November 15, 2015

When the best hasbara is no hasbara

Has anyone who ever suffered loss appreciated a condolence message that opens, "I'm so sorry for your loss, but…" Most of us would consider such words to be off-message or insincere at best, vindictive and insensitive at worst.

I suppose what amazes me most about the numerous opportunistic Facebook posts following the Paris attacks is the total lack of shame or pretense. Between cartoons, unsourced videos and personal manifestos, the message ranges from shcandenfreude to resentment, from incitement to satisfaction. They nearly outnumber the messages of support.

The worst of the worst are those who either fool themselves or perhaps are trying to fool the treat of us: "My heart aches for the people of Paris, BUT…" The trend is so prevalent, particularly among my fellow Israel-supporters, that I've clicked "hide" instead of un-friending the dozen or more offenders, after I post my own criticism. 

Honestly, it's hard to rank the levels of perversity, because so many Facebook friends didn't even register a condolence followed by "but" -- they just launched right into a series of posts playing up their own sense of righteousness, superiority, and self-satisfaction.

Thanks for your sympathy?
One message I keep seeing, is that the French are too focused on boycotting Israeli products (presumably because the European Union just voted to label -- but NOT boycott -- products from the West Bank), and not enough on keeping out terrorists. The moral of this meme is that the French have it coming. (Of course, even if they were, they wouldn't have it coming.)

Another message complains that Facebook and the world make such a big deal when 129 (now 132) people are killed in France, while ignoring or excusing smaller attacks on Israelis. Anyone with two or more kids will recognize this sort of jealousy as perfectly natural and understandable…for a six-year-old. 

The fact is, European leaders like French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls have stood at Israel's side in its fight against terrorism and other threats, and defended the rights of French Jews -- pretending that they haven't should elicit derision, not applause and "like" clicks.