From Explanation to Information
Israel’s information campaign or lack thereof had long been a focal point of Jewish debate. Part of the problem is that the Hebrew word for information – Hasbara – literally means explanation and not information. Explanation is to information what sales are to marketing. Nothing had been more counterproductive than Israeli “experts” in communications appearing on television and “explaining” the value of their Israeli ‘product’ and the essential weaknesses of the Arab ‘competition’ when Israel had not been ‘marketed’ properly for decades
Before the 6 Day War Israel had enjoyed a tremendous Hasbara advantage for positive and negative reasons. The post Holocaust “Phoenix rising from the ashes” metaphor of a nation crushed like no other nation had ever been crushed taking hold of its destiny and building a progressive modern country in a barren land in the face of constant hostility against overwhelming odds excited the imagination of Europe and America, as well as large segments of the Third World – especially Africa.
The social experiments of kibbutz, moshav, and large scale cooperatives excited the imagination of Europe’s democratic Left and gave this tiny country a special status in the Socialist International. Golda Meir’s standing in the International was almost equivalent to that of Willy Brandt and Harold Wilson. Israel’s comprehensive Trade Unionism (90% of the working population during its early years) gave Israel a disproportionate weight in international Trade Unionism. All this attracted “progressive” public opinion.
It also provided Diaspora Jewry with a source of pride and earned Gentile admiration. Israel was easy to sell. Sympathetic Jews and Gentile anti anti-Semites dominated the campuses and media. The best selling book Exodus and movies such as Exodus and Cast a Giant Shadow were public relations boons that could not be bought for billions of dollars today.
The competition was easy to disparage. King Saud’s gold plated Cadillac and dozens of wives were objects of parody and ridicule in popular culture, from stand up comedians to James Bond movies. Nasser and others came across as pro-Soviet dupes or thugs. The price of oil was low and dependence on Middle Eastern oil was still marginal. Few Arab or Moslem students and fewer Moslem faculty members were on western campuses.
Following the 6 Day War the Arabs began to engage in marketing on a major scale. They focused on the centers of future public opinion making – the university campuses. This was a turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This was the first time in their struggle with Zionism that the Arabs adopted a future oriented strategy that would bear fruit after several decades.
Zionism had been the ultimate future oriented political movement up until the 6 Day War. Following the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897 Herzl had written that he had created the Jewish State, perhaps not in a year or in ten years but certainly in 50 years. In 1947 the United Nations accepted the Partition Plan. Herzl’s The Jewish State was a futurist tract and his book Old New Land was a futurist scenario.
Ben Gurion was the embodiment of a Jewish futurist (the next 1,000 years being more important than the last 1,000 years). His call that Israel strive to become a Light unto the Nations was recognition that unless Israel became a light unto the nations it would not be a light unto the Jews. Without a transcendent future vision the Zionist project would ultimately fail.
Labor Zionism, in its many manifestations, was preoccupied with creating the future Jewish utopia. The writings of Labor Zionism’s great opponent Jabotinsky were also characterized by a stress on the future. His historical works were educational analogies intended to inspire future action. What separated modern religious Zionists from the ultra-Orthodox was their affiliation with Labor Zionism and its stress on the future. This future orientation had given us a tremendous cultural and political advantage over the Arabs.
Following the 6 Day War “practical” native born Israelis became a dominant force in Israeli politics. They disdained grand visions of the future and preoccupied themselves with the immediate. Their nickname in popular jargon was the ‘implementers’ – bitzuistim. Moshe Dayan was the foremost example of this generation. Following the Yom Kippur War the barrenness (and ultimate inefficiency) of a vision free Zionism was strongly felt. But the vacuum was filled by visions of the past, not the future. The settlement project of Gush Emunim in the occupied territories co-opted both the idealism and the instruments of the early Zionist pioneers. They claimed they were continuers of the early pioneers and the true representatives of Zionism. Unfortunately, many in Israel and in the West believed them. If this was “authentic Zionism” then perhaps Zionism itself was wrong. The seeds of post-Zionism in Israel and resurgent anti-Zionism in the West were planted. If Gush Emunim was the poster child of Zionism (and they did provide the best photo opportunities for a visual communications ruled planet) then how could “explainers” sell our message to a West ruled by post-colonial guilt?
