Can we do something about Israel’s PR?…asks Rabbi Nochum Shapiro

July 26, 2013 by J-Wire
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On Tisha B’Av Israeli newspapers and the world media reported The European Union (EU) has issued a resolution for all its 28 member States that forbids any form of cooperation, including funding, scholarships, and research grants, to any Israelis or Israeli entities in areas that Israel acquired in 1967, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Rabbi Nochum Shapiro

Rabbi Nochum Shapiro

The regulation, which goes into effect today, means that any contract between EU member countries and Israel or an Israeli entity must include a clause that specifically asserts that those areas are not part of Israel.
A senior official in Jerusalem said the new directive is dramatic and constitutes “an earthquake.”

How did we get here?

If one looks at the trajectory of Israeli concessions one would find that the more Israel has conceded territory or even speaks about its readiness to concede territories the more the world stands against us and we wonder why?!

We have signed the Oslo Accord and we got a violent intifada. Former PM Barak was ready to give up most of Jerusalem and we got the second intifada, we left Gaza and got missiles. When Israel responded much of the world condemned this as an “over-reaction.” Why are they even more against us now when we are only protecting our citizens from the missiles?
The answer I believe is Talmudic psychology 101.

Bear with me a moment…

The Talmud in tractate Bava Metziah teaches if two people come to court carrying a garment that they both claim is theirs and we have no way of knowing whose it is, the law is yachloku it is to be divided equally.

If however say Reuven argues it’s all mine and Shimon argues it’s half mine the law is that Reuven gets three-quarters whilst Shimon gets a quarter. The logic is that both litigants agree that half belongs to Reuven, they are therefore only arguing over the other half so they divide that second half only.

The commentaries ask: Why don’t we believe Shimon who said it’s half his for if he was a liar he could lie and say it’s all his?

One of the answers given is that we do not say Migu (a Talmudic term which means “believe me in my assertion for if I was a liar, I would have argued a better lie”) when that which I could have said is more difficult for me to argue (as in this case). For human nature is such that if it is not yours at all, than it’s much harder to lie and say it’s all yours. But it’s easier to say it’s half mine, for you feel like you are not totally stealing because you are admitting to the fact that half belongs to the other.

I remember seeing a clip of a CNN debate between Israeli and Palestinian college students at the time of the Camp David meeting of Barak, Clinton and Arafat. The Israeli was arguing that we are ready to give you 90% whilst the Palestinian was saying “what do you mean 90%, it’s all ours!” I remember sensing that he came across as much more believable! For if you are ready to give 90% then you are agreeing it isn’t yours and the fact that you are there on that land makes you a thief and therefore whatever they do to you they have justification for you are a thief.

When we say we will give up parts of Israel no matter what we argue, the world psychologically hears this is not ours and if it’s not ours we shouldn’t be there at all. Period. Then every violent act the Palestinians do against us they see as justified for we are thieves and people do not have any sympathy for a thief.

When a vigilante guns down a thief he might be guilty in a court of law but in the court of public opinion he may very well be a hero!

If we are seen to be in a place that doesn’t belong to us then even when they shoot rockets at us, or blow up our buses heaven forbid, they still retain world sympathy for we admit- by virtue of being willing to cede parts of Eretz Yisroel, that we are the thieves.

When we say we will give up parts of Israel no matter what we argue, the world psychologically hears this is not yours and if it’s not yours you shouldn’t be there at all. Period. Then every violent act they do against us they see as justified for we are thieves and people do not have any sympathy for a thief.

That is why even a team of top marketing experts cannot help the Israeli PR campaign until we say this entire land is ours. Given to us by G-d Almighty, we have a deed, it’s our Torah! and we need every inch of it for our security. That is when we will be respected.

This has never been tried. It’s about time we tried!!

Rabbi Nochum Schapiro
Chabad North Shore

Chabad North Shore is a centre for all Jews on the North Shore regardless of affiliation or background. We provide community functions, lectures, JLI courses, camps, chesed programmes, shabbatons, conventions, youth leaders for both Jewish and State schools.


3 Responses to “Can we do something about Israel’s PR?…asks Rabbi Nochum Shapiro”
  1. Gil Solomon says:


    With all due respect, you ask if we can do something about Israel’s miserable PR efforts but offer no realistic ideas or solutions as to how this should be done.

    Talking about Hashem’s promise to the Jewish people means squat to the vast majority of non Jews. The reality is that in debate with the international community, what should be stated first and foremost, time and time again, is that under international law Israel is allowed to keep what it needs in Judea and Samaria as these territories were finally recaptured in defensive wars. Then go on with history and religion.

    Additionally, Israel should state the obvious, that these people, the so called “Palestinians” were a people who never existed in history and should be grateful that they are in conflict with Jews who are prepared to give them something they are not entitled to, a state of their own.

    With their acts of teror over the decades, the “Palestinians” should thank Allah they are not facing a “normal” country which wouldn’t give them the time of day but would have turned large tracts of the so called “occupied territories” to rubble long ago.

    Unfortunately no Israeli Govt. speaks even remotely along these lines. Israel is therefore seen as weak by her adversaries and in the eyes of the international community will continue to be treated with contempt until it gets up off its knees, but it has gone so far down the appeasement road that I fear it has forgotten how to do this.

    With the Israeli electoral system a model of insanity, Israeli hasbara or PR whatever you like to call it is non existent. Government after Government is made up of an incoherent rabble who do not speak with one voice and where cabinet members are at each other’s throats on virtually every issue of national security.

    According to an article in this week’s edition (26/7/2013) of the AJN, Abbas had the audacity to hint at a possible uprising if talks do not yield results. He told a Jordanian newspaper that “If there is no agreement, all options are open”.

    Should talks fail, this would be my answer to Abbas:
    “Israel will act like a sovereign power in control of its own destiny. We will take unilateral action on borders, hand the welfare of those people outside those borders to the UNHCR, Jordan, Egypt or whoever and expel all foreign and hostile NGOs.
    Should there be another war, Israel will not allow the next one to end prematurely or inconclusively like all others in the past because of world pressure. This one will end with your unconditional surrender on our terms.This time the gloves will come off, the IAF will be unleashed with no more advance warnings and with no targets off limits.
    In addition, the absurdity of supplying you people with electricity from the Israeli grid especially during a war will cease”.

    This is the only language terrorists understand. They have no respect for any law, their signature on any document is not worth the paper it is written on and they do not allow historical facts to get in the way of their point of view.

    Finally, for Israel to agree that Martin Indyk be the US mediator in upcoming talks is another example of Israeli stupidity. Please read the recent post by Isi Leibler titled: “Indyk a disastrous choice for mediator”.

  2. Awrom Moishe Kissel says:

    Shkojach, i like your article, but, nothing new under the sun, you are not the first to say the emes, but my question is: NU ? How to change the left thinking?

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