Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Israel is losing the media war

* billmon:
"Even more amazing, the Israelis are now actually endorsing the idea of inserting a "peacekeeping" force (albeit one composed of those killer beanie babies I was talking about earlier) between them and their Arab enemies -- instead of grudgingly accepting one because senile old Uncle Sam insisted on it. I truly never thought I'd see the day.

In other words, it seems a whole bunch of tall castles are coming crashing to the ground, leaving Hizbollah still intact, still armed to the teeth, still defiant. Punching above its weight, indeed.
It hardly matters at this point. The main thing is that yet another bold neocon gambit seems to have fallen flat on its face -- leaving the realist cleaning crew to sweep up the pieces.

The problem is that a cease fire agreement that doesn't result in the complete, verifiable disarming of Hizbollah (which hardly seems likely at this point) would give a truly enormous boost to the group's status and prestige. It would amount to a virtual recognition of Hizbollah as a sovereign entity. (A prisoner swap to retrieve the two Israeli POWs would give it an even bigger boost.) A cease fire deal without disarmament would also leave Israel vulnerable to the group's rockets, if and when a bigger war with Iran and/or Syria breaks out."

* c.rice:
""The problem is not that we have not talked to Syria but that they have not acted," she said, adding that Damascus has long known what Washington believes it should do."

* gilliard:
"Some people are wondering when Hezbollah strikes at the US. My bet is that CNN and the BBC are doing a far better job of undermining Israel than a bomb would. Lebanon was at peace, this is like bombing and invading Cancun in mid-winter.

One of the things which is immediately apparent is that Israel is losing the media war. Striking Lebanon in the height of summer created a story the Israelis had monopolized for a long time. Now, it's ordinary people getting killed. The Hezbollah soldiers on camera look normal, no masks, no keffiyahs, just jeans. They speak English. They are courteous, even helpful to the reporters.

Despite it's capacity for violence, Hezbollah is being treated with a level of respect no Arab state fighting Israel has ever gotten. You are hearing normal people testify to the good works of the Hezbollah quasi-state.

I mean, this isn't two seconds of news, but detailed interviews with women and children, English speaking kids, testifying to their good works.

The Western public is getting a new view of Israel and the Arabs, and if the Israelis had a clue beyond bombing TV towers, they wouldn't drop another bomb in Beirut and stop shooting up convoys and gas stations. Because you have American reporters running from Israel bombs and American citizens trapped there and Hezbollah is getting a hearing. And that has already forced Bush's hand in sending Condi."