As noted before, the Israelis are morons.

Let’s review.

Iran one-upped them with the NPT treaty recently. The treaty, incredibly signed by the US, essentially excuses Iran’s movement toward nuclear weapons while singling out Israel – which has an assumed arsenal that has never been used or even acknowledged officially – for censure and potential diplomatic conflict.

Regarding its proxy armies, the rockets possessed by Hizbullah now possess bigger payload, greater range and guidance systems superior to those it had in 2006. The Iranians, with Syria’s assistance, have been able to restock Hizbullah’s arsenal under the watchful eyes of UN peacekeepers who were supposed to ensure that adherence to UNSCR 1701 (which prohibits the arming of Hizbullah with rockets) is maintained. The result – and make no mistake, Israel has allowed this to happen by not preventing it – is that Iran has a trump card that will effectively prevent an Israeli attack on Iran and presents a constant threat to Israel. If Israel attacks Iran, we can expect that it will be bombed heavily by Hizbullah in retaliation. Even Hamas has shown that its rockets now reach Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be’er Sheva, so that the southern Iranian proxy army will present another challenging front in such a war.

But this post isn’t about Iran.

Turkey, a former ally that has obviously turned into an enemy, even if Israel’s leadership is struggling to maintain a semblance of diplomatic relations, is also laughing at the Israelis’ stupidity. Their flotilla can be considered a significant victory over Israel, and has given the Turks a platform to attack Israel in the media and in international forums. This creates another front for Israel, a diplomatic one, that it fights hobbled by the fear that it could lose all relations with Turkey – a powerful Muslim country with extensive trade ties to Israel and a former prospect for strategic alliance against extreme regimes. Israel is finding it difficult to fight this one because of the diplomatic fallout, while Turkey, which has already made its strategic choice to side with Iran, continues to dangle the existing ties as a reward for Israel limiting its response to provocations.

But this post isn’t about Turkey.

No, this post is about the clever Palestinians and how they are defeating Israel in their latest war against the Jewish state. Watch this video, particularly from 0:45 to 2:15:

Now, I love Fellini. Watching that clip made me think of his movies. There I am, watching an abandoned replica of a boat without an ocean wave anywhere within miles, and this wooden boat is being attacked by soldiers from the same army that attacked its likeness on the high seas a week ago in what will surely be remembered as one of Israel’s worst blunders ever. Felliniesque? You bet. You couldn’t write a script this absurd.

The fact is that the Israelis don’t get the war they’re in. It is no longer a war between armies, or terrorists against civilians and armies, but rather it has changed into a war of ideas and images. It is also not accidentally so. The war is led by the Palestinians, primarily from the PA, with the intention of making this into their new intifada. Why use bullets or bombs that hurt your image, when you can make the Israelis use bullets and bombs and undermine their image? Can’t get them to use bullets? Get them to use tear-gas. Can’t get them to use tear-gas? Get them to create media images for you to disperse across the internet and the nightly news. Boat replicas in the desert are useful in that regard.

Think about this video. The protesters know they are heading for a protest and the Israelis know they are coming. The reporters and TV are there, brightly labeled, so that nobody in Israel can claim they didn’t know this was a set-up. The goal is not to send aid to Gaza but to generate useful images that correspond to a collective memory of what happened last week with the fauxtilla. What do the Israelis do? Exactly what they did to help Turkey give them a spanking on the high seas, they walk into the director’s mise-en-scene, performing their role of bullies or murderers to perfection. In the video above it would have been better from the perspective of the Palestinian filmmaker if somebody had been killed or injured, but even this crazy running up to the boat and then after the protesters makes them look crazed.

Why would the Israelis continue to comply with the media arrangements created for them by their enemies? Well, because they are morons. I mean it. They have had ample opportunities to comprehend that the nature of the war against them has changed. Beginning with Muhammad Al Dura, continuing with Jenin in 2002, later with the family at the beach in Gaza and then Kafr Qana in Lebanon II, the enemies of Israel have shown repeatedly and consistently that the Israeli bombs, tanks and commando heroics are rendered meaningless by even one successful media event where the other side appears to be a major victim. Of course, the media events aren’t singular in nature, they are continuous or happen over and over. Think back to the repeated showings by the media of the destruction of Beirut in 2006, even as two thirds of the city simply went about its business because the only areas hit were Hizbullah neighborhoods and targets.

