Hasbara (Hebrew: הסברה) means “explanation” – but explaining what? Explaining the truth about the State of Israel; explaining the historical and archaeological evidence for the Jews having lived in the Land for ~3500 years, and that Israel is the Jew’s ancestral land.
Why is there the need for hasbara? Here are 5 main reasons;
1. Facts: Often the issue of “whose land it is”, is presumed to be a ‘matter of interpretation’; which makes the (incorrect) assumption that the facts cannot be known. There is archaeological evidence for the Land having been the homeland of the Jews for millennia, however there are no ‘Palestinian’ ruins, no ancient coinage, no names of ancient kings or rulers inscribed anywhere.
2. Ignorance: Most people have formed opinions about Israel, but often it is based on emotional rhetoric, propaganda or assumption. The media uses the term “the West Bank” to refer to the area of land on the west bank of the Jordan River, but for millennia it has been called Judea and Samaria. Renaming an area of historic Israel does not erase her history.
3. Bias: Many mainstream media reports present Israel as the ‘aggressor’ and Gazans as ‘victims’ simply because more Gazans die in the Israeli response to rocket fire, than Israelis die from the initial rocket attack. Yet in WWII more Nazis died in response to British troops, but no one refers to the Nazis as ‘victims’.
4. Propaganda: Often people who support Israel are told to “respect the Palestinian’s narrative”, however when a group’s narrative makes deliberate efforts to deceive, de-legitimize and destroy another people and their collective history, it is propaganda. There are many examples of propaganda techniques — popular is one we call the “ignore-the-facts-look-at-the-dead-baby” technique. This is where justification for hatred of Israel and reasons for sympathy for ‘Palestinians’ is presented by means of an emotionally upsetting image, often of alleged ‘Palestinian’ suffering caused at the hands of the Israelis. What the photo is actually of, is irrelevant. All that matters for this techniques to work, is that it makes people emotionally upset and blames Israel.
5. Intent: Presuming that both the Israelis and the ‘Palestinians’ desire to live in peace with each other is another incorrect assumption. If it were simply a matter of negotiating a “two-state solution”, there would have been peace after 1922, when the first Arab-Palestinian state Transjordan (later renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) was created from land that was under British administration after WWI (Mandate of Palestine).