If you look at Israel and see only the occupation, any news in which Israelis come off positively is nothing but a distraction, spin or — to use that vilified Israeli term — hasbara.

This is an understandable sort of cynicism, even for those of us who are not of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions-movement left. After all, Israel itself does not hide the fact that it actively tries to change the subject whenever it can. …

But a recent story in The New York Times made me question whether I should so quickly indulge this impulse to search for the hidden hand of hasbara. The article looked at Israel’s quiet efforts to help Syrians injured in their country’s civil war. …

My friend Lisa Goldman, a prominent member of the Middle East commentariat, captured my own initial reaction in a Facebook post: “So the Government Press Office sends an email to journalists in Israel, telling them about this ‘quiet’ story of Israeli hospitals treating Syrian wounded. Shhh … We want to be modest about this. So don’t make too much noise … That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do hasbara.”

But that assumption happens, in this case, to be untrue.

Read more at the Forward.