You've got to hand it to Israeli spinners like Mark Regev. They are masters of PR. In fact, as the Independent
's Patrick Cockburn
revealed over the weekend, "the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe
Let's be clear: I'm no fan of Hamas, a brutal and anti-Semitic
group which has been accused by Amnesty International and other NGOs of human rights abuses
against the people of Gaza and of war crimes
against the people of Israel. Firing rockets into civilian areas isn't justified under international law, even if it is framed as part of a (legitimate) struggle against foreign military occupation.
Having said that, however, in recent days I've been debating supporters of Israel's latest assault on Gaza on radio
and on Twitter
and I've been astonished not just by the sheer number of fact-free claims made by those supporters, but also by their confidence, slickness and sheer message discipline
. According to the pro-Israel, pro-IDF crowd, Hamas is to blame for everything
This, of course, is utter nonsense. To quote
the late US senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts."