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The purpose of a publicity bandwagon is to generate public enthusiasm by creating the impression that it already exists. Newsweek is among the latest to join the Hamas bandwagon, a byproduct of the publicity war unleashed by the Hamas after operation Cast Lead.

Newsweek's fatuous headline Israel Has Fewer Friends Than Ever, Even In America tells us almost all we need to know. Israel, of course, had fewer friends a few years ago, when the French Foreign Minister proclaimed that Iran "plays a stabilising role" in the Middle East. Israel undoubtedly had fewer friends in 1956, following the Suez campaign. Of course, Israel had fewer friends in 1975, when the UN passed the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution. It should not be necessary to point out either, that real friends of Israel would not approve of Israeli cities being terrorized by Hamas rockets.

To villify Israel, Newsweek resorted to unabashed falsehoods and bent the truth out of shape at will. For example, Newsweek tells its readers:

Hamas rockets hit a patch of sparsely populated southern Israel, killing three

In reality, Hamas rockets hit Israeli cities of Beersheva, Ashqelon and Ashdod - densely populated civilian targets. Civilian casualties were light relative to the Second Lebanon War because Hamas rockets are smaller than those used by the Hezbollah and because of better civil defense preparation.

Newsweek makes much of a poll conducted by PEW. According to Newsweek:

A recent Pew poll shows 55 percent of U.S. Republicans, but only 45 percent of Democrats, approve of Israel's actions in Gaza.

Newsweek specifically claims that the world is angrier at Israel than they were in 2006, during the Second Lebanon War. But the PEW organization found nothing of the kind:

Overall public support for Israel has been undiminished by the war: 49% now say they sympathize with Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians while just 11% sympathize with the Palestinians. This division of opinion largely mirrors public attitudes in August 2006 during the Hezbollah war...

As to the situation in Gaza itself, more than three times as many people blame Hamas for the outbreak of violence there as blame Israel (by 41% to 12%)....

Other polls show greater support for Israel in the USA. For example, a CNN poll found that 63% of Americans supported the recent Israeli action and only 31% thought it was unjustified. Moreover, a historical survey of Pew results since 2000 shows that support for Israel in the US is about the highest it has been during the entire period, up from a nadir of 37% in July of 2005. Israel does not have fewer friends than before, but rather more. The reality does not accord with Newsweek's pronouncement.

Why would Newsweek twist the facts to be the opposite of what they really are? Media pundits are joining a chorus that proclaims "Israel is unpopular" - but they are the ones making Israel unpopular, and inevitably, though they will not admit it, supporting the Hamas. They believe that this is the way to drum up support for active US pressure on Israel to "make concessions" to "the Palestinians" as though concessions made to the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas might have satisfied the Hamas and prevented the current hostilities. But the same PEW poll found that most Americans do not favor a greater role for the United States in brokering Middle East peace.

Newsweek concludes

Given that Democrats now rule, Israel may need to worry more about the mood on Main Street than on the Arab Street.

Israel never worried much about the Arab street, which is the problem of the Arab rulers. Israeli politicians will need to worry more about the mood on Beersheva streets than the mood in Newsweek editorial offices. The mood in the US toward Israel, despite the best efforts of publications like Newsweek, is pretty favorable.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000658.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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I gave up on "Newsweek" for reliable journalism many years ago. The last subscription I had for it was in the early seventies.

Howard Wolf, Thursday, February 5th

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