Home > Hasbara > Caroline Glick’s “We Con the World” and the Tea Partying of the US-Israel relationship

Caroline Glick’s “We Con the World” and the Tea Partying of the US-Israel relationship

On Friday (June 4 2010,) uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic published a post entitled Israel Derangement Syndrome III. It linked to We Con the World, a remarkable video clip produced by Latma, the right-wing satire project lead by Caroline Glick, who doubles as The Jerusalem Post’s Deputy Managing Editor.

Caroline Glick, ZOA's Mort Klein and John Bolton

The video is a repulsive attempt to use satire to make Israel’s case on Flotilla Devbacle. I recommend suffering through its entirety to grasp just how much. This is not really surprising to anyone who has ever read Glick’s columns or makes a cursory inquiry into her background. She is, for example, the recipient of the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) Outstanding Journalism in the Mideast award, which was presented to her in a ceremony featuring the esteemed John Bolton. Memorably, Glick was also quick to report (Hebrew), while embedded with a US unit in Iraq that she had “discovered” the first stash of WMDs.

The kind of US audience Glick appeals to is illustrated by the fact that Latma is fully funded by Center for Security Policy’s Middle East Media program, headed by Frank Gaffney, and that Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) was quick to post the video on its website.

The growing importance of the Israeli nodes of American neo and theo conservative networks is not new and regulars readers of Coteret know that we have followed it closely. But the reception this clip has received in Israel was surprising.

On Friday, I began to see intelligent, mainstream, Israeli opinion-leaders posting the clip on their Facebook pages. I assumed they were doing so for the same reason I was: To illustrate just how misguided some Israeli public diplomacy efforts had become. A closer look revealed just how wrong I was. These posts were intended for non-Israelis. One caption, posted by a successful left-of-center Israeli PR operative on the Economist Facebook page, read “make sure you see this before making up your mind.” On Saturday, they began doing the same thing with a classic Glenn Beck segment on the Flotilla Debacle and were incredulous and argumentative when I pointed out that Beck was not exactly the most effective source to cite if one wanted to make Israel’s case abroad.

In a two-page spread, this morning’s edition of Yediot (June 6 2010, full translated text below, Hebrew original here and at bottom of post), billed the clip as an effective citizen’s initiative “that defended Israel better than any of the experts.” It also made the following stupefying revelation:

Members of the Government Press Office who encountered it thought it was a state-sponsored clip and disseminated it overseas. After a Spanish journalist researched its sources, the GPO was forced to clarify that the parody was disseminated accidentally and that the contents of the clip did not reflect the official position of the State of Israel.

Writing about the Glenn Beck segment referenced above, MJ Rosenberg warned that American popular support for Israel is becoming increasingly restricted to the far-right. The way in which mainstream Israel perceived the public diplomacy value of Glick’s clip is a good illustration of this point. Indeed, with the Israeli media increasingly providing front and center venues for arch-conservatives such as Newt Gingrich (Israel Hayom) and Elliott Abrams (Maariv), one should not be surprised that the perceptual gulf between Israelis and most Americans is widening.


Hasbara hit

The editor recruited her friends, the lead actor cam back specially from reserve duty and the director bought Keffiyehs

How the clip that defended Israel better than any of the experts was created

Zvi Singer and Itai Shmoscowitz, Yediot, June 6 2010 [page 8; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]

lead actorIn a place where the official Israeli public relations failed, a popular wave has risen up and succeeded: a satiric video clip that mocks the way in which the participants in the Gaza flotilla were cast as heroes around the world, became a hit this weekend on the internet.Party

Many Israelis were infuriated by the way the IDF operation was depicted around the world. Shlomo Balas, the director of the Latma website, decided to fight back in the best way he knows how: with incisive satire. “The blood was boiling in my veins,” Balas said last night as he recounted watching the reports from aboard the Marmara. “I immediately called the site editor, Caroline Glick, sand said to her: ‘we have to do something.’” And that is how the Israeli video clip that has become a global hit was born. In the space of a single day the clip titled, “under the title Israel Derangement SyndromeWe con the world,” was viewed more than a million times.

The idea of taping a satiric take-off of the song “We are the world,” which was recorded in 1984 for the starving millions in Africa, was given by Tal Gilad, one of the writers on Latma. Gilad wrote the lyrics in English, and actors and singers were enlisted to take part in the clip. The group of performers was headed by Noam Yaakobson, who plays the role of Captain Stabbing.

