The Dangerous Spin-meisters

After the bluff over the Temple Mount and the mendacious declaration about being "on the verge of civil war," to what propaganda edge can we still be taken? What slanders are left in the quiver of those in charges of the propaganda against the opponents of the uprooting?

Like drug users who begin with soft drugs and end up in hard drugs, the propaganda machinists, those creators of spin among the disciples of uprooting, are insatiable and know no limits. The latest spin, perhaps less important than the previous one about "the conquest of the Temple Mount" but certainly no less vicious, is the confession by the prime minister to NBC's audience that Israel is "on the verge of civil war."

Ariel Sharon knows firsthand from information others are not privy to that there is no potential for civil war, that perhaps there will be violence, maybe some civilians, police and soldiers will get hurt, but to say "civil war" - military units or groups of armed citizens fighting each other - means descending to the lowest levels of propaganda slime the way former head of Mossad Danny Yatom did this weekend, predicting a military junta.

Particularly grave is the way that absurd spin was delivered in the U.S., where they still suffer from the trauma of civil war. Sharon's statement can make an impression there, and the result is that he has libeled his own people. But after all the earlier spins, Sharon needs to upgrade his intimidation-defamation campaign, even if it means baseless inventions.

The previous spin, about "the burning of the Temple Mount" - created by the police, Shin Bet and the political and media supporters of someone who was once accused of trying to set the mount ablaze - was a lot more dangerous. So much more dangerous that it is necessary to say: the person who fans the flames of the propaganda - and lies that are constantly repeated are eventually going to be considered facts - by saying that the Jewish opponents of the disengagement will be ready to damage the mosques of the Temple Mount, is the same person who fans the flames of hatred that is burning relations between Jews and Arabs and between Jews and Jews.

The burning match is in the hands of those flamethrowers, far more than in the hands of those about whom they are issuing warnings.

And then there's the media, of course. It knows very well that the intimidation, especially this week, was mostly spin. But that knowledge did not stop it from leading the campaign. It needed the delusional Revava affair, among other reasons, to create the association between a handful of eccentrics whom it knowingly turned into tens of thousands, and the legitimate campaign to prevent the uprooting that has supporters among many seculars.

The frequent alerts, especially by the head of the Shin Bet, about the danger posed to the Temple Mount encourages the deranged precisely because it is so apocalyptic; it convinces the lunatics that they have it in their capability to start Armageddon. And there is no price, including life itself, that certain crazies are not prepared to pay, to place their stamp on history and to change it.

So when the head of the Shin Bet and the police issue warnings about attacks on the Temple Mount, who exactly are they warning? Themselves. For the attackers - if any exist - the very ruckus about it is a catalyst, proof of how big and important they are.

And in addition to them, they now fuel the propaganda machinery by enlisting suicide terrorists into the cause. Islamic organizations are grateful for the spin-meisters: Because of them, tens of thousands are enlisting in the cause to protect Islamic holy sites. The flames reach all the way to the Muslim world, particularly in the Arab countries, and the harsh words of kings, rulers and religious leaders prove it.

And then there's Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi's urgent visit to Jordan. If the chief is looking for truly calming statements he should tell King Abdullah that the charge that people are trying to harm the mosques of the mount to prevent the disengagement is a lie. The disengagement opponents know that if, heaven forbid, the mosques are damaged, the result will be the opposite of stopping the disengagement: The public fury in Israel and the world will be so great it will paralyze the opposition to the disengagement.

Those who frighten the world with the intensification of the fiction called Revava therefore cynically sicced the children of Mohammed's religion against the children of Moses' religion. Most knew it was a joke, and nonetheless they "built" some crazies into leaders of a movement that planned to "take over the Temple Mount."

Nobody will pay the price for this, not even in the upper echelons of the police, which called up thousands of police even though it knew that Revava was a bluff that the police helped to create. It's enough that the media is not conducting any professional soul searching about the spin it ran, which inflamed the Arab street in Israel and Judea, Samaria and Gaza, enraged the Arab world, and widened the split in Jewish society in Israel and in the world.

To hell with the internal split, say the spin-meisters, and to hell with the damage abroad. So what if Israel is depicted as a state as dark as Afghanistan, and that the religious element within is depicted as the twin of the murderous Taliban?

After the bluff over the Temple Mount and the mendacious declaration about being "on the verge of civil war," to what propaganda edge can we still be taken? What slanders are left in the quiver of those in charges of the propaganda against the opponents of the uprooting?