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Haim Saban arrives before the start of the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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A Modest Proposal for Haim Saban

When the Haim Saban-owned media criticizes Israel, it’s time for a Haim Saban-funded PR campaign to save the day

by
Liel Leibovitz
May 16, 2018
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Haim Saban arrives before the start of the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It’s hard out there for Haim Saban.

The billionaire and philanthropist owns a controlling stake in the humor website The Onion. Yesterday, The Onion ran a piece entitled “IDF soldier recounts harrowing, heroic war story of killing 8-month-old child.”

“I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me,” read the piece. “And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?”

How to respond to such counterfactual, anti-Semitic drivel masquerading as satire? How to counter a publication massively popular with American millennials sounding every bit like Hamas propaganda?

Just ask Haim Saban, of course: The billionaire’s other recent investment was the Campus Maccabees, a group of real-life teenage Power Rangers that he founded with his fellow billionaire Sheldon Adelson and that was designed to fight anti-Israel bias in academia. Saban eventually bowed out of the group, but the recent Onion piece is a reminder that Israel still has a hasbara problem, as Haim Saban had wisely intuited.

The solution, then, is simple: Haim Saban must invest in a new hasbara effort dedicated to targeting The Onion, which Haim Saban owns, thereby creating a perfect Haim Saban Möbius strip that exists independently of any outside interference. A Haim Saban publication will run outrageous anti-Israel pieces, a Haim Saban nonprofit will come up with clever ways to refute them, and the rest of us will finally be free to care about things that actually matter.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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