Ha’aretz correspondent in Washington, Natasha Mozgovaya, reports this morning that the Israeli government is not happy with the 60 Minutes expose’ last night on both Israel’s treatment of Christians (they have been much been pushed out of the country) and, even worse from a hasbara viewpoint, by Bob Simon’s explanation of how the government uses heavy handed pressure to squash the story.
Not only did CBS correspondent Simon make enforcer-in-chief Ambassador Michael Oren look like a thug (Oren admitted it “won’t be the last time that Israel tries to stop a story it doesn’t want aired), Simon made him look like a bumbling fool.
Of course, it was the substance of the piece that caused the Israeli government to lose it. It showed Palestinian Christians complaining about their treatment by Israel. Most American Christians probably never heard of or saw Palestinian Christians before. For Christian Zionists, Israel is the wonderful army fighting and killing Palestinians who are, by definition, Islamic terrorists. By showing actual Palestinian Christians, who are every bit as Palestinian as the Muslim majority, Israel starts losing its hasbara edge. That is why Oren told Simon that the peaceful Christians protesting their mistreatment are both allied with Islamic terrorists and are the very people being pushed out of Israel/Palestine by…Islamic terrorists. So many lies. So little time. But enough for a hasbara disaster of Titanic proportions.
It was really an historic moment on television. It is as if the American viewing audience was in a Board of Trustees meeting at a university where a professor is denied tenure when a communication from the embassy is revealed, or a publisher tells his editors that the Israelis don’t want this book published so it won’t be or the New York Times spikes a story because a billionaire close to the Israeli government called.to object.
I have rarely enjoyed a moment on television so much. For years, I have been writing that this is how the Israeli government suppresses criticism and there it was exposed by 60 Minutes and by courageous Jewish American correspondent, Bob Simon.
Will he be fired? Maybe. But this one will be harder. A light has been shown on the hasbara hammer. And, as we know, the enforcers don’t like operating in daylight.