Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The more things change: Hallmark tricks of the manipulative propagandist.

The seven Hallmark tricks of the manipulative propagandist could be the  "DIY" manual  of the anti-Israel activist.  It is still entirely apropos.  Although this was originally written 10 years ago as Somerville was besieged by divestment activists it still accurately characterizes the state of discource today involving Operation Protective Edge.  And it’s the same few people, and the same few tired tricks

Via Divest this
A  fellow named Rich Cowan wrote a couple of articles a few years back on “Confronting Right Wing Actions and Arguments.” Part of the work he posted to the Internet referenced “seven hallmark tricks of the manipulative propagandist” originally described by The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, a now-defunct organization created to help counter right-wing propaganda in the 1930s.

Below is a list of Institute’s seven “tricks” along with excellent examples of how such tricks have been used in Somerville’s current divestiture debate:
Name Calling - Hanging a bad label on an idea
Such as taking the enormously complex issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict where 22 Arab nations have been warring with one Jewish state directly and through proxies for generations, and reducing everything to the simple, inaccurate term of “apartheid.”

Card Stacking – Selective use of facts or outright falsification
Such as presenting suffering of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza while making no mention of the role the Palestinian’s own murder campaign has played in creating their plight, much less ever once mentioning the 1000+ victims of Arab terror that might provide some context for Israeli actions.

Band Wagon – A claim that everyone like us thinks this way
Such as highlighting a few shaky “successes” (like the Presbyterian Church) while failing to mention of the fact that divestiture has failed on every campus in the country.

Testimonial – The association of a respected or hated person with an idea
Such as dishonestly presenting a fringe Israeli voice (see Voices) as representing popular Israeli support for divestiture.

Plain Folks – A technique whereby the idea and its proponents are liked to “people like you and me”
Such as creating a “grass roots” Somerville organization whose leadership is made up of the same, non-Somerville people that have been at the forefront of every anti-Israel activity of the last twenty-five years, and presenting it as a local movement.

Transfer - An assertion of a connection between something valued or hated and the idea or commodity discussed
Again, read “apartheid.”

Glittering Generality – An association of something with a “virtue word” to gain approval without examining the evidence
The list is long. In this debate, the terms “human rights,” “fairness,” “socially responsible investing” have all been used to dress up a petition which calls for Israel, alone among all nations in the world, to be economically punished. If the petition is ever passed, count on these soft words to be replaced by a much harder message: that Somerville has declared Israel to be a racist, apartheid state that the rest of the world should join Somerville in punishing.

Read it all here

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