Stand With Us and Bend the Truth: Israel's P.R. Battle Over Apartheid

by
Abby Zimet

This week kicked off the 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week in the U.S. and U.K., a series of events, many on college campuses, to educate people about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at fighting Israel's apartheid system and occupation of Palestinians - or, as Israeli supporters would have it, Israel's "apartheid" system and "occupation" of Palestinians. In the face of growing international criticism that increasingly includes Jews in its ranks - and SodaStream hasn't helped - Israel has mounted an aggressive P.R. campaign, with press accounts of BDS' "true, ugly face" and the "bigotry, deception and shallowness" of the week's events; pro-Israel StandWithUs project ideas, talking points and other efforts to counter critics' “lies and distortions” about Israel on college campuses; and a newly revealed, formerly secure online dossier listing dozens of activists, writers and others who have spoken out for Palestinian human rights, along with what they've said and how best to respond. The result is a brave new world of revisionist history, where the IDF group Breaking the Silence helps “extremist organizations which oppose Israel’s existence,” Human Rights Watch is “an anti-Israel lobby,” the famed Deir Yassin massacre was a battle "with unfortunate civilian casualties,” the original Zionists "frequently urged Palestinians not to flee" their villages, and Operation Cast Lead killed almost no civilians, with 75-85% of casualties "terrorist operatives." George Orwell: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

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Update: After stories of the Stand With Us dossier appeared, the site was taken down. But a group of Palestinian activists found it, and published it.

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