Tag Archives: Jonathan Cook

Israel’s Army of Spin-Doctors is Doomed to Defeat

8 Jul

gaza_bombing_ahmad_dalloul_irin Aftermath of Israeli raid on Gaza. (Ahmed Dalloul, UN)

By Jonathan Cook, Nazareth, The Palestine Chronicle, 8 July 2015

The Israeli government believes it is locked in an epic struggle to save Israel from the growing movement calling for an international boycott. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that Israel must quickly “rebrand” itself to avoid pariah status.

Ordinary Israelis are therefore being conscripted into an army of spin-doctors in a campaign termed “hasbara” – Hebrew for “public diplomacy”, or more literally “propaganda”.

In the latest offensive, the education ministry has launched a compulsory hasbara course for Israeli students travelling abroad. All youth delegations are now required to learn how to justify to outsiders Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. According to officials, the students must challenge those who “seek to delegitimize Israel”.

It is yet more evidence that hasbara has become a national obsession in Israel – and that the line between support for one’s country and support for the subjugation of another people has been erased. Some 85 per cent of Israelis tell pollsters they are keen to become hasbara ambassadors for the Netanyahu government.

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Professors for Israel try to shut down Lancet

25 Apr

richard-hortonRichard Horton, editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, under attack.

By Jonathan Cook, 24 April 2015

[For a previous report on earlier attacks on the Lancet – see kiaoragaza.net post on 17 October 2014. Ed]

Academia is far from the bastion of free thinking and free speech it would like to claim for itself, as a newly confected “row” involving the leading medical journal The Lancet confirms.

Recently Southampton University in the UK caved in on hosting an important conference examining Israel and international law, following an intensive campaign of intimidation from Israeli apologists.

Now some 400 medical professors are blackmailing Reed Elsevier, publishers of The Lancet, by threatening to boycott its publications unless the company sacks editor Richard Horton – or as they duplicitously phrase it, “enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship”.

By refusing to publish papers or peer review them, the professors, including five Nobel winners, hope Reed Elsevier will capitulate from fear that such a boycott might bring it to its knees.

Why target Horton? Because he has committed the cardinal sin of transforming what was once a sleepy academic publication into a journal dealing seriously with global health issues, including – and here’s the rub – reporting on the medical implications for Palestinians of Israel’s occupation, especially its attack on Gaza last summer.

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