Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flash from the past

In the run-up to the Freedom Flotilla II's arrival in Gaza, a recurrent theme of the hasbara discourse is that the exists no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Apparently Gaza is flowing over with plasma TVs and other luxury goods. The argumentation is a repeat of last year's diatribe's that Gazans dined in luxury restaurants and splashed in fancy amusement theme parks, emerging from an Israeli gov't PR stunt.

There's a very tragic irony in all of this. During the WWII, a similar tactic of propaganda existed. In occupied Poland (the 'General Government'), the Nazi occupation authorities issued a publication in Polish labelled Gazeta Żydowska ('Jewish Gazette'). Gazeta Żydowska repeatedly published reproductions of advertisements for luxury stores (selling expensive caviar, etc.) inside the Warsaw Ghetto.

The propaganda in this case was discreet in comparison with today's hasbara freak-outs, trying to break down the morale amongst the Jews in the Ghetto and fuel anti-Semitic feelings amongst the Polish population. The class differences inside the Ghetto were consciously highlighted by the Nazi occupation authorities in order to divide and rule.

I'm quite sure that no-one really believed that the Warsaw Ghetto was a nice place to live, just like the hasbara twitters and bloggers actually don't believe that Gaza is a tranquil luxury resorts. Everyone knows it is a lie. But it is a lie that fills a certain function, as it enables the occupation to de-humanize its victims. And de-humanization is a requirement to maintain years and years of oppression and humiliation. To break with oppression, the response is to stay human.

(source for image:


  1. Hmmm, were the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto lobbing missiles over the wall? Did they blow themselves up in restaurants? Did they vow to eliminate Germany?

    Your analogy is despicable.

    It's also a red herring. Nobody is saying that EVERYONE in Gaza is living in the lap of luxury. However, what these videos and pictures do prove is that it's not quite as dire as the flotilla morons would have us believe.

    Further the abundance and luxury that does exist in Gaza is NOT being created as a show by Israel. It's being created by Gazans.

    You fail.

  2. There were several armed organizations inside the Ghetto fighting against the German occupation. That was a legitimate resistance struggle, within the boundaries of international law, just like the Palestinian resistance. The occupation regime used to label the partisans as "terrorists", just like the Israeli gov't does.

    Secondly, red herring? There are plently of hasbara accounts on blogs, twitter, facebook etc that runs stories like "gaza has longer life expectancy than Scotland", etc.. And yes, it is the Israeli gov't that is pushing these stories to the press. It was the Israeli GPO that tried to highlight opening of luxury restaurant in Gaza last year. And this year, IDF chief Gantz stated that Gazans are "importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world." These are statements that try to pose that somehow the situation isn't as terrible as claimed by in its inhabitants, implicitly it tries to say that the Palestinians are somehow lying about their plight. It is exactly the same type of reasoning as in the propaganda the German occupation authorities, with their publication of caviar adverts from the Warsaw ghetto.