools and hospitals while deploying chemical weaponry to pacify a militarily occupied people. They don't have checkpoints every ten feet. They don't manage one of the world's most repugnant apartheid states. They don't give homage to their Nazi educators with the bureaucratization of travel bans, passes and border control. They don't have an entire nation of people battened down in captivity. They're so nonchalant they were caught off guard.

Surprised, they were, by violent, descending hordes manipulated from afar. Stupid Ayrabs. This unrest was caused by nefarious forces. Evil Iran. Evil Syria. Evil Hizbollah. The stupid Ayrabs don't know better. Their bosses issue orders and they follow them. I mean, just ask any Pally. They love Fatah. They love to take orders from Shiites in Iran. They have no local complaints. I mean, it's just a "nakba." It's not like we're talking about a Holocaust™, here.

"An explosion of unrest along the border could play into the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has faced two months of popular protests against political repression and rights abuses in his country. The uprising, in which human rights groups say more than 800 people have been killed, is the most serious challenge to the Assad family's 40-year dynasty."

Unrest explodes. Explosions, as we all know, are bad. People get hurt when shit explodes. And by people, we of course mean Israelis. Palestinian Arabs aren't people. They don't even have a properly trademarked national tragedy. All they have is a "nakba."  So, what can you expect from a people with an ersatz, third rate national "shame," right? Obviously, their unrest is about a foreign potentate. That's it. That's why this is all happening. Because some dickhead who inherited his father's petty fief has killed people, according to human rights groups. Human rights, people. Just remember, the Palestinians don't actually have 'em. Only anonymous Ayrabs killed by their own bosses, when those bosses have lost or fallen out of favor with the US and Israel, have human rights. Human rights are negotiable. Because of that delicate balance which has all the weapons, tanks, fighter jets, and nukes on one side, and fifty year old equipment and ordinance on the other. Gotta preserve it, lest the real people with their real national tragedy and their really real European origins get nervous. But don't worry, they're not the ones with the nukes, amiright?

"About 25 miles (40 kilometers) to the west, Israeli troops clashed with a large crowd of Lebanese demonstrators who approached that border. The military said it opened fire when protesters tried to damage the border fence. Security officials in Lebanon reported 10 dead.

It was the deadliest incident along the volatile border since Israel fought Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas during a monthlong war five years ago."

So deadly, it's comparable to Hizbollah.  Mind you, real people didn't actually die. Those are the breaks. The horde should know the risks, n'est-ce pas? Weighing the balance of not-quite-human lives against property, of course you've just got to side with the fence. The fence is important. It's secures real estate. Not only as a symbol. But as a function. The fence keeps Ayrabs out, the filthy animals. Who wouldn't shoot unarmed people to death for trying to damage it? And don't forget, this is just like fighting the crafty terrorists of Hizbollah.

"Sunday's shooting erupted at the tense border village of Maroun el-Rass, which saw some of the fiercest fighting in 2006. Thousands of Palestinian refugees traveled to the village in buses adorned with posters that said: "We are returning." Many came from the 12 crowded refugee camps in Lebanon where some 400,000 Palestinian refugees live."

Again, with the eruptions. The soldier didn't carefully load his weapon. He did not follow his million dollar's worth of training, take aim, secure his peripherals, check for counter orders, squeeze the trigger and kill a person. It just erupted. In the passive voice. But, really, can anyone but the Palestinians be blamed? They had threatening signs. They're dirty fugees. And they want to return to villages which don't have Ayrab names anymore. History has been changed, again all passively.Why don't they just grow up, already?

"Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers, U.N. peacekeepers and riot police deployed heavily in the area, taking up positions along the electrified border fence and patrolling the area in military vehicles. Young Hezbollah supporters wearing yellow hats and carrying walkie-talkies organized the entry to the village and handed out Palestinian flags.

In Cairo, a security official said more than 1,000 protesters tried to push their way past a tight security cordon toward the Israeli Embassy, located on the top floor of a building. Egyptian soldiers guarding the embassy fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. One protester burned an Israeli flag."

Mustn't have the wrong flags. Mustn't burn the right ones. If you wave the wrong kind of flag, you're probably also the type of person who pushes past a security cordon. You're pushy. Uppity. You have no sense of place, or proportion. C'mon on, you probably don't even have a real Holocaust™. Just a silly little "nakba."

"There was also violence in a predictable location – Gaza."