The difference between Gush Emunim and the early pioneers was self evident. Gush Emunim wished to reconstruct the past at the expense of the future whilst the early pioneers had used the past as an inspiration to build a better future. But Labor and Liberal Zionist parties had no real response to Gush Emunim. They had no updated future oriented Zionist vision to offer. All they could do was fall back on their past achievements. This just helped Gush Emunim who acknowledged and praised past Labor achievements but portrayed themselves as continuers of the pioneering legacy. The revival of future Zionist visions – described in chapters 11-13 – finally offered a Zionist alternative to Gush Emunim; an alternative that rejuvenated Jewish idealism and Gentile admiration. Israeli Hasbara once again had a marketable product.
Tsvi Bisk. Islamization of the West
Large scale Moslem immigration to the West coincided with the decline of Israeli Hasbara. In 1950 Western Europe had less than a quarter of a million Moslems and two million Jews. In 2006 it had 20 million Moslems and one and a half million Jews. In 1950 North America had almost no Moslems. By 2006 Canada had more Moslems than Jews and the number of Moslems in the United States was about to surpass the Jews.
Following the 6 Day War great numbers of Arab students, financed by oil money scholarships, poured onto western campuses. They were well schooled in focused, on-message propaganda messages. Financed by their home countries, few had to work while studying. Their full time extra-curricular activity was pro-Arab and anti-Israel propaganda. It often seemed that the price of their scholarship was to become fulltime propagandists. Oil prices and western dependence on Moslem oil increased significantly during this period, further complicating the picture.
Europe was initially an easier market for Arab propagandists to penetrate than the United States. The post-colonial mindset of guilt ridden Europeans and their loss of moral self assurance (ironically to a large extent because of the Holocaust) made Europeans easy targets for Arab propagandists.
Unfortunately, Israel’s own behavior helped the Arabs. The Israeli occupation (and the early stages of “colonial” settlements) coincided with the beginning of the special relationship with the United States which was bogged down in Vietnam. This occurred during the height of the student revolutions of the 60’s. The timing could not have been worse.
For politically correct public opinion, Israel had become a “militaristic colonial aggressor, an ally of anti-Third World neo-imperialist America”. The Arabs, especially the Palestinians, were an oppressed and exploited Third World people. It was self-evident what position “progressive” people would take.
The special relationship Israel had enjoyed with European progressives began to wane. To be an academic with a “mature” view of world affairs one had to disabuse oneself of naïve support for Israel. Sentimental sympathy with previously oppressed Jews was not mature. Now they are the oppressors. In any case Zionism and Jewry are not one and the same. One could be an anti-Zionist without being anti-Jewish. There was no lack of Jewish “intellectuals” who, in order to be politically correct and transcend their own ethnic provinciality, gave credence to this distinction. American academia, looking over its shoulder at Europe in order to be “sophisticated” followed suit.
Jewish and Israeli students were overwhelmed by this wave of sudden hostility, while the self-confident and somewhat arrogant post 6 Day War Israeli establishment was dismissive of the threat and provided no guidance. Campuses and the media were seen as marginal to the centers of real power that “manly” Israeli politicians were cultivating. Intellectuals and political commentators who were disturbed by developments were treated with condescension and disdain. Their concern for what the goyim were thinking was dismissed as a lingering characteristic of the ghetto Jew. There was something effeminate and “old Jew” about this kind of worrying. Manly “new Jews” concerned themselves with real problems, not with words. They used a misinterpretation of Ben Gurion’s famous statement: “It’s not important what the goyim think (or say); it’s important what the Jews do”.
In truth there hadn’t been an Israeli leader who had been more concerned with what the goyim thought than Ben Gurion. This was because the goyim sometimes acted on what they thought and what they did was important to the Jews. Ben Gurion never ignored or dismissed Gentile views. He always wanted to know what the goyim were thinking. But he also knew that no matter what they thought we still had the freedom to do something – something not anything.
Geopolitical constraints were Ben Gurion’s forte and what made him a great leader. He was for the U.N. Partition Plan and fought for it against substantial Zionist opposition because he knew it was what was obtainable given the political limitations of the time. He also knew it was a window of opportunity that would close as political reality began to work against us. He would never have uttered those infamous post 6 Day War words “time is on our side”. For him time was never on our side.
