From the 1960s, inversion of truth and reality has been one the most favored propaganda methods of Israel's adversaries. One of its most frequent expressions has been the accusation that the Jewish people, victims of the Nazis, have now become the new Nazis, aggressors and oppressors of the Palestinian Arabs. Contemporary observers have identified this method and described it as an "inversion of reality," an "intellectual confidence trick," "reversing moral responsibility," or "twisted logic." Because Israel's enemies have, for nearly half a century, repeated such libels without being challenged, they have gradually gained credence. Since inversion of reality constitutes the basic principle of current anti-Israeli propaganda, it is important to understand what it is and how it works.It should be noted that scholars of an earlier generation have researched different aspects of the problem, but from the mid-1980s on, it has attracted much less attention. There are several explanations. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the East bloc (1989-1991), there was a feeling that the world was on the threshold of a new democratic era. And with the signing of the Oslo Accords (13 September 1993), many actually believed that anti-Israeli propaganda would cease. Denial may have played a part, because the persistence of intense anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic agitation represented "inconvenient information." Its study became politically incorrect and dangerous for those who wished to advance in the academic world.This essay represents an effort to add to the existing corpus of literature and to describe patterns of historical continuity....In the twentieth century, propaganda served primarily as a weapon of war, and its effects could be devastating. Indeed, certain totalitarian ideologies, when brought to their logical conclusion, have been genocidal. Historian Jeffrey Herf describes the function and logic of propaganda in Nazi Germany's war against the Jews:If sheer repetition, in public and private contexts, can be taken as proof of belief, then it appears that Hitler, Goebbels, Dietrich [Director of the Reich Press Office], their staffs, and an undetermined percentage of German listeners and readers believed that an international Jewish conspiracy was the driving force behind the anti-Hitler coalition in World War II . They certainly acted as if the Final Solution was Nazi Germany's punishment of the Jews, whom the Nazis found guilty of starting and prolonging World War II.In his text Herf gave a chilling example of the link between propaganda and genocide, namely, Hitler's annual speech to the Reichstag of 30 January1939 which presented "what became the core Nazi narrative of the coming conflict": "I want today to be a prophet again: if international finance Jewry inside and outside of Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, the result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth and thereby the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!"In addition, Herf referred to Hitler's New Year's address to the nation on 1 January 1940, which contained the "imputation of genocidal war aims to Nazi Germany's enemies, especially the Jews": "'The Jewish-capitalist world enemy that confronts us has only one goal: to exterminate Germany and the German people. "Interpreting this language, Ernst H. Gombrich explained that the ultimate aim of Nazi propaganda was "the imposition of a paranoiac pattern on world events" in the form of a "paranoiac myth." According to Gombrich, this procedure represented the "core of the technique":This is the final horror of the myth. It becomes self-confirming. Once you are entrapped in this illusionary universe, it will become reality for you, for if you fight everybody, everybody will fight you, and the less mercy you show, the more you commit your side to a fight to the finish. When you have been caught in this truly vicious circle there is really no escape. Compared with this effect, the principle of advertising and mass suggestion in war propaganda may almost be called marginal.Inversion of reality as a tool of media war, with its paranoiac state of mind, has persisted to the present. Although contemporary observers have been able to describe its manifestations with considerable accuracy, many have not placed it in historical context. It was in this sense, for example, that the French researcher and philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff applied the term "absolute anti-Semitism" to describe the post-1967 outlook of the Palestinians. He wrote that for them, "Zionism, then, is a new 'Nazism' threatening to dominate and destroy the whole human species . Thus, in a context where Western elites never tire of calling for the avoidance of 'Islamophobic' utterances, the head of the Islamic Center in Geneva, Hani Ramadan, coolly denounced 'the genocide being organized against the Muslims.'"It is noteworthy that Ramadan's story line is nearly identical to that of Nazi propagandists. Both presented themselves as targets of a Jewish conspiracy, and the potential outcome of their "logical process"to use Hannah Arendt's expressionwas genocide. Although both have inverted the truth, their assertions contain an additional feature which is disturbing and dangerous: an inversion of morality which leads to criminal behavior and violence without constraint.More recently, Melanie Phillips, an outspoken British journalist and blogger, cited an article by Leo McKinstry, a Belfast-born author and journalist who writes regularly for the Daily Mail, Daily Express, and Sunday Telegraph. McKinstry identified the inversion of reality in British public discourse with regard to Israel and called it by its real name:In a remarkable inversion of reality, Israel has become a pariah state because of its determination to defend itself. A grotesque double standard now operates, where murderous Arab terrorists are hailed as "freedom fighters" yet Israeli security forces are treated as fascistic thugs. No nation has been more demonized than Israel. One recent survey across Europe revealed that Israel is now regarded as "the greatest threat" to world peace, an utter absurdity given that Israel is actually the only democratic, free society in the Middle East. But such a finding reflects the strength of the hysterical anti-Israeli propaganda that fills the airwaves of Europe. No matter how much this anti-Israeli feeling is dressed up as support for Palestine, it is in fact profoundly antisemitic .Inversion of reality as a tool of political warfare may also be used against non-Jews. For example, its use in December 2006 resulted in a sharp diplomatic clash between the governments of Poland and Germany when "a group representing Germans expelled from present-day Poland after World War II filed suit at the European Court of Human Rights, seeking restitution of their property." In a statement on 11 December 2006, Polish foreign minister Anna Fotyga condemned the German claims as "an attempt at reversing moral responsibility for the effects of World War II, which began with the German attack on Poland and caused irreparable losses and sufferings to the Polish state and nation."
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