World Union of Jewish Students | 04.08.2002 20:43
SEVEN BASIC PROPAGANDA DEVICES
Through the careful choice of words, the name calling technique links a person or an idea to a negative symbol.
Creating negative connotations by name calling is done to try and get the audience to reject a person or idea on the basis of negative associations, without allowing a real examination of that person or idea. The most obvious example is name calling - "they are a neo-Nazi group" tends to sound pretty negative to most people. More subtly, name calling works by selecting words with subtle negative meanings for some listeners. For example, describing demonstrators as "youths" creates a different impression from calling them "children".
For the Israel activist, it is important to be aware of the subtly different meanings that well chosen words give.
Call 'demonstrations' "riots", many Palestinian political organizations "terror organizations", and so on.
Name calling is hard to counter. Don't allow opponents the opportunity to engage in point scoring.
Simply put, the glittering generality is name calling in reverse. Instead of trying to attach negative meanings to ideas or people, glittering generalities use positive phrases, which the audience are attached to, in order to lend a positive image to things. Words such as 'freedom', 'civilization', 'motherhood', 'liberty', 'equality', 'science', and 'democracy' have these positive associations for most people. These words mean different things to different people, but are used to gain the approval of an audience, even when they aren't used in their standard ways. Consider the use of the term 'freedom fighter', which is supposed to gain approval for terrorism by using the word 'freedom'. Or, consider why it is so beneficial to bring home the point that Israel is a democracy.
Enemies of Israel will be keen to cast doubt on Israeli claims to be democratic, to guarantee freedom for all, and so on. In place of these 'glittering generalities' favourable to Israel, they will associate Palestinian behaviour, including terrorism, with terms like 'anti-colonialist' and 'freedom'.
Transfer involves taking some of the prestige and authority of one concept and applying it to another.
Jewish student groups in the Diaspora can use the flag of their own country side by side with the Israeli flag, where appropriate, to lend support to Israel. In a sports-loving country (such as Australia), students can make people aware of famous Israeli sportsmen and sportswomen, in order to transfer positive feelings (about a football team) to Israel.
Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse an ideal or campaign. Testimonial can be used reasonably - it makes sense for a footballer to endorse football boots - or manipulated, such as when a footballer is used to support a political campaign they have only a limited understanding of. Whilst everybody is entitled to an opinion, testimonial can lend weight to an argument that it doesn't deserve: if U2's Bono condemned Israel for something that it didn't do, thousands would believe him, even though he was wrong.
Enlisting celebrity support for Israel can help to persuade people that Israel is a great country.
Obviously some celebrities are more useful than others. Students are probably a little too sophisticated to be affected by Britney's opinion on Israel, but those associated with intelligence like professors, actors, radio hosts, sports managers and so on can be asked to offer testimonial.
A celebrity doesn't have to fully support Israel to be useful. Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context.
[As for those 'celebrities' who are pro-Palestinian...]
Most celebrities will care more about their public image than they do about the Middle East. Threats of tainting a celebrity's image will usually persuade them to back away from controversial political issues.
The plain folks technique attempts to convince the listener that the speaker is a 'regular guy', who is trust-worthy because they are just like 'you or me'.
Often politicians present themselves as being from outside the standard 'political cliques' and above political bickering, and then call for tax cuts to help the 'regular guy'. More often than not these politicians are multi-millionaires financed by large corporations, but the plain folks technique allows them to obscure that fact by presenting their 'common' characteristics.
Support for an alleged underdog in a certain situation can often be part of a 'plain folks' agenda.
Pro-Israel activists can use the 'plain folks' technique by speaking as a 'person from the street' whilst supporting Israel. The 'average guy in the street' would happily condemn terrorism in all its forms and support 'Western ideals'. In the context of a debate on the Middle East, this can easily be equated with support for Israel.
Care must be taken when adopting populist positions. There are some ethical boundaries that ought not to be crossed - for example tapping in to general anti-Arab feeling, or Islamaphobia. Remember that Israel can be supported without resorting to mass generalizations or racism.
[WUJS would NEVER advocate ' tapping in to general anti-Arab feeling, or Islamaphobia ' would they?
That's why they say ' Call 'demonstrations' "riots", many Palestinian political organizations "terror organizations", and so on.' in the NAME CALLING section above.
'Remember that Israel can be supported without resorting to mass generalizations or racism.'
Based on this how can any Zionist student club affiliated to WUJS remain affiliated to a student organisation at any University around the world which is against supporting and promoting racism? The Australian chapter is called AUJS.]
When a speaker warns that the consequences of ignoring his message is likely to be war, conflict, personal suffering, and so forth, they are manipulating fear to advance their message. Listeners have deep-seated fears of violence and disorder, which can be tapped into by creating false dichotomies - 'either listen to me, or these terrible things will happen'.
Listeners are too preoccupied by the threat of terrible things to think critically about the speaker's message.
Fear is easily manipulated in a climate that is already steeped in fear by the threat of global terror.
Fear can be successfully utilized by pointing out the consequences of terror.
Most people, when in doubt, are happy to do what other people are doing. This is the bandwagon effect. People are happy to be part of the crowd, and subtle manipulators can play on this desire by emphasizing the large size of their support. Although it is reasonable that people are given a chance to find out how many other supporters a speaker or movement has, often it is possible to create the impression of extensive support - through gathering all supporters in one place, or through poorly conducted opinion polls - in an attempt to persuade people who are keen to follow the crowd.
Israel activists can commission opinion polls amongst groups who favour Israel, and use these to give the impression that Israel is the 'team to support'.
Demonstrations, and even photos that give the impression of large numbers can help to create the impression that Israel is even more popular than it is.
World Union of Jewish Students