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Censored Ayalon Hasbara Video Pictured Collapsing Dome of Rock Supplanted by Holy Temple

I tell you: Danny Ayalon is the gift that keeps on giving.  I’ll miss not having him to kick around in the Knesset and foreign ministry.  As his parting gift, he made a series of hasbara videos under the general rubric of “The Truth About…”  The first three videos were on the subject of Jewish refugees, the West Bank, and the peace process.  The fourth was about Jerusalem.  Of course he wasn’t telling the real truth about any of these subjects, but rather that peculiar version of Israeli government truth called hasbara.

dome of rock collapsing

Dome of the Rock imploding in censored foreign ministry video

The producers of the Jerusalem episode, an independent contractor working for the foreign ministry used a special effect that showed a little more truth than Ayalon was prepared for: it showed the Dome of the Rock collapsing (Hebrew–in above video it is a short 5-second clip immediately after the first ad) and being replaced by the ancient Jewish Temple.

It exposed the ideological underpinning of the makers of the film.  The heartfelt desire of every settler and ultra-nationalist is for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and its replacement with the Third Temple.  This is a sentiment last heard on YouTube by the Bayit Yehudi candidate Jeremy Gimpel, who told a Christian evangelical audience in Florida he imagined the mosque being blown up and replaced with the Temple.  That news charmed his audience naturally.  Gimpel was clearly exhilarated at just the thought of it.

Wiser heads in the foreign ministry prevailed, realizing it might be a tad embarrassing to produce and promote a film showing the third holiest shrine in Islam supplanted by the Holy Temple.  A new film was produced in which “fairy dust” was used as the Dome of the Rock “disappeared” to be replaced by the Jewish shrine. That does seem to be the modus operandi of this Israeli brand of Zionism.  It makes unpleasant facts represented by Muslim heritage and tradition simply disappear with a wave of the wand.

Even the cleaned up version which is embedded above (it follows several ads and is 4:25 in length–the “disappearing” Dome is at the 2:00 mark) is insulting to Muslims.  But that fairy dust works wonders in softening the inconvenient reality.

dome imploding

Dome of the Rock: going, going…gone

All was well until Yediot discovered this bit of gaucherie and told the Hebrew speaking world about it.

Another telling aspect of the production of these videos is the prominent credit at the end indicating the series is a joint hasbara venture with StandWithUs.  This further buttresses my contention that SWU is not really an NGO or independent group.  It is an extension of the Israeli government itself.  My hunch is that the Israeli government subsidizes the work of SWU both in Israel and outside it.  If so, this would be a violation of the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act.  I’m waiting for the smoking gun on this one.

Almost as embarrassing as the film itself is the tone of the Yediot report which accepted as established wisdom that hasbara films of this sort were a triumph of public relations.  The reporter notes with pride the series had 1.5-million views and was translated into “tens” of languages.  He also quotes this laughable bit of justification by Ayalon that whitewashes the error in the Jerusalem video production:

The purpose of the video was to show Jerusalem as harmonious and tolerant of all religions, under Israeli sovereignty. The image of a collapsing Dome of the Rock would incite riots. As opposed to Arab countries which suppress the rights of minorities, Israel is proud of the freedom of religion enjoyed by Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

This little whitewash of a homily neglects the largely successful efforts by settler extremists to ethnically cleanse Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, archaeological digs sponsored by settler groups which lead to further expulsion of Palestinian residents from their homes, regular anti-Palestinian violence in the street of Jewish West Jerusalem including a pogrom that led to the near-lynching of a Palestinian in the heart of the city; a crime witnessed by hundreds of Jews who stood by and did nothing to help. The perpetrators were let off by a court with probation. The victim wasn’t so lucky and spent weeks in the hospital with serious head wounds.

Then there’s that other font of religious tolerance, called aptly the Museum of Tolerance, being built literally on top of the graves in a Muslim cemetery. Scores of skeletons were exhumed through methods little short of brute vandalism and simply destroyed. All for the greater glory of the Wiesenthal Center and its Hollywood Rabbi Marvin Hier.