Among the people who appear in the clip are Caroline Glick herself and the musician, Karni Eldad, who is the daughter of MK Aryeh Eldad. “We worked under very intense pressure. The writing was done on Monday morning, then we found the recording studio and we enlisted the singers, and on Thursday we recorded into the evening. I felt as if I was going to do reserve duty,” said Balas, a resident of Efrat. He said the overall cost of producing the clip came to USD 15,000, which is a pittance in comparison to the millions of shekels available to the state’s Hasbara Unit.

The clip shows the participants donning keffiyas and brandishing knives and clubs during the refrain. That gimmick almost got Aviv Kersozki, the director of Latma’s satiric newscast, into trouble. He was detained by the police on his way to the shoot after he was caught in possession of the knives and keffiyas in the Tel Aviv central bus station.

The song’s success was phenomenal. The official version of the clip, which was posted on Latma.co.il reached third place in the list of the most-viewed clips in the world on YouTube, with 672,555 views. The overall number, in that version and other unofficial versions that were posted on YouTube came to close to one million. “I received messages in support from Kurds and Armenians as well,” said Glick.

Yaakobson took part in the clip during a furlough from reserve duty on the northern border. On Thursday night, immediately after the shooting of the clip was over, he returned to the front line. “Ever since I returned to the base I’ve been flooded with text messages and phone calls,” he said. “The clip had an impact, big time. I shot it with a sense of mission. I felt as if the State of Israel were waiting for this.”

The clip also caused an embarrassing incident. Members of the Government Press Office who encountered it thought it was a state-sponsored clip and disseminated it overseas. After a Spanish journalist researched its sources, the GPO was forced to clarify that the parody was disseminated accidentally and that the contents of the clip did not reflect the official position of the State of Israel.

Meanwhile, the IDF has also been bombarding the internet on all fronts. The clips that the IDF has released about the flotilla have been much more popular than the clips that were disseminated by the supporters of the flotilla.


Categories: Hasbara
  1. June 6, 2010 at 14:46

    The clip is amazing. Good something had been a hit. If the whole world starts bashing Israel, at least something must be done against it. The activists – dead or alive cannot tell their actions are not highlighted or glorified enough. Israel is always left in the worst light ever and it’s not the case. And actually it is the officiaL point of the state of Israel and they shouldn’t be too embarrassed about it. Even if their military operations often go into a ver< wrong direction, the hypocrisy and the lying of too many humanism activitsts whatsoever need not to be covered by Israeli position as well. It#s ebough the world's media believes them. I am not a "right wing" and the video is no "right wingy" as well. It simply states what so many activists have in tehir minds when speaking of global (gaza) love ansd the facts about Mavi Marmara (flotillafacts.com), and the videos from there, and Hama-s and other organisations, prove it. basically, the whole of Israeli-palestinian conflict prove that.
    And anyways – give me a more creative answer to the conflict. Those from teh ships came up with whining at Israel throughout the whole world. Violent demonstrations against a country, nation and people followed.

    Jews, Israelis, are making videos against.

    • June 6, 2010 at 15:31

      I can’t thank you enough for providing such a vivid illustration of my argument.

  2. Freddy T
    June 6, 2010 at 16:31

    The peace thugs on the ship not only tried to con the world, they conned the peaceful peace activists. The video is quite beautiful you’re criticisms are silly.

    Lots of my non-Zionist friends sent me links to the clip as a brilliant example the right way to make Israeli points. The videos of the guys on the ship preparing to ambush the Israelis have actually turned this incident around in terms of public relations. You should have realized that by now.

    The other ships were all handled peacefully, and people have begun to understand that. The Israeli tactic of letting the other guy use force first seems to be paying off, although it’s very dangerous.

    • June 6, 2010 at 17:10

      Wow. I should have just a posted a link to the video and waited fro this type of comment to make my point.

    • Sam Logan
      June 7, 2010 at 01:41

      How the hell was it a ‘brilliant way to make Israeli points’? I guarantee you that making a parody about 9 people dying, whatever the context would be considered tasteless by EVERYONE I KNOW. That video is doing Israel NO favours. We all saw the Israeli footage on Monday anyway- none of that footage is a revelation to anyone who follows the news.

