Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gaza: Winning the Meme Battle, Losing the Meme War

Interesting debate in the Belmont Club about the tactical and strategic merits of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. As I probably made clear in my last post, I am not too sanguine about the wisdom of the forced evacuation.

I would argue that the Israelis have made four unnecessary and strategically disastrous memetic concessions, in addition to the physical concession of the (relatively worthless) land in Gaza:

1) They have demonstrated that terror has successful consequences, as elaborated by Lee Harris. Despite the successful decapitation attacks against Hamas leaders last year (which had made me optimistic), this withdrawal will be no different in its impact on the terrorist mindset than the Lebanon fiasco of 2000, which directly led to the second intifada.

2) They have consistently failed to put on the table the issue of Jewish refugees. For example, there were 137,000 Jews driven out of Iraq, primarily between 1948 and 1951, and again after the Baath takeover in 1968. Why shouldn't their "right of return" to Iraq be part of the nascent Iraqi Constitution (obviously this is a rhetorical question, but I am talking about rhetoric and meme wars here).

The Israeli government could make a big PR production over the number of Jews expelled, then inflated that number by their presumed offspring and relatives (as the Palestinians do), and calculated a dollar figure to compensate for seized assets. Then they could make a grand gesture of waiving the rights of return and compensation. That dollar figure (and population total) could then be permanently placed on the scales to balance out competing Arab claims.

3) Every day that goes by is a missed opportunity to broadcast subtitled MEMRI feeds across Israeli and Western television. The Palestinian pledge to eliminate incitement is the most easily-monitored and most flagrantly-violated treaty obligation since the Germans pledged not to invade Russia. The entire Israeli Foreign Ministry could be dismantled and sold for scrap, and the proceeds more effectively used to fund paid broadcasts throughout the US, until the Palestinian terror-muppet was as well-known as Elmo.

4) Most disastrously of all, and a moral abomination, they have endorsed the principle of Judenrein. The Israeli government has ethnically cleansed the land of Jews. Alternately, a trade for the transfer of Israeli Arabs could be (rhetorically) offered and dismissed, given that the Jews of the Palestinian state will of course be offered the same rights of worship, expression, and voting as the Israeli Arabs.

Contra Shrinkwrapped (with whom I normally agree), I don't think the media will cut the Jews any slack on any of these points, when the Palestinians make their next set of demands.


Blogger Dreamer said...

But will America cut the jews any slack? Will the Palestinians cut the jews any slack? How about the United Nations?


We will see what comes of this. Something tells me (sadly) that it won't be an end to terror attacks in that country.

3:46 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

While the kids are sleeping (7 AM, PST)And I can get on line, I thought I would try to clarify. I do not imagine the media will cut the Israelis any slack. I do think that the Gaza withdrawal, along with the wall will decrease the number of interactions between Israelis and Palestinians. These interactions are typically framed as the humiliation of the victim Paleos by the oppressor Jews. Without the visual aid this offers the narrative, it will be more difficult for the MSM to support. Recall that the MSM wants more pictures of abu Graib released, not because there is any news there but in order to show the people in an emotionally laden way what horros we have done (and presumably are still doing) in Iraq. Without new pictures, the abu Graib story has died. Without a stteady diet of pictures from Palestine documenting the evil oppression of the poor Palestinians, the story will fade from the front pages.
I may be wrong, time will tell, but a lazy MSM without pictures has nothing to write about. (Note a correlation between the lack of pictures and the relative lack of stories on Darfur.)

7:54 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

Addendum: I just wrote a post on this (Kids are still sleeping!)

8:16 AM  

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