Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The antisemitism trope and Zionist propaganda: Communication and materiality

Across college and University campuses, groups such as Hillel have served as the mouthpiece of Israel, operating effectively to silence any criticism of Israel, the illegal Israeli occupation of land in West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, and the systematic apartheid carried out by the Israeli regime.


The trope that is often deployed by these propaganda units is one of antisemitism.

To the extent that something can be labelled as antisemitic, it is no longer legitimate. The legitimacy of any claim based on evidence can be discounted and silenced to the extent that the claim can be established as being antisemitic.

By this logic for instance, this post documenting the linkages between the framing of antisemitism by Zionist groups as propaganda tool will be labelled as antisemitic.

Drawing upon heuristics attached to antisemitism, the goal of many of these campus groups is to target vigorously any criticism of Israel and to create a climate of fear around voicing any such criticism. Most often, these groups are funded by powerful donors with deep pockets and with ties to Israeli interests. This rhetorical slippage between Zionism and antisemitism is the primary objective of "Hasbara," Israeli propaganda wrapped in modern forms of public relations activities that include fellowships, campus support, academic exchange, cultural tours etc.

Communication here plays a critical role in attaching the critique of Zionism and Israeli policies to antisemitism. There is no room for reason or evidence-based argumentation. There is no room for critical discussion and debate. To the extent that any evidence points toward the linkage between the Zionist enterprise and the deployment of the antisemitic trope, it can be discounted as unworthy of even being voiced.

Universities as sites of knowledge production have been the targets of  "Hasbara." Propaganda works by eliminating the possibility for reason. It worked in the hands of Nazis because it limited the possibilities for reasoned argumentation. In the recent atrocities carried out by Israel unfortunately, the same forms of propaganda are actively at work to silence reason and to silence voices that point to the atrocities carried out by Israel in Gaza.

As people across the globe are increasingly becoming aware of Israeli atrocities, especially in the occupied territories, it is vital to continue interrogating this slippage between antisemitism and Zionism.

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