Jewish student handbook: How to pretend to debate


Richard Moore

Hasbara Handbook: How to pretend to debate while smashing your opponent

Yes Virginia, there really is a Hasbara Handbook. You can download your very own copy right now – this one, by the World Union of Jewish Students, is from 2002 and aims to help students make the case for Israel.

You could, the book suggests, try one of two methods. You could engage in real debate or you could “point score.”  As it says on page 9 under the title “How to score points whilst avoiding debate”, and no I did not make this up: “Central to point scoring is the ability to disguise point scoring by giving the impression of genuine debate. Audience members can be alienated by undisguised attacks so all point scoring needs to be disguised.” Try as I might, I could not find Alan Dershowitz’s name listed as a writer, or at least the inspiration.

Download the book. There’s lots more to help you spot “point-scoring” versus, you know, real debate.