The trouble with tribbles


From the very day it declared independence, Israel stands out in the Middle East as the freest and most modern society in the region, and in recent decades it has become the undisputed technological leader in the region and one of the technological leaders worldwide in such different fields a Medicine, Ecology, Agriculture, Space exploration, Informatics, etc


But over the decades since Israel's independence, the Arab world continued the propaganda war of presenting the Jewish State through the deformed mirror of Nazi ideology, using even the same techniques and even the same cartoons – courtesy of the Nazi criminals who found refuge in Egypt, Syria, and other parts of the Arab world. While practically every one of those allegations can be proven false, they act like the tribbles of Star Trek...they get everywhere, they multiply like crazy, and they overshadow the truth. The result has been that Israel had to invest tremendous amounts of resources in keeping up a sound military defense force – resources that otherwise could have benefited the region and the world.


In the years before the Internet, these lies took their time to travel through the information network, and sometimes they took years to have an effect. The Internet made it possible for these lies to spread literally like the tribbles...everywhere and fast.


In the TV series, the tribbles eventually die because they ate up all the wheat and the wheat had a poison which eventually killed them. In our world today, because of the Internet – lies never die. Let me give you an example from left field.


Several years ago, the Teachers' Union of the UK considered eliminating the teaching of the Holocaust in British schools to avoid “upseting the Muslim students”. Eventually, the Union decided to drop the initiative. When the information was first released through the Internet that they were considering it, however, some enterprising individual decided to spell out what “UK” meant, and added next to it “University of Kentucky” (also known by the initials “UK”). As I was at the time the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation in Lexington, where the University is located, I had an interesting time fending angry emails against the University and against the Federation for doing nothing about it. When I spoke recently with a friend from Lexington, I learned they are still dealing with that issue every few months. So you see – the lie was seeded and fructified.


Try googleing “Jenin massacre” and you will get many hits referring to the movie “Jenin, Jenin” as well as more recent uses of the supposed massacre to attack Israel – all in spite of the fact that the so-called massacre has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to be a lie, and despite an official UN investigation which cleared Israel from all allegations. In the Internet, lies achieve eternal life...


Yet there are simpler examples of how an innocent word can provoke an avalanche of unintended consequences. Many on the Zionist left attack the policies of Israel in the territories of Judea and Samaria out of their own convictions of Social Justice and their own ideological commitment to ensure freedom for all people (including Palestinians). These are laudable goals, but when their opinions are used by Arab propaganda, or even by anti Zionist Jews, they become tools to delegitimize Israel and to question the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.


But even if you don't criticize Israeli policies, but just report facts, the anti-Israel forces use whatever they can find to justify the elimination of Israel. I have seen at least one of my articles used that way by not only quoting a phrase out of context but by rearranging text on an anti Israel website. Since there is no legislation about responsible reporting on the Internet, they get away with it.


The situation brings to mind Omar Khayyam's comment that “once the words leave your mouth they are not your words anymore”. It is important that we keep a vigilant eye for the those who twist the truth beyond recognition to justify their anti-Jewish genocidal agenda, and it is important that we be mindful of our own comments to ensure, as much as possible, that they cannot be used by our enemies – a point recently made by Israeli historian Benny Morris whose books were used for many years by Palestinian leaders to justify their anti Jewish agenda.


Remember that in the Internet era, the truth gets buried by an avalanche of information and promptly forgotten; lies, however, live forever.


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