A funny little essay in a local newspaper came to my attention this morning. During an email discussion over the events and motives in the Gaza crisis, a friend of mine forwarded part of an op-ed piece that appeared in this week’s Sun Sentinel, a daily newspaper in Fort Lauderdale. I immediately thought it sounded a little too familiar. Sure, Israeli officials and other apologists are serving the same talking points across all the television networks and in print media, but this sounded like more than just simple rehash, so I plugged the quote into a search engine. Jackpot!
There was the piece, but it was on a shared website for a pair of central New Jersey papers that I normally don’t read either. It was longer, and, oh, the author was different too. With my curiosity now piqued, I could not help but search some more. I found a nearly identical one written by David A. Harris, executive director of American Jewish Committee, over at The Dallas Morning News. Hmm, the other two “authors” also identified themselves as AJC directors. Eventually, I located Harris over at the Jerusalem Post where he had contributed not only this same piece but many others as well. My guess is that I probably read the piece there a few days back.
Clearly, this is just a press release created by the American Jewish Committee and being passed off by its members as their heartfelt and original opinions. Another local newspaper, The Palm Beach Post, even published the same piece a day after its competitor ran it. Thankfully in this case though, it was “authored” by the same South Floridian. I wonder how many other newspapers fell for it.
I’m sure the members all do genuinely feel that way, but did they really need to fake homegrown gravitas to ensure publication in as many local opinion pages as possible? Probably. You don’t engage in large-scale propaganda â€“ excuse me, “a public relations campaign” â€“ unless you feel like you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar. From the look of the essay, it seems that the pro-Israel crowd is going for the “but they did it first” tactic favored by young children for time immemorial. Occasionally that might work with one’s peers, but it’s a piss poor way to convince the rest of the world that they have the moral high ground â€“ or maybe they are really just trying to convince themselves.