Wednesday, August 31, 2005

  • Wednesday, August 31, 2005
  • Elder of Ziyon
Israel has historically done a awful job of explaining its position to the world. It is way past time to start rectifying this.

If only someone would listen....
The old diplomacy is dead

You may remember me. I was the Israeli ambassador to Sweden who was confronted with a so-called art installation in Stockholm in January 2004 that glorified suicide bombing. It was a representation of the suicide bomber who murdered 22 innocent people and maimed dozens more gliding serenely on a pool of blood on a little craft labeled "Snow White."

The "art" showed me there are no limits to the lies told against Israel or the hatred of the Jewish people. I also felt we had given up trying to reverse the terrible decline of our image, especially among European public opinion.

And so I decided to damage the display, and shut down the lights illuminating it. Not a very diplomatic step, perhaps, but one that brought the issue into the open and led to a healthy discussion in Sweden and elsewhere. Israel needs a hasbara offensive. While I was an ambassador, I was stunned to discover that many people in Europe - journalists included - are convinced that in 1948 Israel occupied a sovereign Palestinian state in a classic case of colonialism. The generation that witnessed the rebirth of Israel is gradually disappearing and younger people don't know the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So when Arab propaganda speaks about "occupation," it sounds easy to understand why Israel is being asked to terminate this anachronistic situation.

It was not always like that. Until the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel had an information policy that, while not optimal, didn't abandon the field completely to the other side.

But immediately after Oslo, the information department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was shut down; since Israel was presumably on the road to peace, it was not necessary to continue to explain our policies. Unfortunately, the other side had a different idea, and redoubled its propaganda.

It was during the implementation of Oslo that the Arab narrative of the conflict succeeded in flooding campuses, rallying the extreme Left and even capturing the more moderate Left, while Israel was conspicuously absent from the arena. The results were played out in the 2001 Durban conference, when the world ignored Israel's plight and condemned it without considering the facts.

Traditional diplomacy doesn't work anymore. Secret conversations between heads of states and foreign ministers, and the demarches carried out daily by ambassadors and other diplomats are no match for the media's ceaseless torrent of images and information.

One cannot win a war in the media alone, but one can weaken an opponent's messages; one can help change perspectives.

On a governmental level, such efforts are called public diplomacy; the academic world thinks of it as a form of "soft power."

ISRAEL MUST launch a large-scale, proactive campaign of public diplomacy to turn back the tide of anti-Semitic ignorance that is closing in on us. We have to move from our current policy - if you can even call it a policy - of delayed reactions, excuses and apologies to a potent strategy that will challenge the Arabs - taking the battle into their own media and propaganda castles and putting them on the defensive.

We have to face a cluster of factors - from blatant Muslim anti-Semitism, lies and distortion to the new anti-Semitism of European acquiescence, and the negative attitude of the Left with its calls for boycotts and divestment.

We need to tell the truth, publicly and repeatedly: the Arabs themselves are to blame for their underdevelopment, and as long as they ignore basic civil rights their peoples will remain poor and illiterate, a prey to unemployment and illness.

This situation, it needs to be emphasized over and over, has nothing to do with Israel or the conflict in the Middle East.

At the same time, we should ask them to condemn terror and stop calling it resistance. We should demand their apology for calling us pigs and monkeys, for stepping on our flag, for all the lies they write about Israel and the Jews. We should analyze their declarations and writings and lay bare their false contentions. We should remind them of their part in promoting slavery in East Africa.

We should urge governments, clerics and intellectuals in Arab countries to search their souls, and not hide behind lip-service condemnations, as some of them did after the bombing in London.

In Europe and America we should ask the media to forgo the tendency to close their eyes to terror - for instance, not one Western paper condemned the abduction and murder of the Egyptian ambassador in Iraq - and to condemn terrorism unequivocally. The time has come to understand that appeasement will not work, and that membership in the Third World doesn't confer a free pass to murder.

Europe should be reminded of its long history of persecution and suffering inflicted on the Jews - well before the Holocaust. Europeans too have some soul searching to do.

The time has come to switch to a proactive campaign. Israel finds itself dangerously isolated, and that isolation could get worse, since I don't believe many of us think the conflict is going to be resolved any time soon.

Moreover, European silence in the face of Arab pretensions only gives the Arabs more courage and fewer incentives to compromise. Arab hatred for Israel is on the rise in spite of the disengagement and the so-called improvement of relations with Egypt.

Two things need to be done. First, Israeli politicians must realize that there is no time to lose; the government must tackle this issue as part of its strategy to end the cruel terrorist war being waged against us.

Second, we need to set up an Arab television station broadcasting news, commentaries and programs that will deliver our case to Arab homes throughout the region.

The writer was a career diplomat for 38 years, and ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden. He retired last year.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive