Not All Positive Israeli Press Is Hasbara

There is a certain cynicism that Israel constantly tries to change its negative media image via positive PR. But when it helped injured Syrians, it wasn't doing anything of the sort.

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.