Monday, August 26, 2019


In any type of conflict, an ideal strategy is one that places your opponent in a lose-lose situation.
In military combat, this might involve trapping your enemy so that his army has only two choices: advance and be decimated, or retreat and get cut down while racing away in disordered flight.  In the first Gulf War, General Norman Schwarzkopf successfully shattered the Iraqi army not just through superior firepower, but through maneuvers that left his opponent no choice that did not involve annihilation.

Tactics that place your foe in a lose-lose situation are also common in other sorts of combat, such as the propaganda warfare carried out daily against Israel.  For example, a rhetorical maneuver proponents of BDS like to use is the claim that the fight against them demonstrate their own success, leading to questions like “Why would Israel’s supporters put so much effort into fighting BDS is it wasn’t effective?”

The brilliance of this maneuver is that it places Israel’s friends in a lose-lose situation: either fight against BDS and be used as evidence of enemy strength, or ignore it – which effectively hands the field over to that enemy to do as they like.

The recent flare-up over two BDS-supporting Congresswomen visiting Israel put the Jewish state into a similar lose-lose situation: either bar the pair and have condemnations rain down or say “Yes” to the visit and allow your foes to travel the region ginning up hatred.  While many pro-Israel activists helped blunt the effectiveness of this propaganda attack (by, for example, exposing the anti-Semitic nature of the organization that was sponsoring their Israel trip), that represented after-the-fact repair work in a situation where the enemy had already set the terms of engagement.
Unfortunately, I can’t think of many situations when Israel and her friends were able to perform this same trick.  Perhaps this is because our opponents can count on a pliant media to parrot their messages while treating anything our side says with skepticism.  Or maybe we lack the cynicism reflected in the other side’s willingness to use the suffering of others (including one Congresswoman’s own grandmother) to further their cause. 

Israel’s limited options also reflects the power dynamic of the war against the Jews.  While huge investment has been made in portraying Israel as powerful (and privileged), that has been done to mask the fact that the world’s sole Jewish state has had to do battle with 20+ Arab states allied with several dozen more Muslim ones who control not just half the world’s oil reserves, but also major international organizations like the UN. Given this, the majority of Israel’s energies must be invested in manning the siege walls, a defensive strategy that limits offensive choices that could pin down our foes in a lose-lose situation.

And then there is the reality that while Israel’s enemies are at war with the Jewish state, the reverse is not true.  As mentioned previously, the dream come true for nearly every Israeli (and every Israeli supporter) is to see the nation living at peace with her neighbors.  This is a worthy goal, but does not lend itself to the sorts of propaganda tactics used by enemies who want to see Israel become an object of hatred and ultimately destroyed. 

That said, it is possible to isolate and brand an enemy (such as the BDS “movement”) that doesn’t necessarily require us to ferment hatred against those we ultimately want to live in peace with.  The fact that most people on our side refer to BDS as anti-Semitic has already gone a long way to freeze that project and define it in our own terms.  We might also be able to do a little Jiu jitsu at their expense, insisting that the very existence of their program demonstrates that Israel must be fabulously successful and beloved (otherwise, why run boycotts and divestment campaigns against it?). 

The only trick with any techniques to place our opponents in a lose-lose situation in a propaganda war of their own making is to repeat our talking points incessantly, never replying to the other side’s charges and ignoring anything the other side tries to say in their own defense. This is obviously not the stuff of dialog, but dialog only takes place between people playing the same game and if the BDSers want to continue their propaganda warfare incessantly, our response should be an even more incessant counterattack.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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