I join everyone else in saluting Alan Hart. He has given half a lifetime - and his considerable professional skills - to the Palestinian struggle. Now he's calling it a day. I find the news indescribably sad, but at the same time it should serve as a wake-up call to Palestinians, and indeed Arabs everywhere, that the patience of their most devoted sympathizers is wearing thin.
Some of the reasons Alan gives for his withdrawal from the battlefield deserve repetition and emphasis.
• Zionism could have been contained and defeated by now if resources and money had been available to promote and spread of the truth on a scale necessary to empower the citizens of the Western nations, Americans especially, to make their democracies work for justice and peace. Providers of those resources necessary for winning the information war ought to have been seriously wealthy Arabs in general and seriously wealthy diaspora Palestinians in particular, doing for Palestine what seriously wealthy Jews did and still do for Zionism.
• Because the resources were not there, the war for the truth of history has remained the most asymmetric of all information wars. Zionism’s masters of deception have enjoyed virtually unlimited funds while the truth-tellers remain without the means to put together and implement a coordinated, winning campaign strategy.
• Most seriously wealthy non-Palestinian Arabs don’t care about the occupied and oppressed Palestinians. The Arab masses do care but their élites don’t.
• The end-game will most likely be a final Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine, followed by another great turning against the Jews, provoked by Zionism’s insufferable self-righteousness and contempt for international law.
Israel's 'lie machine' has nothing to fear from Palestine's non-existent 'truth machine'
I would add that even if well-heeled Arabs had coughed up, the Palestinian political 'élite' on the ground would have blunted the effort. I'm referring, of course, to the ‘enemy within’ - Israel's lackeys like Abbas and the whole corrupt, self-serving entourage in Ramallah.
I'm also talking about Hamas who, although purer in thought and deed, need to drag their act into the 21st century, and reach out to those in the West who would be willing to help. Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader-in-exile, was recently re-elected political chief. Although he cuts a heroic figure one would have expected him to achieve much more from his position outside the stifling confines of the Israeli occupation.
As many observers have pointed out, Hamas is the only real game in town on the Palestinian side and he could, for example, have set up an effective international media and broadcasting service to carry the persuasive resistance message to the West.
So could the gutless Palestinian Authority and the equally useless PLO, but these quislings are happy to be hushed by their U.S.-Israeli masters. They are not interested in acquiring the necessary skills anyway. Seven years ago I arranged for a leading media skills training expert to submit a proposal to the PA through their ambassador in London. Oh yes, they said they liked the idea. But we heard no more. Consequently, instead of formulating a communications strategy, reframing the Holy Land narrative, setting the news agenda, supplying ample and timely briefing materials, making articulate spokespersons instantly available and having a sharp tool to reinforce negotiations, they remain dumb and flat-footed - to Palestine’s great detriment.
They have actually become the Palestinians' own worst enemy.
Beware the ‘enemy within’
A modest-sized company makes a better job of creating awareness, honing and promoting its image, explaining its purpose and defending its hard-won reputation than the entire Palestinian nation ever did. Despite having the moral high ground and a great story to tell, and despite the enemy suffering the world’s worst brand image, the Palestinians have been beaten at every turn in the dirty propaganda game.
To sap the Palestinians’ energy and frustrate their dreams of justice, the 'enemy within' lurk not only inside Palestinian institutions and the warring political factions but also in the outside ‘support’ organizations.
I have been in this game a mere 8 years – nothing compared to Alan Hart’s great commitment – and I'll not leave the battlefield just yetStuart Littlewood
When my book ‘Radio Free Palestine’ was launched in 2007 the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) refused, for reasons we could never discover, to review it or even give it a mention on their website despite receiving two complimentary copies (they claimed the first went missing). Was it red-flagged, like Alan Hart's book and perhaps many others, by those who head up this thing called "solidarity"?
‘Radio Free Palestine’ tells of the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and is intended as a primer for newcomers to the situation who wish to join the fray. It carries a foreword by Jeff Halper of ICAHD, and people who’ve read it are generally complimentary. So what was PSC's problem with it? Are we not in this fight together?
And guess what... when the book went out of print in 2011 and I put it on the web www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk for anyone to read, the PSC again refused to give it space.
The book was written with the co-operation of the Catholic Church, which promoted it within their own ranks. When offered to the Anglican Church the reception was cool and it went nowhere. This reinforced my impression that senior Anglicans (with a few important exceptions) couldn't care less that the Holy Land is being stolen from under their noses. The Church appears to be rife with Zionist sympathizers and too busy embracing Judaism, gays and inter-faith claptrap to take a principled stand.
The PSC held an important-sounding Gaza Lessons Conference in London two weeks ago and there's still no analysis or other briefing on the key messages and proposals that (presumably) came out of it. What are those Gaza 'lessons'? If they’d tell us, we writers might be able to help broadcast them.
Meanwhile, I see on the Palestinian Embassy's website a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs moaning about Israel's continued juda-ization of Palestinian territory and property in defiance of international law, U.N. rulings and other agreements. It calls on others (the pitiful Quartet, the 'international community' and the Arab and Islamic countries) to take action but gives no indication of the action the Palestinian Authority itself might or should take.
Indeed, President Abbas and his motley crew are strangers to positive action. Since 29 November 2012, 193 member states of the United Nations have recognized the State of Palestine, and the International Criminal Court is waiting for Palestinians to commence the long-overdue process for bringing war crimes charges against Israel. But for the last five months Abbas and his administration have dragged their feet and done nothing to take matters forward, while the Israelis continue at breakneck speed to establish more 'irreversible' facts on the ground designed to make their occupation permanent.
Until Abbas, who has no legitimacy, is ousted and until Israel's relentless Lie Machine is matched by a properly resourced and professionally skilled Truth Machine, the Palestinian cause is doomed. The sands of time have all but run out.
I have been in this game a mere 8 years – nothing compared to Alan Hart’s great commitment – and I'll not leave the battlefield just yet. But I’m aiming to spend a lot less time pounding the keyboard... unless someone comes up with a worthwhile project.
Stuart Littlewood is a marketing specialist turned writer-photographer in the UK. He is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.