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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Guest Opinion: Response to David Horowitz ad

I must inform you that the advertisement in The Aggie on Thursday titled “The Palestinians’ Case Against Israel is Based on a Genocidal Lie” has two major flaws which make it very suspicious. First, it is written in a style of extreme propaganda. Second, its content is a denial of a human rights violation.

Propaganda oversimplifies an issue by only giving one perspective, and polarizes people into two groups – with the speaker, or “the enemy.” For example, when a line from the advertisement says, “There is one reason and one reason alone that there is no peace” such a statement leaves no room for discussion and suggests that all other opinions are invalid. In addition, the name-calling in the piece, such as “the Arab aggressors” gives the advertisement a racist spin that makes the rest of the advertisement suspect. By offering only a binary, us vs. them mentality the advertisement encourages readers to look at the issue from only a one-sided perspective. Personally, I am disturbed that such an obstruction to intellectual debate needs to be used.

As a student of human rights, I have learned that a group of people (whether you call them Palestinians or by some other name) was forcibly removed from their homes during the creation of the State of Israel. The term for forcibly removing an ethnic group from a geographic location is “ethnic cleansing.” I believe that this is a core issue that is trying to be debated, though the advertisement does not mention this except to say that Palestine does not exist.

In genocide class this week we studied denial, and on the very same day this advertisement ran, we learned about a type of denial called “reversal” which is, essentially, the defense of accusing a victim of being a perpetrator. This advertisement had many lines that made me think of reversal, including those claiming that the Palestinians’ case is “genocidal” and that they “honored the murderers” of “a calculated war on women and children.”

In denying any responsibility for the hardships faced by Palestinians or Arabs (groups not distinguished in the article), the advertisement accuses the Palestinians for injustices done to Israel. However, such accusations do not absolve Israel from responsibility. In addition, it blames Arabs for their own suffering: “It is true that the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza are suffering. But they are suffering because of 60 years of Arab aggression … ” Again refusing to take any responsibility for anything, this advertisement seems, to me, a prime suspect for denial of a human rights violation.

In the future, when publishing an advertisement in a college newspaper, I would encourage the David Horowitz Freedom Center to present its arguments in a way that doesn’t make use of propaganda, racism, accusations and a denial of any possible responsibility. And I encourage all newspaper readers to watch out for propaganda.

Thank you,

Rachel Pevsner

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