There was, therefore, no coherent, organized, ‘on message’ Jewish response to the Arab propaganda machine. A hundred Arab spokesmen would use the same arguments and have the same responses. Fifty Jewish spokesmen would have fifty different responses. Israel’s previous public relations advantage had been unplanned. It had been realized inadvertently—by Israel’s own achievements, by the corrupt state of the Arab world and by Hollywood.
Moreover, the occupation and the beginnings of the settlement project splintered Israeli public opinion and Israeli political parties into many shades of opinion. From Herut’s ‘annex everything’ to Mapam’s ‘give everything back’ to Labor having a half a dozen positions within the same party. When public opinion is conflicted a democracy has difficulty in formulating and executing a coherent information campaign. What product were we selling?—Israel the colonial power exploiting cheap Arab labor or Israel the peace seeker and beacon of social justice? What policy were we explaining? – Our historic rights to the land; our territorial requirements for security; our desire for peace; our need for cheap labor; our own inability to decide what we want?
Being the only democracy in the Middle East we could not design or control our message when it came to the occupation. Our message was as conflicted as our internal politics. Thus steps taken to rid ourselves of the occupation became Israel’s greatest Hasbara achievement.
Negative and Positive Hasbara
The revamped Jewish Hasbara campaign of 2007 had two aspects: negative and positive. Negative Hasbara aimed at de-legitimizing Arab/Moslem and certain NGO and media positions vis-à-vis Israel, Zionism and the Jews. Positive Hasbara was based on Israel’s achievements. Tactics were new. They included websites, Google ads, email chain letters and articles, specialty magazines, blogs, exposé books etc.
The strategy of weakening Persian Gulf oil power also paid dividends in the new Hasbara campaign. With less oil money being contributed to universities, dozens of spurious Middle East Studies Programs (dedicated to turning out anti-Israel partisans rather than objective scholars) were enfeebled or transformed into legitimate academic enterprises. Less oil money also limited the dissemination of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel literature as well as negative public relations. The oil states had to sell off substantial foreign investments in order to finance the daily activities of their countries. Their influence over the international investment community and media lessened. The beginning of their integration into the knowledge economy and the kind of leadership and international partnerships this required also served to moderate their position. It was harder for them to explain and more difficult for western apologists to excuse their blatant anti-Semitism.
The relative power of international oil companies (which were indirect partners in Arab PR and lobbying) declined. The relative power of international high tech companies with a significant Israeli presence continued to grow. Israel’s own high tech powerhouse and its developments in information technology, alternate energy, materials science, medical technology, bio-tech and nano-tech continued to make image enhancing headlines.
Practical peace making with the Palestinians was the ultimate positive Hasbara. It revealed that the root cause of instability in the Middle East was not the Israel/Palestine issue. The true “root cause” reflected the title of a controversial book The Crisis of Islamic Civilization: the Cultural Origins of Jihadism (2010). As the book was written by Moslem intellectuals the academic left could not dismiss it as racist (as they had done with Samuel Huntingdon’s Clash of Civilizations). The book was modeled on the classic The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (Howard Fertig Publishers, 1999) by Prof. George Mosse. It was analogous to Mosse’s critical analysis of German cultural pathologies prior and parallel to the rise of Hitler.
The Crisis of Islamic Civilization asserted that certain psychological pathologies in Islamic culture, a result of not having been able to integrate into modernity, were the primary cause of the social and political pathologies affecting Islamic societies. Much of the analysis was based on Bernhard Lewis’s book What Went Wrong (Weidenfield and Nicolson, 2002), which was an historical investigation of Islam’s failure to deal with modernity. One particular portion of The Crisis of Islamic Civilization stands out and sums up the thrust of the book:
For every Moslem killed by Israelis, British and Americans since 1950 a hundred Moslems have been killed by our fellow Moslems. 50,000 gassed in Yemen by Nasser in the 60’s, a million killed in the Iran-Iraq war in the 80’s; 200,000 killed in Algeria in the 90’s; Saddam Hussein’s slaughter of his own citizens; tens of thousands killed in sectarian Sunni Shia strife in Pakistan and Iraq. Over 8 million Moslems have been killed by our fellow Moslems in this period, compared to 60,000 by Israel (mostly on the battlefield).
Compared to unsubstantiated Western contempt for Islamic culture, real internal Moslem contempt is striking. This intra-Moslem contempt is exemplified by Wahabi Sunnis destroying Shia shrines in Saudi Arabia.
