Hasbara is called illegitimate by BDSers because some people are paid to do it, but making good money from your own political opinions- without the bother of being a politician – Is okay? I don’t get this logic.
BDS leaders systematically trash-talk the “Zionist Hasbara Machine”, which they claim funds pro Israeli opinions to be voiced in an unfair way – it drives money into the so called “neutral” system of activist public debate. While these activists regularly cross the very fine line between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism (As I observed here several times), they are generally comfortable with classic anti-Semitic metaphors that compare Hasbara to sort of “elders-of-Zion” capitalist global array, fueled by a lot of money.
I thought I’d check the financial integrity of these activists, who seem so sensitive when it comes to money. I chose 5 leading names, well-known in the Anti Israeli propaganda community, and tried to find out what do they make a living out of? Are they hardworking laborers at day who non-profitly run their voluntary activities by night?
The attached image shows some information that anyone with a little patience and basic web skills can check and see for themselves. Each one of them wrote at least one book on the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Books sell at average 50$ each). All of them give lectures on the subject often, usually for money, sell CDs, and write on this sole issue. I don’t know how much Al Jazeera or the Guardian pay their writers, but I’m pretty sure it’s good money.
Is their massive online activity, as well as countless media appearances, not promoting – either specifically or indirectly – Their sales? I doubt that.
Do notice Ben white’s bio from his Super active (not to say spammy-ish) twitter account:
Writer, freelance journalist, activist. Author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ & new book ‘Palestinians in Israel’.
The link will take you to his blog, where the first thing you’ll see is a promotional post regarding his (Not so) new book.
I tried to find some established sources to the exact amounts of money these people are making by selling their boycott based books and lectures, but eventually realized the specifics numbers are irrelevant to the principle. The books they’re selling get high Amazon rates and keep selling for years, and well established institutions pay them to speak and write.
Boycott, divestment and economic sanctions on Israel aren’t a political tool for these people- It’s a business and a source of profit.
What will they make money of once the conflict is over? I don’t know, maybe other conflicts. In the meanwhile, I’ll start calling them Lobbyists rather than activists…