Propaganda for a Peace Deal
For more than a week, anyone who gets off of the Jerusalem light rail can’t help but notice the impressive looking posters that feature a large picture of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Each one has a statement above the prime minister’s picture that begins with the words “Without a treaty” and then continues with a potential ramification of not signing a treaty with the Arabs such as “Without a treaty we cannot guarantee a Jewish democratic state” or “Without a treaty we will not succeed in lowering the high cost of living”. Finally, each poster adds the following words of encouragement under the prime minister’s picture, “Bibi, only you can”.
The first thing that caught my eye with these posters was the nature of Netanyahu’s picture. For unlike the usual depiction of Netanyahu by the left where he appears aggressive or arrogant, here he looks like a calm, intelligent, serious statesman.
This reminded me of the hypocritical words of praise that the left lavished on Ariel Sharon following his recent death simply due to the fact that at the end of his long public career he did their dirty work in forcibly removing thousands of “troublemaking settlers” from their homes. Of course prior to Sharon’s flip-flop, many of these same “admirers” viciously attacked him for years with words that would have landed most of us in jail on charges of incitement.
So apparently the same applies here regarding Netanyahu. Now that they know he’s serious with his intention to implement their suicidal two-state solution, they need to shift gears and start crafting a positive image of Netanyahu to replace the menacing one they fashioned to perfection.
The posters themselves are signed by BTI, an acronym for Breaking the Impasse. Not just any old organization, BTI is a group of extremely prominent Israeli and Palestinian businessmen who are trying to pressure their respective leaders into signing an agreement (admittedly, I don’t know if the Arabs are doing their part in this joint venture). With money clearly not an obstacle, BTI members have supposedly laid out a total of one million shekels for the high profile two-week advertising campaign.
With this bit of knowledge, suddenly the shocking warning from Kerry that Israel faces an economic boycott if it fails to reach an accord with the Palestinians is not so shocking. For although the Obama administration is viewed by most Israelis as possibly the most anti-Israel ever, the words of Mr. Kerry, however one wants to understand them, are nevertheless so out of the ordinary even for this administration. However, when coupled together with the BTI campaign, itself somewhat of a precedent considering the high level of business leaders that are openly trying to influence the political leadership, the words of Kerry don’t appear so strange.
For if it’s true that Netanyahu is inching closer to signing an agreement then it’s also true that he needs a lot more public support for such a controversial move. If so, then what better way to achieve this then by frightening the Israeli public with dire threats of a boycott from the outside together with predictions of socio-economic gloom and doom from the inside, all of which await Israel if it fails to sign an agreement.
Sounds farfetched? Is the Israeli administration or its American counterpart above using propaganda to create support for a suicidal policy? I wish I could believe so but unfortunately my inner voice tells me otherwise. This being the case, we all need to be strong and not cave in to the pressure. For although it’s conceivable that Israel might be in for some tough times if an agreement is not signed, we need to remember that whatever might happen is always preferable to the national suicide we’ll be committing if we help to create an Arab state in Judea and Samaria.
This article was originally published by The Times of Israel.