Identify brainwash & fake news - presentation & discussion

Introduction


Middle school-High school

In this lesson you can use a rare archives slideshow presentation to show how the Soviet Media portrayed Jews and Jewish Emigration problem (according to Soviet officials: no problem because no one wants to get out), with points of discussion. 

Raising the main question: how can we today recognize an attempt brainwash or “fake news” when it’s not about a subject that we are familiar with?

Learning Objectives

The strong effect that the media can have on people’s opinion. Learn how easy it is, to twist the truth and how it was done in the Soviet Union.

Relevance for today: how can we today recognize an attempt brainwash or “fake news” when it’s not about a subject that we are familiar with?

Background

For many decades, virulently antisemitic forms of ‘anti-Zionism’ were central to the cold war propaganda of the Communist states. 

In the course of the campaign, hundreds of anti-Zionist and anti-Israel books and thousands of articles were published in the USSR, with millions of copies entering circulation in the country. Many were translated into foreign languages – English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and numerous others. In 1970 alone, the comparison between alleged Zionist and Nazi racism – just one of the campaign’s numerous memes – merited 96 mentions (Pinkus 1989:256). Demonisation of Zionism continued in films, lectures, and radio broadcasts. Anti-Zionist cartoons, many of an obvious antisemitic nature, were a regular feature of Soviet publications.  (*From article: Soviet Anti-Zionism and Contemporary Left Antisemitism)

The leaders of the Soviet Union declare to the world in multiple times but no one is leaving because no one wants to leave its Paradise. 

But the truth was that the government didn’t allow people to leave. 

It was impossible to fly or leave the Soviet Union without an official permit.

Most people would be denied, if they had the courage to apply for a permit.

Before 1970, most people in the “free world”, didn’t know what was happening inside the Soviet Union. 

The KGB controlled all the information for as long as they could

Materials

 

  1. Computer/projector/TV to screen pictures and/or videos with sound.
  2. Slideshow file – Press HERE to download

 

Slideshow materials include:

 

  • Video archive Khrushchev speech in the USA 1959. Source: “Let My People Go”, documentary 1971.
  • Video archive “KGB brain” Philipp Bobkov from 2004 about Jewish Emmigration. Interview clip source: Foundation for Documentary Projects
  • Letter written by Andropov ordering to deny exit visa for a Zionist family in 1971. Source: Boris Morozov, Evreiskaia emigratsiia v svete novykh dokumentov, (Tel Aviv: Ivrus, 1998), p. 100
  • Soviet Anti Samitc cartoons.

 

Video archive The Soviet Media’s Portrait of America. Source: Central Intelligence Agency. 

 

Download Lesson

Click here to download the full lesson plan.

Contributing Organization

Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

Procedure

Press HERE to download and show the slideshow that includes videos and pictures, and discuss each point. 

Below are the written points of the presentation, with extra details:

 

Slide

Details & discussion ideas

1

Lesson’s title

2

Introduction

 

3

Read the translation from Hebrew first, then watch the video of Khrushchev’s UN declaration about Jewish Emigration (All the people in our country, including the Jews, live in equality, freedom and friendship.)

 

https://youtu.be/s_2Zhi-XT_0?t=585  

Watch from 9:45-10:27 (42 seconds)

4

Show the 1 minute video of “KGB brain” Bobkov saying in 2004:  There were maybe 20 people who were denied exit visas, over 15 years.”

 https://youtu.be/cYlTkQvaSx0 

How can we tell the difference between truth and a lie? Sometimes the truth is not absolute, but sometimes it is. In the case of Soviet leaders claiming that people didn’t want to leave – it is an absolute lie which can be proven with facts.

5+6

After showing the students slides 6+7, ask the students:

  1. Why do you think that KGB officials lied about the facts? Even Bobkov in 2004, which is 13 years after the Soviet Union cloopast, and the non Emigration policy was common knowledge? 

7+8

Read the Andropov letter archive translation and discuss about the difference of how Soviets leader talked about the Jewish Emigration when they are interviewed to the West media, and how different they express when writing inside letters.

9-12

Show examples of anti Semitic cartoons from 1953-1972 and ask the students for their interpretation for each cartoon.

After discussing slide 12, ask: If you weren’t Jewish and you see those images in your school, TV, newspaper – would you believe it?

13

Watch parts of the video: The Soviet Media’s Portrait of America

1. In this lesson we were talking about Soviet “fake news”, but some Soviet citizens believed that the American TV can’t be trusted. 

Watch 3:44-6:46 

https://youtu.be/2GvDyJobHTM?t=223

 

2. Is killing state officials considered a political act or terrorism? Why did the Soviet media calls him “political prisoner”? 

Watch 7:07-7:55 

 https://youtu.be/2GvDyJobHTM?t=427

14

Discuss:  

 

  1. Where else did a government use media to encourage people with hate and fear? 
  2. Have you seen this kind of propaganda today?
  3. How can you recognize an attempt brainwash or “fake news” when it’s not about a subject that you are familiar with?

 

 

 

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