Israel's Psychological Warfare Deficiency
William A. LevinsonWilliam A. Levinson is the author or editor of nine books on management,...
Freedom House's assessment of the Middle East and North Africa shows 2 percent of the population out of 21 countries, and 405 million people, to be free. It is easy to identify the country that is responsible for this 2 percent. Note that 7.9 million out of 405 million is roughly 2 percent. The 2014 Map of Freedom also is highly instructive, and you have to (1) magnify the map and (2) look really hard to see the only free country in the Middle East. Why, then, does public opinion denounce Israel as an oppressive nation?
Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War that war is of vital importance to the nation, a path to safety or ruin. Colonel Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger wrote similarly in Psychological Warfare (1954, page 1), "Yet success, though incalculable, can be overwhelming; and failure, though undetectable, can be mortal." Israel's enemies have turned it into the world's pariah because, even though Israel has one of the best armies in the world, its psychological warfare is clearly the worst.
This was exactly the problem that Germany had during the First World War. Adolf Hitler was, unfortunately, the German who learned the most from his country's shortcomings in managing its public relations. He later wrote in Mein Kampf, "Had we any propaganda at all? Alas, I can reply only in the negative." Hitler, therefore, learned the techniques he used to demonize Jews and other enemies from Triple Entente propagandists whose depiction of Germans was no better than the Nazis' subsequent depiction of Jews. Abuse of women and prisoners, along with infants on German bayonets, were common themes. Entente propagandists had a field day with the sinking of the Lusitania, which, as it turned out, Germany had every right in the world to sink.
The diving team estimates that around four million rounds of U.S.-manufactured Remington .303 bullets lie in the Lusitania's hold at a depth of 300ft.
.303 was, of course, the caliber used by the British Army's Lee-Enfield Rifle, and this ammunition had no purpose other than to kill German soldiers--much like the war materials that Israel's enemies are now smuggling to terrorists. The key takeaway here is, however, that Germany allowed its enemies to demonize it as a murderer of civilians, instead of demonizing the United Kingdom for using civilians as human shields for an arms shipment, possibly with the intention of getting them killed to draw the United States into the war. The same lesson applies to Israel's handling of the death of International Solidarity Movement member Rachel Corrie.
We have seen so far that (1) Germany lost the First World War because its clueless approach to propaganda allowed its enemies to goad the United States into entering the war, (2) the vulnerability of unprepared populations to propaganda killed more than 110,000 Americans in a war in which the United States had no business, and (3) one of the worst monsters in human history learned enough from this experience to cause tens of millions of deaths less than 30 years later. It is first, however, instructive to examine the historical effectiveness of propaganda.
Proven Historical Effectiveness of Propaganda
- Propaganda may have stopped Alexander the Great's explorations of India after Indian military power failed. The Indians learned that the Macedonian soldiers were afraid of elephants, even though they defeated an army with elephants at the Hydaspes. The Macedonians began to hear stories to the effect that those had been little elephants, and that the elephants got larger as one went further east.
- Genghis Khan terrified his enemies by spreading tales of "numberless Mongolian hordes" in advance of his conquests.
- Martin Luther put the entire Catholic religion in jeopardy of its very existence with nothing more than hand-cranked printing presses, and vicious woodcut propaganda pictures. One, for example, portrayed the contemporary Pope as an indulgence seller, and pay particular attention to the fact that the picture is understandable by somebody who cannot read. Can we bring down militant "Islam" in the same manner?
- Unscrupulous American journalists, the Yellow Press, started the Spanish American War with pictures that portrayed Spaniards as lecherous abusers of American women, and dangerous fanged beasts. The famous artist Frederic Remington provided the former.
- Grant Hamilton's Spanish Brute turned into a German Brute for the First World War.
- "Ravished Armenia," a 1919 film, showed Turks butchering Armenian civilians, burning Armenians alive, crucifying Armenian women, and even perpetrating an early version of the Bataan Death March. Had it been released in 1916 or 1917, it would have doubtlessly contributed to the Triple Entente's war effort.
- We have already seen how Hitler used propaganda to take over Germany, perpetrate the Holocaust, and start a war that killed tens of millions of human beings.
- The United States then published war propaganda that depicted Germans and Japanese as bestial and subhuman monsters.
Now consider what Israel's enemies are doing. They are using Mein Kampf, along with Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda, to guide their demonization of Jews. Arab propaganda includes Jews with exaggerated Semitic features, Jews as rats (as shown in The Eternal Jew), Jews as Nazis, and Jews as the killers of Jesus. In the latter image, an Israeli bayonets Jesus in his mother's arms while the latter begs, "Do not kill him TWICE." The latter is, by the way, a VERY bad place for Islamists to go because of their own treatment of Christians. The elephant in the living room is, however, Israel's total failure to use the Islamists' mistreatment of Christians against them.
As stated by Lord Clifford in King Henry VI, "I will not bandy with thee word for word/ But buckle with thee blows, twice two for one!" Israel, and indeed all of civilized Humanity, must retaliate against the militant Islamists in kind, and with enormous compound interest.
(1) Identify the Propaganda Man, or the audience to whom we wish to direct our argument. Examples include:
- Women in Europe and the United States. Propaganda should depict Islamist misogyny, stonings of women under Sharia law, female genital mutilation, and similar abuses.