  3. Reuven
    June 6, 2010 at 19:43


    I usually find your posts insightful, but I have to say that I think you missed the mark on this one. While it was illuminating to learn the source of funding for Latma (and disturbing to read Caroline Glick’s goals in founding it, as posted on her website), I don’t believe that the flotilla video made any invalid points. There’s no question that at least some of the passengers onboard the Mavi Marmara cared more about making Israel look bad, not to mention beating the crap out of Israeli soldiers, rather than actually helping the suffering Palestinians in Gaza. Why Israel played right into their hands is a question that the Israeli government should be asking itself (and if not them, the Israeli press). And this doesn’t change the fact that all this occurred while Israel was defending a blockade that doesn’t seem to be accomplishing anything other than isolating itself internationally. But even if Israel shares part of the blame, so do the elements hostile to it that were part of this flotilla. And, for that matter, so does Turkey, who seem to prefer fanning the flames right now, rather than using their position to help bridge the gap between the sides and make things better for everyone.

  4. June 6, 2010 at 20:31

    Didi –

    show me one single shred of evidence that the gulf between Isreal and the majority of Americans is widening. The evidence I’ve seen idicates that Israel is vastly more popular in the US than, say, President Obama, and that with the exception of the left wing of the democratic party, this isn’t changing; actually, support for Israel in the US is probably higher now than it has been for decades.

    I was alerted to this very cute video via Michael Totten’s blog. Michael has moved rightwards over the years, but he’s basically an American centrist, who has often voted Democrat. Andrew Sullivan garners more hits on his blog, but even he, with about one million readers, doesn’t attract more than 0.3% of Americans; Fox News trounces him with both hands tied behind its back any day.

    • June 7, 2010 at 04:00

      Yaacov — If by evidence you mean this type of anecdote, I’ll give you plenty over the next few days.

  5. Fnord
    June 6, 2010 at 23:57

    lozowick: Its true that Israel is winning the tea-party segment with their kill-em-all easy solutions. They are gradually loosing the most important factor in US political life: The military. It is no longer possible to not talk about a linkage between Israels actions and the war in Afghanistan, because Turkey is a NATO ally and has solid force-presence in theatre. Also, the Israeli arrogance and missing ability to accept even the slightest hint of critiscism is gradually driving the professionals away from you.

    • June 7, 2010 at 08:04

      Didi –

      The evidence can’t be anecdotal. It has to be systematic. Anybody can find anecdotal evidence for anything. If you’re talking about American public opinion distancing itself from Israel, at a time when there are systematic findings that say this isn’t happening, yo’ve got to bring systematic evidence of your own. Which you won’t be able to do.

      fnord: feel free to supply me with evidence for your statement. The crack about the Tea Party segment is irrelevant. The Tea Partiers don’t deal with Israel, they deal with economic and social policies.

      The long term – and very solid – support for Israel in the US comes from various fundamental parts of American society, such as Jacksonian democracy, American exceptionalism, the City on the Hill, etc. Killing Islamist thugs reinforces this support, it doesn’t erode it.

      • June 7, 2010 at 09:22

        Yaacov — I only mentioned anecdotal evidence, because you provided an anecdote to support your claim. BTW, if instead of “most Americans” I wrote “most Jewish-Americans”, would we still be in dispute?

  6. June 7, 2010 at 07:35

    Ah, I see I’ve stumbled upon the useful idiots’ page.

    I am lost in admiration for Israel and her honest, robust approach to the rights of terrorists, despots and mass murderers. Without fuss, and without asking the permission of any corrupt, illiberal supra-national talking shop, The IDF hastened another shower of fundamentalist thugs to their great reward in Paradise. Forgive me if I shed no tears.

    Oh, and if there are any members of Mossad reading this, and if they have plans to whack any more of these halal butchers using the Dubai modus operandi, I’d like to offer my own British passport for their consideration.

  7. Oscar Davies
    June 7, 2010 at 09:13

    Congratulations on “We con the world” video.
    I have long felt our “hasbarah” sorely lacks humour, satire and general disdain for our enemies. What we Brits scientifically refer to as “taking the piss”.
    During WW2, British radio propaganda to Germany was very sophisticated. One of the programmes was called, if memory serves, “Hans und Willi”.
    The characters were two very working class Germans, usually in an air-raid shelter with bombing heard in the background. Their conversation, using the sort of language to be expected from such as they, consisted of saying what they really thought about Hitler and the rest of his mob, and the progress of the war.
    It was later found that these broadcasts were, not surprisingly, widely listened to.
    Not very “naice”, but very effective.
    All good wishes.
    Oscar Davies

  8. June 7, 2010 at 12:08

    Didi –

    I don’t know about America’s Jews. Certainly the orthodox support Israel, and though they’re not the majority yet they will be soon. As for the rest, I expect some dislike us ever more, and most still support us.

    • July 5, 2010 at 09:53

      Well, here‘s the research that proves my point. Certainly in this context.

  9. ruth walker
    June 7, 2010 at 22:48

    The video clip is amazing. The people on the flotilla set out to demonize Israel and they succeeded. It is good that someone has the courage to show the world the truth.

  10. Jackson Zimmer
    June 8, 2010 at 03:58

    The video was totally deranged and completely misguide. There’s a line that states ‘there’s no people dying’. Didn’t 9 people die during the raid? Who is trying to con who? This video only serves the devout and is an insult to every thinking person on this planet.

  11. June 8, 2010 at 09:15

    If those activists and the Gazans were serious about humanitarian aid, they could have just brought it to Ashdod. Like those Negroes at Woolworth’s, if they were serious about lunch, it could have been brought to them out back. No need for the provocation of sitting down at the counter inside the restaurant!

  12. elge larsson
    June 8, 2010 at 13:50

    Opps! Seldom have I seen a more cynical and anti-humanistic show! The only thing this video tells me is that the Israeli military and politicians (I am NOT talking about the Israelian or Jewish people) are not only blood-thirsty but also is conning themselves to think that anybody will see this as anything but war propaganda.

    Let us see ALL the footage from the videos, mobile phones and computers that the soldiers captured. If IDF has nothing to hide, then they may make a believable case. As long as they keep these films under wraps, there is nothing to convince me that this was not just another act of piracy on international waters. “Oh, me oh my, they had hammers on board, with which they can make bomb shelters for Hamas….” Pfuih!

  13. David
    June 8, 2010 at 19:26

    First of all, this is the first time I had even thought of connecting the ‘there’s no people dying’ – to the 9 people who died on the boat. To me the whole thing was far greater that the “peace activists” “humanitarian” attempt to provide humanitarian aide to gaza by (quote) ‘break the siege’ but a link to Israelis who have been massacred for the last god knows how long. Remember the satire is ‘israel haters’ who “… con the world” hence, if they continued that line they would have said “we are all dying”..

    Think about it.

    Second of all, the clip – in its dark, v. dark, humour – illustrates exactly what is going on today. The world is being conned. Otherwise, how would you explain the world unexplainable obsession with Israel? i mean, fine – focus on it – but, Sudan? Egypt? Armenian Massacre? Tibet? North Korea? Kashmir?… and so, but so much more…

    And finally, thinking of “Helen Thomas” beautiful remarks… I simply can’t but thinking whether my father should back to Iraq, or my friends father back to Iran. The very same place they barely escaped with their life. And go ahead. Guess why.

  14. demize!
    June 8, 2010 at 23:01

    Is it because Mossad false-flagged anti-jewish terror attacks in thos countries? Is that it? Do I get the prize?

  15. Amir F.
    June 9, 2010 at 03:38

    I watched the clip, and honestly, it didn’t strike me as particularly racist. It was moderately funny, accurate in pointing out that at least some of the flotilla activists were not bashful about using violence, and was, as you highlight, callous to the suffering in Gaza.

    You say it had every racist trope in the book, or something like that. This seems way off the mark–although I’m certain the people who produced the video have racist views towards Arabs–the people satirized in the video are depicted as kefiyah wearing, knife wielding militants–which they are.

    This flotilla thing and its aftermath is highlighting exactly what is wrong with the whole Israel/Palestine conflict; people have a tendency to see things in case of good guys and bad guys–conservatives or “arch” conservatives as you write, versus liberals.

    In the case of this flotilla raid, there are many bad guys–the activists for welcoming a violent confrontation in order to highlight their political aims; the military command for planning a raid in the middle of the night; haters of Israel, who sympathize with Thomas’s remarks; haters of the Palestinians who are blind to the suffering in Gaza caused by the blockade.

  16. Sylvia Navon
    June 9, 2010 at 17:26

    What is wrong with the Israeli government that it feels the need to humble itself by apologizing for the most clever and entertaining instance of pro Israel, anti terrorism in memory.

    Caroline Glick should be honored not criticized. Israel “hasbara” has been lame as long as I remember. Finally, a break through fueled by Jewish talent and the government bows to world criticism. Israel is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t anyway. The government should apologize to the Jewish people.

  17. B.BarNavi
    June 9, 2010 at 22:10

    Geez, either there’s massive suffering in Gaza and Hamas is solely to blame, or there’s no suffering at all. Which one is it, masbirim?

  18. Joel Benjamin
    June 9, 2010 at 22:19

    I thought the video was very funny. That’s the problem with the lefty, anti-Israel crowd: they have no sense of humor.

