The confidence and utter belief in the State of Israel the Israeli government have displayed, as they justify their violent attack on the ships attempting to bring aid to Gaza, is breathtaking. Both factions in any war tend towards insanity of some sort, but Israel organise theirs with terrifying rigour.
They have an enormous number of silent supporters waging their PR war for them, and some not-so-silent ones. Take the NeoCon pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz, for example. After the Gulf War, he advised American Jewish leaders to incorporate mention of Iraq into every mention made of Israel because “Saddam will remain a powerful symbol of terror to Americans for a long time to come. A pro-Israeli expression of solidarity with the American people in their successful effort to remove Saddam will be appreciated.”
Israel has a global network of people helping them ride any PR storm. There is always a PR storm and they always seem to ride it. After Gaza residents, in the wake of the Haiti disaster, started a well-documented campaign to send money to Haiti because they were ‘in the same state’, a number of bloggers reporting this were attacked and, in some cases, silenced.
Look at America’s limp response to the attack on the aid ships – in international waters and so an international incident. The White House said that the US “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained” and that US officials were “currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy”.
If that doesn’t suggest a whole raft of lobbyists to appease behind the scenes, nothing does. And the trouble is that nearly all the PR war is waged almost entirely behind locked doors. It would be interesting to see what changed if transparency were demanded in such matters. I doubt some of the PR advisers, lobbyists and flaks working for Israel would be able to take the international flack if they were exposed to scrutiny.
Speaking of transparency, it’s interesting to see that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has become the ‘BP Oil Disaster’ – such disasters rarely get named after the big companies. They tend to be named after the place they happen. That BP appear to be taking the blame on the chin is either a big PR turnaround on their part or proof that there is nowhere for them to hide. Either way it marks a sea change in their approach to blame. Sadly, it also marks a huge change in the chemistry of the sea off the coast of America. I hope they’re as quick to deal with that as they are to take the blame.