- Gay people, e.g. Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT). A simple example would be a photograph of Iranians hanging people for being gay, and possibly an inflammatory caption like "Kill a Queer for Allah." Compare Nazi and Islamist concentration camps, with pink triangles for gay inmates. Add crosses for Christians, and the symbol for women (the alchemical symbol for Venus and copper), to the concentration camp symbols.
- Christians, e.g. Presbyterian Church USA. (The latter advocates boycott, divestment, and sanctions.) Caption pictures and videos of Islamists killing people for being Christians with a line like, "What do you think they would to to Jesus?" In other words, we pay back the "Christ Killer" propaganda in kind, and with enormous compound interest.
- Europeans and North Americans in general. "The last ideology that talked about killing Jews and dominating the world came with a swastika, and it meant every word it said." The Palestinian children's show Pioneers of Tomorrow, in fact, talks about annihilating Jews, and Islamic domination of the world. Militant Islamic protesters with signs that say Islam will dominate the world, a flag with the Shahada on top of the White House, and so on, add to the hitting power of this propaganda.
- The Palestinian rank and file: "What have Hamas, and militant Islam, done for you lately?" The mullahs who are telling teenage boys to blow themselves up while killing Israelis don't seem to be in any big hurry themselves. Prove to the opposing rank and file that their own leaders do not believe their own religious statements, and it will soon be all over for them.
(2) Do not define the enemy too widely.
During the Second World War, it would have been poor policy to define all Germans as enemies worthy of extermination. People of German ancestry were, at the time, probably the second largest ethnic group in the United States! There were also plenty of Germans in Germany who had no use for Hitler, and who might have been willing to surrender, desert, or malinger. Had we defined them all as enemies, they would probably have fought harder. It was far better policy to depict their leaders as self-serving tyrants who were leading Sacred Germany to disaster. A highly effective First World War cartoon for Germans, meanwhile, pointed out that the Kaiser had lost none of his own sons in battle.
It would similarly be a mistake, as well as flat out wrong, to define all Arabs, or all Muslims, as enemies. Israel has loyal citizens of Arab ethnicity, and/or the Muslim religion. The enemy is not all of Islam, but militant Islam (aka Islamism). Most victims of mindless Islamist violence are Muslims, including not only women but also people whose mosques get blown up because they are the wrong kinds of mosques. Other Muslim victims include the Shiites whom Ayatollah Khomeini fed into Iraqi machine guns, as well as Arab soldiers sent to their deaths in wars against Israel.
(3) Arguments must be short, simple, and effective.
Sally Hogshead pointed out at the 2013 ASQ World Conference that any communication has roughly 9 seconds to fascinate the person to whom it is directed. This is why propaganda pictures are so effective. The human brain is designed to process images, and not words. The propaganda with which Martin Luther and his allies almost destroyed Catholicism included pictures that could be understood by an illiterate person.
(4) Arguments must be truthful.
Israel's enemies do not care about this consideration, but we must. Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus ("False in one thing, false in all") means that, the instant we lie to the Propaganda Man, we lose his trust--and rightly so. When we draw a nasty picture of some Islamist atrocity, we must be able to back it up with the truth. It is often effective to include an objective reference so the Propaganda Man can verify independently that we are telling him the truth.
(5) Propaganda is an offensive weapon. "The surest parry is a disabled opponent."
General Patton, who was an expert mounted swordsman before he got into tanks, wrote of the saber, "the surest parry is a disabled opponent." This means we do not try to defend ourselves from the enemy's attacks, but destroy the enemy's credibility instead. Consider, for example, the Rachel Corrie controversy, and the Mossad's alleged killing of a terrorist in Dubai.
- The International Solidarity Movement accused Israel of "murdering" Rachel Corrie. Instead of pointing out that her death was an accident (defensive), cite statements by at least two ISM figures and a Hamas terrorist that Rachel Corrie was more useful to their cause dead (as a martyr) than alive. Add that the ISM knowingly, willfully, and recklessly endangered her life by continuing their "direct action" with moving construction equipment after experiencing, per their own testimony, several close calls. One might even argue credibly that the ISM set her up to be killed for propaganda purposes.
- Ask why Dubai was knowingly harboring a terrorist. When Dubai has to defend, it can no longer attack Israel for allegedly carrying out an assassination on its soil.
It is also important to point out at every opportunity how Israel's enemies treat their own people, including especially women, infidels, and gay people. Add that their policies of teaching children hatred instead of science keeps them in poverty and squalor, while Israelis have created a high standard of living for themselves.
(6) A behavioral choice is not a race.
The standard response of Islamists and their enablers (e.g. CAIR) is that any criticism of Islamist violence is racist. A behavioral choice is not a race. End of story.
A study by RPI shows that ten percent of a population can always, and I repeat always, impose its belief on the entire society. "Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society." Colonel Linebarger stated, however, that the figure is closer to two percent. This explains how a handful of Nazis could take over one of the most advanced nations in Europe, and it attests to the devastating effectiveness of psychological warfare. It also explains how militant Islamists can turn the ONLY free nation in the Middle East into an international pariah, while they escape blame for their ongoing litany of atrocities.
Israel must embrace the psychological warfare weapon, and unleash it with no restraint whatsoever, to expose its enemies for what they really are. This will help ensure not only the safety of Israel, but also countless Christians and women who suffer daily persecution by an ideology every bit as vicious as the one that the civilized world finally put down in 1945.