Sol Salbe just sent me this ad produced by Israel’s National Authority for War Against Drugs and Alcohol:
His wish: to destroy us from within. Hezbollah has a clear intent to flood Israel with drugs. Drugs are a strategic threat against Israeli society. He who uses drugs aids the next bombing.
It’s a pure fever dream of wild and outrageous stereotypes which reminds me in its sheer paranoia of that famous “Bolsheviks in the Bathroom” poster from the 1920s.
So what have we here? First, the notion that a drug user somehow abets terrorism, though by what mechanism is hard to parse. Just to play devil’s advocate here for a moment: how would Hezbollah succeed in smuggling drugs into Israel when the IDF patrols the Lebanese border to prevent precisely these types of incursions? Or are we saying that the effectiveness of the IDF’s border patrolling efforts is no better than its effectiveness at destroying Hezbollah in the last war?
Leaving aside the obvious questions, you have to ask one basic one: is this ad going to deter Israelis from taking drugs? Why would it? What is convincing about this ad in any way, shape or form that would compel a drug user’s interest? It reminds me of the old Just Say No ads championed by Nancy Reagan. And the Israeli ad will be as effective as the Bush administration’s abstinence program as a sexual deterrent (in fact studies prove that abstinence programs actually increase sexual activity since they are so devoid of connection with the thinking of actual teenagers).
The logic of the ad is a bit off. Hezbollah doesn’t engage in suicide attacks against Israelis. Somehow the drug authority has mixed up Hamas and Hezbollah (they both start with “H”, after all) and welded the image of the notorious Nasrallah to the sometime terror method of choice of Hamas without making a distinction between them. I guess they’d argue this is a drug prevention ad after all and not serious political discourse so what’s the harm? Israeli drug users probably aren’t spending much time parsing political subtleties like this anyway.
Finally, this ad is the perfect relfection of Israel as national security state. Every problem, whether related to security or not, is refracted through the lens of the national security obsession. Stop using drugs not for your health or because you’ll end up in the slammer, but because it causes suicide bombings. You can see how bizarre life becomes in the national security state. Or at least how bizarre it becomes for those who devise ads like this one.