By Abby Zimet
Sep 11, 2015
As part of Israel's ongoing and desperate PR campaign to counter opposition and prove it has justice on its side, The Yesha Council, a settlers' organization in the West Bank, has released a new booklet to teach young people "the right facts" - fictions like "There has never been a state called Palestine," “every attempt to give the Arabs land led us to terror attacks and violence,” "the Arabs of Judea and Samaria manage their lives independently with elections and a civil administration,” so-called "price tag" attacks against Palestinian lives, homes, property and olive groves are in fact the result of "internal conflicts between the Arabs over land," and Israel is made up of good guys who really want peace, but bad guys, aka Palestinians, don't.
The illustrated book is part of Israel's unrelenting “hasbara” campaign, its euphemism for propaganda. Released in time for the start of the school year, it will be distributed in community centers, universities and other places where teenagers gather. With peace unlikely soon, says a Yesha spokesman, "It's important to us that the younger generation knows the right facts and doesn't rely on stigmas left-wing organizations are trying to disseminate."
The book's title, "Occupation, Schmoccupation," reflects a country in pathological denial as it faces down an increasingly censorious world. In the latest evidence of its growing isolation, the European Union Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of labeling consumer goods produced in Israel's spreading, prosperous, illegal Israeli settlements "in the spirit of differentiation between Israel and its activities in the occupied Palestinian territories." The move was deemed "insufficient" by BDS activists who, among many others, seek a military embargo. Still, it was sufficient enough for Israeli officials to freak out.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman called it "discriminatory with a sharp smell of boycott," and Netanyahu called it "a distortion of justice and logic (that) hurts peace." He pointedly, absurdly added, "The root of the conflict is not the territories (and) not the settlements," and for good measure threw in the inevitable Holocaust reference: "We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labeled Jewish products." Such tired tactics, argues Haaretz' Gideon Levy, will not work indefinitely, because some fundamental realities - like the evil of the Occupation - are not "hasbarable." Thus, the magic bubble where official Israel lives - where "we say terrorism...shout anti-Semitism...say gay-friendly, drip irrigation, cherry tomatoes, the only democracy, the greatest army...tell the world that it all belongs to us because the Bible says so...(believe) the memory of the Holocaust will serve us forever, and justify any injustice" - will burst. And sooner, not later.