The media war doesn’t just even the playing field, it actually inflicts losses on the Israelis. Israel is made out to be a monster and an ogre in these wars. It becomes the side that kills innocent civilians and it reveals itself to be the bully. So what if the enemies have sworn to destroy Israel or exterminate all of the Jews (Hizbullah and Hamas have both made such claims), or that Fatah has sworn to claim all of Israel or that Iran has vowed to destroy the state?

These claims are rendered moot, valid though they may be, when Israel gives the media and internet gifts that show ITS supposed violent inclinations. The reasons for this happening are easy to understand since Israel is a free country where the press operates freely. The press is there to cover the story, is unafraid to cover the story, and since the enemies surrounding Israel are individually weaker or perceived to be of the third world while Israel is perceived to be of the First World, it isn’t hard to show who the underdog is. It also doesn’t hurt that the enemies place all sorts of spoken and unspoken restrictions on the reporters who cover them, not to mention their civilians. The open courts in Israel, the open debate in the Knesset and the freedom of expression enjoyed by Israelis also mean that all criticisms of Israel are voiced openly and regularly. Often, the state itself subsidizes or helps to create its own enemies. We’ve all seen Israeli Arab Knesset members attack Israel, or have read organizations like Adalah and B’tselem advocate against Israel. These organizations are staffed by Israelis, Jewish and non-Jewish, who grew up and were educated in Israel. Consider, for example, Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the international boycott movement against Israel. He’s getting an advanced degree at Tel Aviv University, subsidized by Israeli taxpayers.

In the Sixth Fatah Congress, the membership declared that they would attack Israel by modeling their fight on the fight against South African apartheid. They also decided to keep the refugee camps open because they were an effective tool in the war against Israel. These decisions are reflected regularly in the anti-Israel activism that we see all over the world. The ongoing incitement against Israel that we see across the internet, the pressure on cultural outlets to avoid including Israel at festivals and exhibitions, the movement to prevent artists and people with high profiles from visiting Israel or if they do, to ensure they criticize it heavily, the constant attempts to unlink Jews from their connection to Israel or to the Land of Israel as their historic home, and, of course, the ubiquitous presence of anti-Israel activism on most major and large university campuses across North American and Europe.

And what is Israel doing? It’s sending out soldiers to attack a fake boat in a desert placed there by people who invite the media to watch.

Israel seems to have missed the fact that it’s no longer the age of CNN, it’s the age of Youtube and Facebook and blogs.

It is time for Israel to figure this out, because this war, the media war, is no different than the real wars it has had to fight. If it loses, then Israel will no longer be the state of the Jews. The former commandos who now sit in Israel’s prime minister’s and defense minister’s office should wake up and realize that their army still needs fighters like those in Shayetet 13 and Sayeret Matkal, but now they also need to learn to fight just as effectively in the media war. And sometimes, that will mean restraining the real soldiers and letting the media commandos figure out the best way to tackle the battle.

The third intifada is the media intifada and we are well into it.

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  • First of all dude. Tags. Please!

    Secondly, what do we need to win this Media Intifada? Images of dead and injured Israelis? Will that help?

    Count me out.

    • That’s it? That’s all you have to say?

      What the hell do dead Israelis have to do with this? You don’t understand the internet and how information passes forth on the internet? You haven’t seen the power of the herd mentality of comments and blogs? You don’t know what a good Youtube clip can do? How about an attempted Trader Joe’s boycott or a film festival boycott? How about campuses where suddenly the student government has to decide about divestment from companies that do business with Israel?

      None of this has anything to do with dead or injured Israelis.

