Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier"s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish. Links to the Author's blogs: * A Soldier"s MotherPaulaSays...
It's a really important lesson we Israelis must learn - how to fight the publicity war. We make a huge error, though an honorable one and one I am not sure we will ever change. We tell the truth. There it is - the simple reason why we lose and they win.
Take today's reality. An Arab approached soldiers at a checkpoint and attempted to stab them. He was shot and killed before being successful. Now, anywhere else in the world anyone would think the soldiers should be congratulated for protecting themselves and their post from a direct threat. Anywhere...and anyone doesn't, apparently, apply to the Arabs.
According to today's news, the Arabs are condemning the incident as a "dangerous escalation." No, not the knife attack, which is common place enough, but the shooting of the attacker. BBC headlines their article with, "Palestinian killed at checkpoint."
Of course, BBC would proudly proclaim in the halls of all journalism schools that they had reported the truth and, in fact, they have. The slant, the angle, their agenda notwithstanding, the headlines, in large letters, proclaims, "Palestinian shot by Israelis at Checkpoint" - lest you think, for even a moment, that it was accidental. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12104336)
The next line, in a much calmer font and size. "A Palestinian man has been shot dead after trying to attack Israeli troops at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus." BBC finally gets around to telling us in the first paragraph.
And the best example of BBC's ongoing, blatant anti-Israel campaign comes with the next two-thirds of the article has nothing to do with the incident at the checkpoint which by any stretch of normal was not a dangerous escalation or an unwarranted death. So, BBC wrote about an incident on Friday in which a Palestinian allegedly, according to BBC's sources (why give them any credibility) is said to have died of tear gas inhalation.
Radio reports say the Palestinians claim that this woman has been at similar riots and inhaled gas and was fine so therefore, according to the Palestinians, this proves that the Israelis used more powerful or greater quantities of gas. Not to be outdone, the Palestinians also insist that the gas was fired without any provocation, before any violence on the Palestinian side had even erupted. Of course, many reports and physical evidence (video and pictures) prove this is nonsense.
Even the reports from the Palestinian side differ and, as usual, they remain unwilling to produce a body for examination. One report says the woman was pregnant and stabbed - suggesting some deeper, perhaps societal reason for her death.
This is the way propaganda should be fought - we have no proof, yet, that Jawaher Abu Rahmeh was sexually promiscuous, had met a secret lover and was bearing him a child. But why waste time with the facts, could be one lesson we learn from the Palestinians. Perhaps our leadership should now announce this questionable rumor as fact and criticize the well-known and despicable "honor killing" prevalent among Arab society.
Evidence of the child she carried and the stab wounds would be enough. Of course, it won't work. This is an exercise in futility because such reputable news agencies as BBC would never allow evidence to be so presented...unless, of course, it puts Israel in a bad light.
A Palestinian got up this morning and decided to cross illegally into Israel. When he was stopped, he picked up a weapon and attempted to stab soldiers. This was an attack - it was answered as it would have been answered by any trained army in the world under attack.
Israel has truth on its side - it always has and it always will. So we won't tell the world that Jawaher was a shunned woman punished by her family for her many sexual escapades with her numerous lovers. We'll tell the truth - she came to a protest location that often turns violent - likely as part of her ongoing need to avenge the death of her brother, who similarly died in violent clashes with the IDF because her mother, who now says she wants her remaining children to live, didn't teach her two dead children that attacking soldiers is just stupid.
So what we have are two incidents in which Palestinians were involved in violent clashes with the IDF - one involved rock throwing - where a soldier lost an eye recently, and one involving an attempt to stab soldiers at a checkpoint when they were only doing their jobs.
BBC focuses not on the violence perpetrated but on the response. Only after the shock value, do they bother with the truth, the facts.
So how we fight the publicity war remains the same - we fight with truth, we fight with the facts. No, we don't expect the likes of BBC to suddenly start reporting the news in an ethical and honest way; just as we don't expect the Palestinians to use truth and words rather than missiles and rocks.
I don't know if Jawaher was pregnant; hopefully that truth will come out as it did with Aayat al-Akhras who engaged in a pre-marital sexual relationship with her fiancé and probably became pregnant with his child before she decided she could reclaim her integrity by murdering two innocent people and injuring 22 others. Then there's
Wafa' Idris who shamed her family by not only getting divorced but of apparently being barren. After nine years with no children (did they never hear it could have been HIS fault?) and a divorce, what better way to gain honor than murdering someone and injuring over 90?
Oh, and there's Hanadi Jaradat - another promiscuous one who felt better to die than be remembered for her sexual activities. She murdered 21 and wounded almost 50 in Haifa. And the one that personally makes me sick every time I think of her - Reem al-Riyashi. She murdered 4 Israelis and wounded 10 more because her husband caught her in an extra-marital affair with her Hamas handler. She chose suicide over mothering her two young children.
Slowly, these truths came out but they weren't enough for the likes of BBC as they will about today's attackers.
So, returning to the question of how to fight the publicity war...I guess I'll be honest, I believe we fight it with one truth at a time, one fact at a time, one person at a time. At some point, that was why I chose to continue this blog. So that the next time you hear about an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian, you'll think of Elie and Chaim, Yaakov and Shmulik. You've read about their training. You know they have been taught to be responsible for a gun and you know, if they pull that gun and shoot - it is after they have given warning; after they have exhausted all other options.
You know the truth - one truth at a time. Today, a Palestinian got angry for whatever reason. He wanted something and he couldn't have it. Too bad. There are reasons for checkpoints and reasons for permits. He did something violent and certainly something stupid. It was not a dangerous escalation - as the stupid Palestinian leadership wants you to believe; it was not unprovoked, as BBC's headlines might make you think.
A truth. One truth...and as the truths pile higher, they will outweigh all the lies and bury the media in its blinding light.Today, a Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier. That is the headlines that should have appeared today.