Those Gazan Palestinians, so predictable. Of course they live where there is violence in the passive voice. Violence just happens there. One might be permitted to assume that it's their fault, vaguely, vaguely. It's not that they live in an open air prison, under occupation and blockade, their lives managed and governed by the vicissitudes of black market smuggling and Israeli incursions, er, sorry, security patrols. It's not that they're the collective whipping boy of the shitty little colonial garrison race state. It's that they just, y'know, sort of exist within it. Maybe they even bring it on themselves.

So much so, you can predict it.

(emphasis mine)

* - it's an AP original. Should probably include their writers and editors beneath the umbrella of my opprobrium, alongside SwoonyMcSwoonPost's copy staff. So, consider them included.


Anonymous said...

you are a smug one
aren't you?

gabriel scored you
did you delete him for it?

you think you are clever
you think you are profound

you are not
you are smug

Jack Crow said...

Heh. I've deleted an advertisement and a really nasty attack on another poster. That's it. I, along with an apparently large number of other Blogger users, did lose recent posted comments.

As for charges of smugness? Mea culpa, I guess.

Gabriel said...

I thought you were censoring, but it was definitely Blogger. Good post, this is relentless display of reality is what is needed, and what you do best.

Richard said...

of course, the Obama administration is totally down with it

yesterday, we saw the emergence of a people rendered invisible for decades (specifically, the Palestinian refugees of Syria, Lebanon and Gaza), an emergence through direct action, and, of course, the reaction, as it has been in the past in regards to others similarly situated, is one of contempt, condemnation, dismissal

the racism underlying it is becoming even more obvious than it has been in the past, and I wonder if we are about to see the eruption of a major conflict as a consequence

for example, the Egyptian military and police had to fire tear and projectiles to disperse a protest in front of the Israeli embassy last night

without Mubarak (and with a weakened Assad), the apparatus for suppressing the Arab supporters of the Palestinians is in tatters

Jack Crow said...

Good points, Richard. The weakening of neighboring repressive regimes ought to give the Israelis pause.

Unfortunately, their recourse-to-security is almost invasion or war.

I smell a conflagration. The surviving despots and client states face a rough immediate future if their captive populations push this issue beyond existing containable borders.

How the US and Israel react should prove interesting.

Unknown said...

Many of my friends laugh when I say news media like the NYT and others are nothing but propaganda they laugh and tell me the news media is liberal. Either they are nuts or I am. I prefer to believe that they are nuts.

I think Israel is headed for their doom. Their arrogance is fueled by U.S. support yet the U.S. presence in the Middle East is becoming less and less important. As the U.S. fades so too will Israel who should have been much nicer to its neighbors.

Jack Crow said...

I agree, Rob. The garrison state's expiration date approaches. It's going to be ugly.

fish said...

It's only clumsy if it is noticed by the majority. Otherwise effective is the better adjective.

davidly said...

I'd agree with fish on this, but reserve the right to the rule of subjectivity. That the article transforms "protesters" into "rioters" in so few lines seems a bit sloppy to me. But clumsy works. Apparently.

Who knows, maybe it's internalized propaganda: the author is the result and the purveyor.

Randal Graves said...

My comment descends with a riot. Not really, but I've got to second davidly's point about internalization. Word choice isn't often given a second thought, or a first, especially in journalism.

Jack Crow said...

Good points, but it doesn't make it any less clumsy.

Good propaganda admits the truths it conceals. This is just concealer.

Obama the Candidate was a brilliant propagandist. Seriously so. Every single one of his position papers, formal statements and interviews laid out how singularly faithful he was to the neo-Reaganite agenda.

The fucker just admitted it. Which defanged his opponents, since they were forced to address his assumed persona instead (they couldn't rightly criticize their own platforms), and attack him according to a narrative he'd already co-opted.

The AP-AOLHuffPo piece does none of that. It's too obviously an attempt to cover feces in flowers.

Had its authors conceded a number of points about grievances, and then want on to characterize the responses to them as "savage," or "stage managed" or "beholden to corrupt manipulators in Tehran, Damascus and Ramallah" it would have been far less clumsy.

Which isn't a suggestion, on my part, that it won't work as it is.

Of course it will. As with the NYT piece which makes the exact same case as the one above. They have their demographics.

Lisa Simeone said...

I don't know what else to say to this post but Bravo.

fish said...

Every single one of his position papers, formal statements and interviews laid out how singularly faithful he was to the neo-Reaganite agenda.

I remember pointing out to his supporters over and over again how his actual platform was nothing like what people imagined it was, and them reacting incredulously. But it was all right there in black and white. Amazing really.