Moslem contempt for non-Moslems has been even more prominent. Moslem Sudan murdered over one million non-Moslems in southern Sudan. Moslem Taliban committed the greatest cultural atrocity of the 21st century when it blew up Buddhist statues, which were one of the wonders of the world. This aroused no Moslem indignation, but caricatures in a Danish newspaper moved millions to demonstrate, riot and boycott.
Our culture of self-pity and denial as well as our inability to engage in constructive self-criticism are the true enemies of Islam. The Moslems themselves are the greatest enemy of Islam, not the Zionists, the Americans or the British.
The book was attacked by Moslem and multi-cultural apologists as a self-hating caricature. They held to the view that if not for the invasion of Zionism Islam would have had wonderful relations with the West. The Palestinian-Israeli peace, however, removed this excuse for failed Islamic states. As was to be expected, the radical Left (especially the Jewish subsection of it) and radical Islamists did not accept this “false peace” and continued to attack Israel. But these positions were becoming ‘curiouser and curiouser’ in the eyes of public opinion. One of the tangential benefits of the peace was a significant marginalization of the advocates of bizarre political belief.
Grants were provided to Black intellectuals and academics to research the Arab slave trade, which preceded and outlasted the European slave trade. High powered PR turned a book entitled The Arab Slave Trade (2009) into a best seller. The following quote reflects its theme: “The Arab Slave Trade lasted from 700 to 1911 AD. It has been estimated that 14 million slaves were sold and that 14-20 million African men, women and children died throughout this period”. Another best selling book was entitled Arab Oil Politics and Africa (2010). This book demonstrated how Arab oil politics, especially the boycotts of the 1970’s had contributed to Africa’s economic misery.
One academic monograph in particular had a tremendous impact on African intellectuals. Cultural Imperialism and its Impact on Modernization in Africa (2011) was an objective analysis of European and Islamic cultures as foreign implants in Africa and their relative impact on Africa’s attempts to modernize. Statistical comparisons of the economic and social development of Christian and Moslem areas of Africa were not favorable to Islam. Qualitative comparisons regarding the status of women and attitudes towards secular education produced even more negative results. The consequences of Islamic missionary success in Africa and Christian missionary success in China were also compared. One of the controversial conclusions of the book was that the biggest impediment to African development in the 21st century was not the legacy of European imperialism, nor the neo-colonialism of international corporations. It was rather the inertia of certain African cultural practices combined with certain Islamic cultural attitudes.
These publications coincided with the rise of new technocratic African elites interested in development rather than utopian ideologies. They were concerned more with the welfare of their people than conforming to political fashion. These developments were favorable to Israel and enabled the regeneration of African-Israeli relations that were so notable before the 6 Day War. Israel was again seen as an alternative model for development – even by moderate African Moslems. African countries no longer automatically sided with their Arab and Moslem colleagues in the United Nations and other international bodies against Israel. Sentimental identification with the Arab cause was neutralized. This, and practical developmental considerations, made African elites and African-American intellectuals more pre-disposed to Israel and to Jewish issues. General public opinion soon followed. The balanced African approach to the Middle East helped neutralize hostile “progressive” European opinion. Simplistic slogans treating the Third World as if it were a single entity went out of fashion. Progressive thinking once again became as sophisticated and nuanced as it had been prior to the rise of the postmodern Left.
A series of exposé books and television programs dealing with the Palestinians were produced. A History of the Palestinians (2009) included statistics about the hugely disproportionate aid they had received compared to other refugee problems following WWII. Another comparison demonstrated how by 2006 the Palestinians had received four times the aid per individual that Europe had received under the Marshall Plan. A particularly revealing chapter dealt with how UNWRA bureaucrats helped Palestinian politicians misrepresent demographics in order to get more money from the international community. UNRWA was revealed to have become a corrupt, inefficient, self-serving and self-perpetuating bureaucracy that had a vested interest in preserving Palestinian suffering.
Another book taking the same line was The Enemy is us – a Critical View of the Palestinian Problem (2010). It dealt with the harm done to the Palestinians as a result of the forgiving attitudes of the international community.
There was also Palestinian Refugees – the Great Hoax (2009) which compared the per capita aid given to other refugees (in Africa and the refugees of the India Partition tragedy in particular). Finally a public debate began on how the disproportionate pre-occupation with the Palestinian problem and Israel bashing had diverted attention from other humanitarian crises. One prominent study compared the airtime and print space given to the Palestinians and the Lebanese war from 2004 to 2006 with that given to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan during the same period.
