The Less Said the Better
This chapter examines how Western propagandists faced up to the challenge of the Arab-Israel dispute, perhaps the single greatest political obstacle to the successful pursuit of British and American psychological objectives in the Middle East. From the post-war crisis in Palestine through to the efforts to promote an Arab-Israeli peace settlement in the mid-1950s, the pernicious influence of the conflict was felt in almost every branch of the information and cultural diplomacy programmes in the region. The chapter first examines British and American propaganda during the 1945–49 period of crisis and war in Palestine, highlighting the paralysis that afflicted the State Department’s information programme and exposing the very different approach taken by British propagandists. A second section investigates Western propaganda in the early 1950s, the period in which it became apparent that Israel had established itself as an enduring feature of the political landscape. In particular, it examines the rhetorical strategies of silencing, distancing and neutralism that Anglo-American propagandists sought to apply to politically sensitive issues. A third section explores Western propaganda in support of attempts to engineer a long-term Arab-Israeli settlement, focusing upon the difficulties involved in forging a joint Anglo-American approach to the questions of publicity that arose in relation to the ‘Alpha’ peace plan.
KeywordsMiddle East Arab World Arab State American Policy Palestine Refugee
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