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Commentary Last Updated: Oct 1st, 2007 - 01:09:46

Hasbara and hafrada (Israeli Hebrew words for propaganda and separation)
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Online Journal Guest Writer

Oct 1, 2007, 01:07

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Up until now and while leading Democratic and Republican elites debate �managing� Iraqi lives (orientalist racism at its worst), some 4 percent of Iraqis were killed and 17 percent made refugees/internally displaced in the past four years. This would be equivalent to killing 12 million and displacing over 50 million US citizens.

I discussed elsewhere the role of the Israel lobby in pushing for the war on Iraq [1].

This lobby represented by the Israel Hasbara (propaganda) Committee is now fretting about Jewish intermarriage and lack of identification with Zionism or the state of Israel [2]. As someone who is "intermarried," I ask what is wrong with assimilation and intermarriage?

This reminded me that Yaakov Herzog, close advisor to four Israeli Prime Ministers, wrote: �We are not a normal people, we are not free from the Galut (exile) burden and we are not accepted by the world . . . Political Zionism maintained that the concept of �people who dwell alone� is, in fact, an abnormal condition. In reality, the concept of �people who dwell alone� is the natural condition of the Jewish people.� [3].

He was wrong in characterizing political Zionism because most political Zionists believed in segregation and that was the whole idea of a "Jewish State." He is also wrong to blame the whole world for the Zionist tribalistic mentality which exists out of its own desires to be separate and treat any non-Jew with contempt. It is the same idea that lets Zionists express that the world is always "against us" and privately claim to each other that any support they get is because of their might and muscle.

Howard Friedman, president of AIPAC, titled his letter of July 30, 2006, to friends and supporters of AIPAC "Look what you've done." He explained: "Israel is fighting a pivotal war for its life . . . the expected chorus of international condemnation of Israel's actions . . . only ONE nation in the world came out and flatly declared: Let Israel finish the job . . . That nation is the United States of America -- and the reason it had such a clear, unambiguous view of the situation is YOU and the rest of America's Jewry. . . . How do we do it? . . . decades of long hard work which never ends."

Whether Jewish or not, if you are human and is concerned with human rights, you would reject ideas of segregation/separation (Hafrada in Hebrew) and adopt ideas of coexistence, assimilation, and justice. To do that you would recognize things being shielded by censorship (by Zionists in many media outlets). Here are just some more recent and relevant news and writings on the subject of the lobby and censorship.

1) A chair of a history department writes on the attempts to use the card of anti-Semitism to silence debate on campus. He titles his article On Being Called an Anti-Semite in Montana: "Is booking a critic of the Israel lobby to speak on your campus anti-Semitic?."

Prof. Richard Drake concludes: "In a democratic society, all government policies must stand for public inspection. This is true whether liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans are in charge. With both of our political parties and the media sharing the same basic ideas about foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, we need a place where the assumptions of the status quo encounter a stern testing, not a happy-faced tribute. The university should be that place." [4]

2) Hillary Clinton wants to get Jewish votes and money and to do that, she thinks she has to court the right-wing fascist elements of the Zionist movement. So she emphasizes her strong support of apartheid Israel: �Hillary Clinton believes that Israel's right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned.�

I urge everyone to write to remind her that Jerusalem is illegally occupied and that no state has a right to be Jewish (or Muslim or Christian). Human rights demand that states be states of the citizens who live in them regardless of their religion.

3) George Bisharat explain that there is "A double standard on academic freedom in the Middle East" and how the lobby tries to silence debate in Academia [5].

4) Dick Cheney, who was and may still be a board member of the "Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs," is pushing for a war on Iran just as he, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Faith, Michael Ledeen and other neocon Zionists pushed for a war on Iraq (See 6). Ledeen just published a book vilifying Iran.

5) A college student was asking questions of Senator Kerry and was tackled, attacked and Tasered by police. The media did not tell you that he spoke only for 1 minute, 20 seconds of his allotted 2-minute time. They also did not tell you that only when he asked if Kerry was a member of the secret Skull and Bones Society that he was tackled. The video is posted here: (continued segment where he asks police not to taser him is here They were worried where he might be going with a line of questioning that started by the fact that Kerry let Bush steal the 2004 election.

Here is what Bush said at the AIPAC convention just before the 2004 presidential election (a talks made while Israel was committing war crimes and crimes against humanity): "The United States is strongly committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish state . . . Israel is a democracy and a friend and has every right to defend itself from terror."

Kerry said exactly the same at AIPAC and here is what Joe Lieberman said of Kerry: "John Kerry has always stood with our crucial ally, Israel. During his 20-year Senate career, John has compiled a perfect record of pro-Israel votes, through his votes on economic aid, military security or the location of the U.S. Embassy. And John Kerry has had the courage to face down leaders who promote anti-Semitism. He has flown with the Israeli Air Force and seen from the cockpit how vulnerable Israel is. Simply put, Israel can rely on John Kerry."

6) The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations is pushing for Iran confrontation just as they did with the Iraq confrontation before 2003 [7].

7) Congressman Moran is being targeted by the lobby for speaking the truth. The Washington Post headlined its article Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again: U.S. House Democrat Said Pro-Israel Lobby Promoted War. He was attacked by the lobby but defended by Rabbi Lener of Tikkun. Moran stood his grounds stating, "I think Mr. Halber is being disingenuous in suggesting that the AIPAC board has not been strongly supportive of military involvement in Iraq and now in Iran" [8].

The 19th century notions of oppression, separation, and the use of propaganda to hide the facts led to atrocities of WWI, WWII, and many others. It has no place in the 21st century.


1) The Israeli lobby and the Iraq War

2) Now Make it a Full-Time Job, with Real Resources

3) Yaakov Herzog, "Am Levadad Yishkon-A People Who Dwells Alone-" Tel-Aviv: Sifriat Maariv, 1975, pp. 58-59, Cited in MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL M Volume61, No. 1, WINTER 2007

4) On Being Called an Anti-Semite in Montana

5) A double standard on academic freedom in the Middle East

6) Bush setting America up for war with Iran


8) Moran Upsets Jewish Groups Again

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh is author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian struggle" (Pluto Press). His website is

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