Injustices to the Palestinians were not denied or dismissed. But it was no longer taboo to point out that past injustices did not release a nation’s leaders from making rational policy decisions based on the constraints of political reality. Arafat’s rebuff of Barak at Camp David for fear of his own people was compared to Ben Gurion’s fearless acceptance of the Partition Plan and his battle to sell it to a hostile Zionist leadership and Jewish public opinion.
A legal academic monograph became the subject of debate amongst professional jurists and international NGOs. It was commissioned by The International Association of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists www.intjewishlawyers.org, its affiliate The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists www.jewishlawyers.org and The North American Network of Jewish Lawyers’ Organizations www.nanjlo.org. It was entitled Does the U.N.’s Treatment of Israel and Certain Consequences and Interpretations of this Treatment Constitute an Accumulative and Ongoing ‘Bill of Attainder’ and Violation of Constitutional Principles (2009). Bills of Attainder are laws especially designed to impose legal sanctions or disabilities on a particular individual or class of people. They have been unconstitutional in the Anglo Saxon legal tradition since the Magna Carta and are specifically banned in the English Bill of Rights and in the American Constitution.
The contemporary interpretation of UN General Assembly resolution 194 calling for the return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel was cited as a prime example of a Bill of Attainder. No similar resolution existed for the 20 million refugees of the Indian partition or for the 9 million ethnic Germans expelled from their ancestral homelands in Eastern Europe following WWII. Moreover, implementation of 194 (as interpreted by Israel’s enemies) would have meant the destruction of the Jewish State. This would have been a violation of the UN Charter declaring the right of every People to self determination.
The Palestinians could have achieved self-determination without the ‘right of return’ to Israel. Implementation of this “right” would have deprived the Jews of their right of self-determination. It was thus unconstitutional on two grounds: it was a Bill of Attainder the implementation of which would have resulted in the death of a sovereign state and it would have violated the UN Charter.
A broader debate ensued. Is international governance Majoritarian or constitutional? Are the rights of states, nations and peoples to life, liberty and a land of their own unalienable, constitutionally guaranteed and indifferent to majority whim, or are they dependent on the will and agreement of the majority? The question was asked, would African Americans have achieved their full civil rights if the American system had been Majoritarian and not constitutional?
NGOs were another target of negative Hasbara with the express purpose of putting them on the defensive in all things related to Jewish issues. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was one example. They had had knowledge of the Holocaust and declined to publicize it to the world claiming that international law forbade them to do it. This was especially incongruous as the ICRC had since often accused Israel of violating International Law. The ICRC did not protest when the Swiss State refused to give refuge to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. The Swiss sent them back to certain death in Germany. It was not well known at the time that the ICRC was a statutory body of Switzerland. The Red Cross flag and the Swiss flag are the same. The Red Cross sent Swiss physicians to treat Nazi troops on the Eastern front and some ICRC officials aided Nazis to flee to South America after the war.
The ICRC hired Francois Genoud, a notorious Swiss Nazi, to work for them in Belgium after the Holocaust. To see how sordid this individual was, access the following from Hitler’s Swiss Connection, by David Preston (Philadelphia Inquirer Jan.1997) http://members.aol.com/voyl/barbie/genoud.htm. These little known facts were now widely publicized. A scholarly book by Jean-Claude Favez (The Red Cross and the Holocaust, Cambridge University Press, 1999) was reissued. As a consequence of this publicity the ICRC became wary of their criticism of Israel, to the benefit of Jewish Hasbara.
A yearly Arithmetic of Tears report was issued. It added up the airtime and print space devoted to various crises around the world in relation to the number of dying or suffering in these same crises. It took particular notice of the reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. A survey reviewing twenty years of Amnesty reports (between 1986-2006) added up the print space devoted to Rwanda, Darfur, and human rights in the Moslem world and compared it to the print space devoted to Israel and Palestine – without comment. Funding of these and other advocate organizations was also noted and publicized as well as the political biographies of its activists – also without comment. Israeli and Jewish spokesmen when asked about the report replied ‘no comment’. The silence was deafening. The facts spoke for themselves. Israel ceased to be the object of sanctimonious condescension. Criticism of Israel became to the point and often on target.
