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Soviet Propaganda's Ripple Effect Must Be Overcome

Reader comment on item: Why Israelis Shy from Victory

Submitted by Dave (United States), Aug 31, 2018 at 18:38

According to Romanian Communist defector, Ion Pacepa, in 1968 the Soviets launched a propaganda effort in order to gain influence with the Arabs. As a way to counter the widespread, and obvious, perception that Israel faced overwhelming odds, a myth of a "Palestinian" nationality was created in order to portray Israel as a bully picking on a small, hapless minority.

The Soviet effort met with resounding success for several reasons. Recall that the late 60's occurred with the backdrop of the Vietnam War, and a particularly violent phase of the American civil rights movement. Many people, particularly those among the intellectual elites, were angry with the West and were therefore very susceptible to Communist propaganda, and also sympathetic to the oppressed Third World. This was the case all over the western world, but also included many American Jews, many of whom attended college, opposed the Vietnam War, and were active in civil rights. Combine this propitious timing with western ignorance of Islamic ideology, and there was a tectonic shift in public opinion which has only deepened as time has gone by.

Along with this development, the relative lack of success of this Israel-as-Goliath fantasy among eastern Europeans reflects the greater degree of skepticism towards Soviet fairy tales, among those who had the misfortune to endure forced membership in the Soviet Empire. Also, eastern Europeans were largely left out of the civil rights controversies that made racism the paramount evil in the West, and several eastern European countries have a more proximate, and negative, acquaintance with Islam.

Thus was born an ingenious myth in the West which recast the Arab-Israeli conflict as a civil rights struggle, and not a jihad. This is why so many liberals and leftists absolutely refuse to discuss Islamic ideology unless it is idealized. To do otherwise would destroy their comforting illusions.

Israelis, of course, are influenced by the various ideological currents in the world and are subject to many of the common illusions of the day, and their liberal American cousins have some effect. The result is that Israel finds its maneuverability highly restricted by an "international community" which often is similarly delusional and ignorant.

Victory should entail making clear that the jihad against Israel is a jihad and not a civil rights struggle.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Good points, but quite unrelated to this article.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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