For Israelís PR War On Gaza, It May Be All Downhill From Here [View all]
By Chemi Shalev | Nov.17, 2012 | 9:15 PM
Israelis are resolute. World Jewry is united. President Obama has been unequivocally supportive. Many foreign leaders have shown understanding, even sympathy. Media coverage has been balanced, at worst. In the social media universe, the IDF Spokesman rules.
It was good while it lasted, but now itís over. The tide may be turning. The zenith of Israelís public relations campaign has been reached. And to mix in yet another metaphor, itís all downhill from here.
It is an inevitable process, one repeated in almost every serious military campaign that Israel has waged in recent decades. From the First Lebanon War (1982) through Operation Accountability (1993), Grapes of Wrath (1996), Defensive Shield (2002), the Second Lebanon War (2007) and Operation Cast Lead (2008) Ė there is an inescapable progression from support to censure, from approval to opprobrium, from murmurs of sympathy to howls of protests.
But within 72 hours, more or less, newspaper editorials begin to question Israelís motives and to wonder it isnít using excessive force; gruesome photos of civilian Palestinian casualties start to get more air time than the low resolution videos of hi-tech aerial assassinations; world public opinion starts to pay attention, and then turns nasty; internal Israeli criticism gets increasingly vocal; then, some operational mishap occurs, a surgical strike goes awry, a hospital is bombed or an entire family is killed; finally, Israel is left to fight a rearguard PR battle that it has no hope of winning.