  19. Rulla
    June 11, 2010 at 04:46
  20. shekissesfrogs
    June 11, 2010 at 05:20

    So cute! Imagine we are lived to see gods chosen tapping their jackboots to the melody of the musical version of Jude suss.
    I guess the dehumanization campaign can be called a success!

  21. Ives
    June 12, 2010 at 00:04

    Questions for supporters of the Israeli action.

    Let’s imagine that the old apartheid government of South Africa had intercepted an aid convoy bound to a bantustan, killed 9, confiscated every last shred of video, audio, and photographic evidence of the event from the members of the convoy, justified it all on the grounds that the aid was meant for the ‘terrorist’ ANC, and then released a music video celebrating the entire affair.

    1. Would you say the South African government’s response was justified?
    2. If not, what exactly makes Israel’s response both different and justifiable?
    3. If so, explain how the music video is a smart public relations move in a climate when much of the world, even though cutoff for days from anything but the Israeli spin on events, still sees this act as one of Israeli aggression.

  22. Skye
    June 12, 2010 at 12:15

    The Turkish ship knew that they were running a huge risk. They could have gotten the so called ‘aid’ to Gaza another way. The leaders of the stunt are responsible for the unfortunate deaths.

    When Israelis were attacked they fought back with satire. You can be sure the Islamic world won’t use satire – that they will use their grenades and human bombs to kill innocent people. I prefer the Israeli way any day.

  23. Richard01
    June 21, 2010 at 11:07

    I took much the same view of this execrable video as Didi Remez. It was amateurish, witless, derivative, and crude. It’s not available on YouTube any more; the publisher of the tune they ‘borrowed’ ‘We Are The World’ – has taken legal action against them. The whole affair, including the Government Press Office’s adoption of it as a state-sponsored clip, and then hasty withdrawal from that position, should be an embarrassment to the Israelis, but, as usual, isn’t.

    The affair had noticeable similarities to the Keystone Kops aspects of the Israeli ‘elite commando’ raid on the Mavi Marmara.

    I watched the raid on the live feed from the Mavi Marmara, until it was cut off; then I watched the first two Israeli video clips. I thought the night-vision view of the ship’s deck was possibly genuine, but the night-vision sideways view, so widely disseminated, was a hilarious joke of a confection, probably filmed on a sister ship during rehearsals.

    The famed Sayeret 13 behaved like untrained and unpracticed idiots. They appear, in the second video, to rappel so slowly down that the passengers on deck were able to grab them, armed only with sticks and improvised clubs adapted from the chains and stanchions surrounding the lifeboats on the upper deck, which could be ripped out by hand. You can see how the commandos actually descended, at speed, in the recently released Iara Lee video.

    Still, these courageous and victimised Israeli commandos managed to kill 9 passengers; 5 of them shot in the back, with 30 shots altogether. Furkan Dogan, the 19 year old American, was shot once in the chest and 4 times at close range, in the head.

    The passengers captured 3 of the commandos; one of them is shown being escorted downstairs to the makeshift medical room, with a bleeding nose and superficial scratches.

    He is obviously crying his little heart out, before he is tended by a Turkish doctor.

  24. keith
    June 24, 2010 at 08:32

    You appear to have read too many conspiracy novels – and they have affected your intellect and sense of humor. The video is quite witty, and to the point.

    On another matter RICHARD01 –

    The 9 terrorists were killed because they attacked the soldiers. And please, as of yet the only postmortem documentation is that stitched together by you and your brainless colleagues from the left!

  25. Okey
    July 3, 2011 at 14:59

    Caroline Glick, and the entire LATMA crew are a treasure.

  1. June 6, 2010 at 16:00
  2. June 6, 2010 at 16:28
  3. June 7, 2010 at 06:16
  4. June 7, 2010 at 07:01
  5. June 7, 2010 at 07:47
  6. June 7, 2010 at 13:05
  7. June 7, 2010 at 14:27
  8. June 8, 2010 at 06:28
  9. June 9, 2010 at 03:34
  10. June 10, 2010 at 20:23
  11. June 10, 2010 at 23:27
  12. June 14, 2010 at 18:23
  13. June 21, 2010 at 12:46
  14. June 21, 2010 at 20:18
  15. June 22, 2010 at 00:10
  16. June 28, 2010 at 23:00
  17. June 30, 2010 at 01:24
  18. August 15, 2010 at 13:06
  19. August 15, 2010 at 13:27
  20. August 17, 2010 at 08:10

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