For example, when Amnesty condemned Israel for its treatment of foreign workers and its poor record in stopping the trafficking in women for the sex trade, decent Israelis applauded and thanked them. This had been a disgrace and an affront to Ben Gurion’s vision, not to mention to Jewish tradition. When Amnesty ceased its disproportionate Israel bashing it began to fulfill its proper role as an international oversight organization on human rights. Israel benefited all around.
A similar development occurred with Human Rights Watch. They evolved into a professional organization not dominated by activists with a political agenda. They had been particularly embarrassed by a television program criticizing the ethics of the media in the era of cable television. The title of the program was: When are Journalistic Ignorance and Unprofessionalism Unethical? It related to journalists reporting on issues of which they had no knowledge. It gave examples of prejudicial statements, questions and out of context photo shots. It gave examples of journalists ignorant of facts. This type of reporting was branded unethical because, in the electronic age, pictures are iconic and poor reporting has a strategic impact that can help destroy a people.
A major issue addressed by Israel and the Diaspora was the environment. The Jewish Global Environmental Network (JGEN) www.jgenisrael.org along with The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life www.coejl.org, The Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership www.heschel.org.il , Israel Union for Environmental Defense www.iued.org.il , and The Green Environment Fund (GEF) www.gef.org.il joined to establish Project Pristine – dedicated to returning the Israeli environment to its original pristine condition. This project not only excited the idealism of unaffiliated Jewish youth, it also earned a great deal of positive Hasbara.
Between 2008 and 2015 the project turned Israel into a model for environmental responsibility. The project combined revolutions in agricultural and industrial recycling with alternative energy. Its focus was to turn Israel’s human habitation into a closed system – in other words to achieve 100% recycling of organic and industrial waste. Project Pristine by its very nature overlapped with the Israel Energy Project discussed in chapter 12.
Israel is a major bird migration route. A quarter of a billion birds a year migrate over Israel. Bird watching is the third most popular hobby in the world after gardening and walking. Over 50 million people worldwide engage in this hobby and are of a class of people that help determine public opinion. A half a million birdwatcher tourists visit Israel each year. Project Pristine publishes a multi-lingual magazine called The Israeli Bird Watcher. It has over ten million subscribers. An online multi-lingual version of the magazine gets several hundred million hits a year. Israel’s efforts in this aspect of conservation have earned it tens of millions of friends around the world who are an asset in its Hasbara campaign.
Other positive Hasbara resources were Israel’s non-altruistic welfare policy, especially Israel’s success at integrating the handicapped into society and the economy. Israeli agricultural systems and developments in water engineering and management were at the forefront of ending world hunger. The killer application was Israel’s development of plants that could be directly irrigated by sea water.
The canard that Zionism was a colonialist movement was addressed in a essay entitled The Differences between Zionism and Colonialism (2008). It made the following points:
- All other colonial enterprises represented or derived from an existing mother country or group of countries
- No other colonial enterprise viewed itself as returning to its homeland
- No other modern colonial enterprise was driven by the desire of the colonizers to escape persecution and discrimination
- No other colonial enterprise viewed its colonial ambition as being part and parcel of their national cultural, psychological and moral renewal
- No other colonial enterprise satisfied itself with only one colony
- No other colonial enterprise desired so passionately to settle a land devoid of natural resources
- No other colonial enterprise desired to create an independent state (all the others saw themselves as dependent colonies of the mother country)
- No other colonial enterprise desired to create an entirely new society
Zionism is unique (just like the rest of Jewish history) and thus the Middle East conflict is unique.
As a consequence of the above the special relationship the Arabs had enjoyed with western progressives for the forty years between 1967 and 2007 began to wane. To have a mature view of world affairs one had to disabuse oneself of naïve support for the Palestinians in particular and the Arabs in general. Gender apartheid in the Moslem world became an international issue, one that pro-Arab intellectuals could not explain away or justify in the name of the Palestinian issue (the famous “root cause” of everything dreadful in the Moslem world). Sentimental sympathy with previously oppressed Palestinians eroded after the Israeli-Palestinian understandings (which turned out to be Israel’s greatest Hasbara achievement). Automatic sympathy with the Arabs was no longer mature. Now they are the oppressors – of women, of minorities and of other Moslems. For most of western public opinion events in the Middle East became a non-issue because of energy independence that helped neutralize Jihadist terror and the eventual peace between Israel and most of its Arab neighbors.