Ah yes, Jerusalem, that other city of brotherly love. All brought to you by Danny Ayalon and his fellow Likud-Beitenu visionaries of religious tolerance.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Henoch January 30, 2013, 6:47 AM

    Repent from your anti-israel lies and media misinformation.

  • David January 30, 2013, 1:46 PM

    Showing 5 seconds is THE DEFINITION of taking things out of the context.

    • Deïr Yassin January 30, 2013, 3:57 PM

      You only read the headlines ? The whole video is embedded in the blue link, second video. Of course the Dome of the Rock is only collapsing in order to make Danny Ayalon’s historical explanation (isn’t that what ‘hasbara’ really means) clearer.

      • Brian January 30, 2013, 4:38 PM

        It’s been a while since i last hear such extreme words:
        “Easily recognizable by the golden dome of the rock..Historically it was first consecrated by the people of Israel (1:57) the great Jewish temple was built here by King Solomon 300 years ago.”

        What Mr. Silverstein is doing in this post is known in Yiddish as “Tsimes” Or “luft gesheft” making a big deal out of nothing, taking things out of context.

        This video doesn’t speak about the next temple, it speaks of the previous one. To assert that “It exposed the ideological underpinning of the makers of the film.” is simply letting one’s imagination run wild.

        • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2013, 8:19 PM

          I see. So a video that shows the third holiest shrine in Islam collapsing and being replaced the the Jewish Temple is chopped liver? If so, why did Danny Ayalon himself say if the video hadn’t been altered it would’ve caused riots. Unless you’re claiming that Muslim sensitivities are nothing but a bit tsimmes, full of sound & fury signifying nothing. Is that what you believe?

          Because it wouldn’t be the first time that an insular Jew held himself deaf to the concerns and interests of Muslims. It would be about the millionth–and oh so common to the uber-Israel crowd of which you’re an honorary member.

          • Brian January 30, 2013, 8:43 PM

            For the sake of accuracy, the video doesn’t show the Mosque being replaced, it shows the situation prior to the Mosque being built. What you presented – the collapse of the Dome of the rock – was never aired. Someone in Israel showed good enough judgment and decided it wasn’t sensitive enough and replaced it with fairy dust.

            So what is your complaint ? The state of Israel showed good judgment no “insular Jew held himself deaf to the concerns and interests of Muslims” (as you nicely put it) , you should praise the state of Israel for doing the right thing, instead you are making Tismes.

          • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2013, 11:42 PM

            The point is the only reason the censored video wasn’t used was because of how it would appear in the Muslim world. There was no objection to the sentiment or ideological thinking behind the collapsing mosque. On that, every member of this government agrees.

          • Brian January 31, 2013, 11:47 AM

            So you are judging the state based on your interpretation of people’s hearts and mind, and not by their action that shows otherwise ?

            That is really stretching it.

          • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2013, 12:03 AM

            Israel’s actions show it’s a tolerant, diverse country permitting religious freedom for all? Puh-leeze. The thought, words and deeds of Israel’s leaders show it to be otherwise.

    • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2013, 8:21 PM

      I took nothing out of context. As Deir Yassin told you the entire video is accessible to you. If you watched the rest of the video and were a reasonable person, it would reinforce the notion that its producers were insensitive boors when it came to understanding what tolerance & religious diversity means.

  • Cliff February 1, 2013, 5:05 PM

    The Dome is seen imploding and collapsing in a cartoony fashion.

    It’s not as if this video is being made by Jewish Voice for Peace.

    If Hamas were to put out an ‘educational’ video and show some Jewish institution vanish in the same way as the Islamic counterpart here, then there would be no hesitation as to the context of the action.

    That is the difference. The person making this video is Ayalon. So when considering the person’s politics and the political culture of the people who contribute these kinds of videos, it is not surprising or out of line to believe that this video depicts the destruction of an Islamic holy site.

    It is not some innocent video. And moreover the people defending the video are not innocently apolitical. They are whitewashing.

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