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Israel Caught Redhanded in Propaganda Campaign

It may be good to have power based on weapons. It is better and longer lasting, however, to win and hold the heart of a nation.—Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda



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January 28, 2013, was one of these days in which I read the Hebrew media and found myself unable to believe what I saw. Not because the items were shocking or the pictures disgusting, but because the items looked fabricated. Invariably, before quoting Israeli sources I try to validate the data with more reliable sources. The first item that called my attention—it had been impossible to ignore after popping out as Breaking News in the Haaretz Hebrew website while I was reading it—was that Iran had launched a monkey into space. The Hebrew newspaper reported that the achievement was carried out with the help of a Kavoshgar 5 rocket which had reached the altitude of 120km; it also claimed that the payload had returned safely to earth, though it didn't explain how. The article quoted Reuters and Fars news agencies. I was unlikely to use such an item, yet, it looked so unusual, and there was something so wrong in its phrasing that I decided to open both source sites. The result was so shocking that in order to be sure, I opened another international news outlet, but also the BBC reported nothing on this achievement. The Iranians are unlikely to keep such a groundbreaking event secret; thus it is safe to assume that I was watching an obvious piece of Hebrew disinformation, made for unclear reasons. Below are snapshots of the relevant pages, taken roughly at the same time; the Hebrew one shows the date stamp of the Breaking News event, 13:52 January 28, 2013, (Jerusalem Time) and gives credit to Reuters. Note that items regarding Iran's rocket program appear in the non-Hebrew sources, though they are not related to what Haaretz reported.

Haaretz Propaganda

Haaretz | Israel Caught Redhanded in Propaganda Scheme


For an entire half-second I dismissed the issue. The Speaker of the Knesset was attacking the UK and the Sunday Times over what he claimed was an anti-Semitic cartoon published by that newspaper on the international date of the Holocaust Day. The work showed Netanyahu building Israel's segregation wall with the blood of Palestinians. The newspaper claimed it was legitimate criticism on that man's politics. It was spicy and tempting; yet, a nearby item which was hiding in a dark corner of the site called my attention.

The amount of disinformation on the violent events in Syria makes it almost impossible to know what is going on there, except for two things. First, the fighting continues; second, to the astonishment of the foreign agitators, Bashar al-Assad is still in power, almost two years after the violence started. One of the last articles I published on Syria was Chemical Countdown: Israel vs. Syria; it analyzed the chemical weapons stand-off between these two enemies. On the same morning of the Iranian fiasco reported above, the same newspaper published an unusually long item named "USA requested from Jordan and Turkey to act if Syria uses chemical weapons." It looked no less propagandistic than the item on Iran, though this time the approach had clear reasons.

As recently explained (and mocked in this article), Hebrew media tends to ramble, linking barely related facts. The abovementioned article begun with a report on American action along the Turkish-Syrian border; FBI agents were deployed there in the last week of January 2013 with anti-chemical weapons equipment and began training Turkish soldiers in their use, roughly at the same time that the first Patriot missiles battery became operative in the area. In parallel, the newspaper claimed that the USA had requested Turkey and Jordan to react militarily to a chemical attack from Syria. This odd statement was enough to show something was wrong with the report, but Haaretz kept rambling.

Sunday Times Cartoon

Sunday Times Cartoon
Goebbels on the Power of Propaganda

"Perhaps," the newspaper claimed, "Prime Minister Netanyahu in his recent meeting with King Abdullah gave him information regarding the storage sites of Syrian chemical weapons." In the local culture, such a language implies that the information was leaked by Netanyahu himself and that he had requested not to be identified. The King, like the Turkish Government, had been requested to get involved in case the Syrian government fell, or attacked Turkey or Jordan. The demanded involvement included the taking over of the storage facilities; avoiding direct American or Israeli actions in Syria. The latter has at least four production sites and two major storage sites (including one very close to the Jordanian border); Israel claims that over 400 tons of various poisonous gases are stored in them while refusing to acknowledge its own storage facilities. The shocked Hebrew newspaper reports that both countries refused to cooperate unless attacked directly by Syria.

Chemical Weapons Sites in Syria

Chemical Weapons Sites in Syria according to Israel | Top 4 are production sites, other 2 are warehouses


Israel kept threatening indirectly, specifying the type of damage that Syria can allegedly cause both countries. Yet, Turkey checked directly debris of missiles that hit near Homs that were reported by the rebels to contain chemical weapons, and found the claims to be false. Syria, the rebels and Israel, blame each other on the production and use of various chemical weapons. Israel used them in the 2009 Operation Cast Lead and was harshly criticized by the UN. Israel, the USA and Russia are worried that these weapons may reach what they call "Islamic terrorists" present in Syria.

The last claim seems to be crux of the matter. Israel and the USA are attempting to force Jordan and Turkey to carry out the dirty work for them. It started with the propaganda event just described. Israel is making public a "possible Syrian chemical attack on Turkey and Jordan." This type of propaganda was typical of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda. After all, why would a regime struggling for its survival attack its neighbors and bring more fire on itself? Apparently this has failed; the next event may well be a false flag attack with a not too-damaging chemical weapon, just damaging enough to force Turkey and Jordan into the battlefield. Is this your plan, Mr. Netanyahu?

Hebrew media has turned into a dense battlefield of propagandistic lies; everything must be checked thrice there. While we recover from this shocking find, does anyone have an idea what was the aim of the "monkey in space" propaganda bit?

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