In the annals of hasbara, some interesting developments. First, in an attempt to shoot itself not in one foot but both, deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon refused to allow a J Street Congressional delegation to meet with government officials. Why? Well, certainly because J Street is anathema to his rightist political agenda. But Ayalon demanded that the delegation exclude Jeremy Ben Ami, the J Street leader accompanying the mission, from such meetings.
Think about this. Aipac brings Congressional delegations to Israel regularly. Its staff routinely accompany members to all of their meetings on these trips. So Ayalon wishes to throw up a wall between the “bad” J Street and the “good” Aipac. It’s ludicrous. Beyond that, these four members of Congress actually vote on foreign aid appropriations which are critical to Israel’s well-being. Does Ayalon really think he can take their votes for granted? Does he care?
What I hope will happen is that the next J Street delegation will contain 25 members and then Ayalon will be forced to meet with them or at least allow them to meet with officials under his thumb.
I’m pleased that Tzipi Livni has bucked Ayalon and met with the delegation. As a leader of the opposition I would expect she’d welcome an opportunity to stick her finger in Ayalon’s eye. And he’s made it oh so easy for her to do so.
Some true dufus from Israel’s UK embassy thought the accompanying tweet was cute, alluding to Shahar Peer’s tennis victory in a Dubai tournament and Israel’s alleged “hit” against a Hamas operative. Rememeber too, that the Mossad hit men wore tennis gear to disguise their evil intent. Next time you see overweight middle aged men with beards or mustaches in your hotel, beware. This is what passes for wit at the MFA these days. Keep in mind this is the very same embassy whose ambassador has been summoned by the foreign office to explain how the Mossad managed to steal the identities of five British nationals and use them to murder the Hamas leader in Dubai. Now, that’s effrontery. Thanks to a commenter noting this true oddity of Israeli hasbara.
Here’s more from the Israeli foreign ministry. Apparently, they’ve been stung by the hostile reception meted out to Michael Oren at UC Irvine and Ayalon himself at Oxford on recent speaking engagements. So how are they going to respond? Listen to this from M.J. Rosenberg:
The Israeli daily, Ma’ariv, reported on Tuesday that the foreign ministry has devised a plan to counter the demonstrators who turn out whenever an Israeli diplomat appears on a campus.
“The Foreign Ministry intends to include groups of Israeli university students on trips of high-ranking Israelis overseas. The goal is to counter the heckling,” Ma’ariv reported.
“The students [in groups of five] will wave Israeli flags, will blow whistles and call out.”
Talk about a couple of hare-brained schemes. