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Countering Iran’s propaganda

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The Iran lobby is now engaging with anti-terrorism groups after managing to re-define terrorism, and exonerate Tehran of accusations of sponsoring and aiding religious and sectarian extremism The Iran lobby is now engaging with anti-terrorism groups after managing to re-define terrorism, and exonerate Tehran of accusations of sponsoring and aiding religious and sectarian extremism (AFP)

I feel sad that, as a journalist who was born and raised in Lebanon, and whose journalistic career has taken him to almost all the world’s continents, I have only visited one border point between Lebanon and Israel: The Naqoura UN post.

However, friends and relatives who have visited the border area, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, used to tell me about the unfortunate and stark difference between what they saw on either side of the barbed-wired fence.

The land of occupied Galilee was green and well-tended by the Israeli Kibbutzim settlers, while the land on the Lebanese side was neglected and in bad shape for many reasons, including fear of cross-border attacks and the intentional lack of development under the sway of political feudalism.

But what used to interest the curious visitors most was how Israeli settlers always carried their sub-machine guns while taking care of their fields and farms. This, in my view — personal emotions aside — was pretty symbolic. It meant, and of course continues to mean, that if one is committed to building a homeland one needs to take care of all the aspects and never forsake one priority for another. In Israel, the famous Arab slogan “No voice is louder than the voice of battle” took hold. That slogan, as innocent and honorable as it was then, led to catastrophic consequences for the Arab world.

In fact, Israel has succeeded not only because it is a military powerhouse and is well supported by the West, but also because it is a country that has successfully defined its priorities. Israel has organized its priorities without abandoning anything: Military efforts never meant economic development was neglected, and embarking on economic development took nothing away from paying attention to the media and propaganda machine, while providing resources for that machine was never at the expense of scientific research. As for us, Arabs, as well as Muslims, we must admit that we have failed for at least 60 years in building a homogeneous and effective lobby in the West, particularly in the US.

Today, Arabs in the West, more so in the US, are being subjected to an increasingly ruthless and complicated media onslaught, when compared to what they have previously experienced in their long struggle against Israel’s lobbies. This time their attacker is the Iranian lobby.
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