      In fact, you are kind of making my case for me, which is surprising me because I am trying to differentiate between old school thinking and new school thinking. This isn’t about violence or death. In that regard, if you haven’t noticed, the Palestinians have ratcheted down their activities considerably. This is about PERCEPTION and MEDIA AWARENESS. The dead or injured we see are on the enemy’s side, not Israel. But Israel is facilitating their propaganda by continually walking into their media traps. There are ways to fight this, but Israel is missing the, um, boat, precisely because they continue to think the real fight is with the soldiers. They need to be there, don’t get me wrong, but there needs to be a force, just as capable, that analyzes the implications of any activity with respect to the media war and their advice on how to handle such a situation needs to be on par with that of the infantry or navy general who advocates for the use of fighters and their guns.

  • why have the palestinians ratcheted down their activities?

    well…first their is the blockade of gaza…hard to get suicide bombers into israel if you dont let them come in

    then there is the security fence…wall…whatever

    and they have used both to their political advantage

    hamas may be the duly elected reps of the gazans…but they are a terrorist group…even goldstone noted that it is disingenuous for hamas to attempt to separate its political arm from its terrorist arm…but dont tell the world that

    increased security has helped too

    never mind that rockets continue to fly from gaza…the world never reports about them

    ok…so how about some solutions

    dissolve the hasbara program…its a joke…and every person who is pro israel and blogs or contributes on the net is immediately accused of being a paid hasbarist

    understanding security needs,embed reporters into border patrols, border police and other units…do not allow the ism to get away with posting edited vids of events

    find and speak to those who repeatedly show up on stations like russia today….where in the world do they find these people? most unprepared and filled with rhetoric but no facts

    rule number one…when asked to debate a member of the ism…do not treat them with the same respect you would someone from an ngo….come prepared with one of their training manuals…stay off topic and read to the world how they train internationals….use quotes from the group showing that they see internationals as canon fodder

    in regards to the weekly protests…let them go…cease the use of tear gas or other dispersal means…videotape them all from start to finish…no edits…this way, if violence does break out…there is a video record

    get more sephardim as spokespersons….im tired of seeing guys with south african and english accents…get some good moroccans like my bro in law…they dont take any crap

    revisit the policy regarding expulsions of arabs from the west bank without the proper papers…if there is no evidence of them engaging in acts of violence or working with anti israel groups….find a way to let them stay….or like that christian girl from gaza who was in school in bet lechem…get her a visa to get out of the country to work

    if you are gonna block chomsky from entering….dont apologize afterward…point out that last year, canada blocked galloway from entering their country…and you barely heard a peep…then present to the world that noam chomsky openly met with hezbollah leaders and fighters

    get rid of any banned food stuff from the list of what can go into gaza…i dont wanna hear glenn greenwald whine that the gazans cant get chocolate and french fries…if they want to die of obesity and heart disease…so be it

    none of this will really matters

    not when i go to what is considered a progressive blog, and when it comes to israel, the posts could come right off of storm front or any neo nazi site…how many times do i have to read about the liberty or the lavie affair or the friggin dancing israelis

    the arabs have already successfully portrayed themselves as victims…as a result of the world having a short memory and as a result of israel caring so much about her people that not more have died in terrorist attacks (the radical lefties have a thing with body counts)

  • Fellini? I was thinking something more like “Animal House” myself…

  • Middle, I think you’re overstating the point. It’s *partly* a war of ideas and images, and sure, blogs and social media are an important element in that. But this analysis fails if you apply it elsewhere? Are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going to be fought over the internet too? Is the resolution of the Eurozone economic crisis going to depend on what’s trending on Twitter and Facebook? Like every other political issue in every other country, Israel will have to deal with its problems through ordinary political channels. Arab governments might be able to stir up support for their policies by cynically manipulating the “street”, but this doesn’t fly nearly as well in the West.

  • TM, I think I speak for everyone when I quote from the Troma classic “Class of Nuke ’em High”: “TM, f**k the Fellini festival!”

    • x is most probably not x, I am not so certain that I’m flattered. 😉 I’m actually hoping she saw my post and copied the premise.