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December 1, 2012

Friends of Israel wonder why we lose the propaganda war

By Ted Belman

Ever hear of Avaaz.org? No? Neither have I.

Evidently

    Avaaz.org is a 17-million-person global campaign network* that works to
    ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global
    decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.)
    Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread
    across 19 countries on 6 continents and operates in 14 languages.

They promoted the Palestinian cause and issued this report summarizing the work they did to help achieve enormous support for Palestinian statehood. This is what we are up against.

Avaaz.org – The World in Action Avaazers, it’s time to celebrate!

A few minutes ago, *the UN voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine
as the world’s 194th state!!!* It’s a huge victory for the Palestinian
people, for peace, for our community, and people across the world are
joining with massive crowds in Palestine to celebrate.

The Palestinian people’s journey to freedom is far from over. But this
is a powerful step, and our community played a key role in it.
Palestine’s Ambassador to Europe said today:

    */”Avaaz and its members across the world have played a crucial role in
    persuading governments to support the Palestinian people’s bid for a
    state and for freedom and peace. They have stood with us throughout and
    their solidarity and support will be remembered and cherished across
    Palestine.”/* – Leila Shahid, General Palestinian Delegate to Europe

    /Brussels Action: While EU leaders were met, THIS was happening right
    outside their windows/

    /Madrid Action: Avaaz members want Spain PM Rajoy to say YES!/

    The US and Israeli governments, beholden to extreme lobby groups (yes,
    sadly even Obama has given in), threw everything they had at crushing
    this vote, using financial threats and even threatening to overthrow the
    Palestinian President if he went ahead. *Europe was the key swing vote,*
    and under intense US pressure, leaders were, just two weeks ago, leaning
    towards not supporting the Palestinian state. Knowing the stakes, our
    community responded with the speed and democratic force that we needed
    to win:

    * *Nearly 1.8 million of us signed the petition* calling for statehood.

    * Thousands of us donated to fund public opinion polls across Europe
    – showing that *a whopping 79% of Europeans supported a Palestinian
    state.* Our polls were plastered all over the media, and repeatedly
    cited in Parliamentary debates in the UK, Spain and France!

    * We sent *tens of thousands of emails, Facebook messages and Tweets
    to leaders across Europe* and made thousands of calls to foreign
    ministries and heads of state.

    * We unfurled a giant *4-storey banner outside the EU Commission in
    Brussels (right) while leaders were meeting inside.* Then, we staged
    another stunt in Madrid. Previously, we had sailed a flotilla of
    ships past the UN calling for a vote. Our actions made headlines all
    over Europe.

    * *Avaaz staff and members met with dozens and dozens of government
    ministers,* top advisors, senior journalists, parliamentarians and
    thought leaders in each of the key countries, in many cases teaming
    up to win over leaders one by one through advocacy, pressure,
    parliamentary resolutions and public statements, always drawing on
    the surge in people power behind this cause.

    * We reached out to *key thought leaders like Stéphane Hessel, a
    94-year old survivor of Nazi concentration camps,* and Ron Pundak,
    an Israeli who played a key role in Oslo peace process, to speak out
    in favour of statehood.

One by one, key European states broke with the US to answer the call of
justice and their peoples. In the final vote tally we got just now, only
9 countries out of 193 have voted against! *France, Spain, Italy, Sweden
and most of Europe has voted for Palestine.*

The US and Israel argued first that statehood was dangerous for peace,
and then, when they’d lost, that it didn’t matter and the vote was just
symbolic. But if it were just symbolic they wouldn’t have done
everything to try and stop it. And after years of bad-faith negotiations
and Israeli comfort with the status quo as they steadily colonize more
Palestinian land, *this move shows the US and Israel that if they do not
engage in good faith, the Palestinians and the world are prepared to
move forward without them*. It’s a more balanced basis for real peace
talks. And that’s the best alternative to the kind of violence we saw
Israel’s government and Hamas offer in Gaza this month.

For decades the Palestinian people have suffered under a stifling
Israeli military dictatorship, repressive controls on their travel and
work, continual denial of their rights and the constant threat of
insecurity and violence. 65 years ago today, the UN recognized the state
of Israel, beginning a path to the establishment of a safe home for the
Jewish people. *Today the Palestinians take a step down the same path,
and gain a dignity in the eyes of the international community that they
have been denied for a generation. And from that dignity, we can build
the foundations of peace.*

With hope and joy,

Ricken, Alice, Ari, Wissam, Allison, Sam, Julien, Pascal, Wen, Pedro,
Saravanan, Emma, Ben, Dalia, Alexey, Paul, Marie, Aldine, Luca, Jamie,
Morgan and the whole Avaaz team.

PS Here are some sources – The Associated Press

covers today’s victory, the Guardian

covers our polling two weeks ago, Avaaz’s Daily Briefing
provides a map of
the vote result, and Haaretz

describes Israel’s response.

Posted by Ted Belman @ 8:27 am | 2 Comments »



2 Responses to Friends of Israel wonder why we lose the propaganda war

  1. vivarto says:

    Israel must consistently claim all of Palestine as national home of the Jewish people.
    With such position it will become possible for Israel supporters to actually support Israel.
    Claiming that it is a matter of security, is weak.
    Our supporters cannot be more pro-Israeli than Israel.
    Therefore they too, support security guarantees and other nonsense that is supposed to lead to “Two State Solution”.

  2. WB says:

    “The Propaganda War” is a tar baby. There’s nothing to be gained by it.

    We need to assert our legal rights, not play our enemies’ propaganda game.

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