The Do’s and Dont’s of Good Hasbara
DON’T Expect an anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian hatefest to woo those on the fence. It will do the opposite.
DO Discuss Israel being the victim of Islamic terror with the same ideology as that which is affecting Europe.
DON’T refer to leftists as “dhimmis” in non-Zionist spaces. You don’t win people over by insulting them.
DO point out the blatant double standards the world holds Israel.
DON’T collectively refer to Palestinians or Muslims as terrorists or say “Palestine never existed”.
DO use an argument that will cause people to come to the conclusion on their own than the Palestinian identity was socially constructed in the 1960’s to undermine the Jews’ indigenous claim.
DON’T feel that just because it was socially constructed, that it means you can use offensive words like “fakestinians” that distract from your argument and make you look like an insensitive tool. Realize that even though it was constructed recently to undermine us, it still exists and is real
DO realize that blanket statements made in anger seldom do you any favours.
DON’T forget to calm down for five minutes after you get worked up, before posting a response or sending your written response.
DO build coalitions with other groups in a similar boat, such as those affected by radical Islamic terror, those who have actually survived genocides (that didn’t involve quadrupling the population in 50 years), and social justice groups by convincing them of the injustice of Israel being the only country in the world deemed not allowed to exist.
DON’T lose yourself or sacrifice your argument or mission in your quest to build coalitions or get people to like you.
DO admit when Israel does something wrong when approached, if you know for sure, and do so with compassion rather than shame.
DON’T volunteer to flaunt Israel’s faults or hang Israel’s dirty laundry for all to see in order to look smarter or more nuanced. You don’t see Palestinians do it and they have way more issues than we do. This just makes the balance of the discourse shift in Palestinians’ favour.
DO express pride in being Jewish and pro-Israel
DON’T feel as if that pride must come at another group’s expense.
DO proudly support Israel even if you don’t support her government, and separate the two in discourse.
DON’T reduce Israel to her government whether you like the current administration or not.
DO make it a point to include people from “across the aisle” without overtly judging them.
DON’T attach supporting Israel to a political party or make support of Israel or Zionist identity contingent in supporting a particular party in America, Israel, or any other country (unless it’s a blatantly antizionist party like Joint List). Doesn’t matter how much better you feel a party is for Israel, its divisive and doesn’t help build support for Israel on the left.
DO insult arguments that you believe are dangerous to Israel and Hasbara and cogently explain why.
DON’T get personal and go on witch hunts and bash people behind their backs or bully people for their political views unless they are a politician or legislator and therefore sort of “asking for it.” This is Hasbara not a sandbox.
DO make it a point to find common ground. Such as “we all want to live together in peace and security.”
DONT be afraid of being a bit provocative in a thought-provoking way if you’re stance is open to discourse.
DO break down walls and engage people you wouldn’t ordinarily engage.
DON’T make assumptions about people or what their stances are on particular issues. Think of them as a tabula rasa.
DO, if they hold views you find problematic, assume ignorance other than malice and treat them as such, as if you’re helping them.
DON’T be cocky or condescending about it.
DO listen actively, even if you know they’re peddling lies and propaganda.
DON’T believe everything you hear, or remain purposely naive to the fact that people do often lie to advance an agenda.
DO represent Israel with passion, warmth, and pride.
DON’T ever be ashamed of who we are and how far we’ve come.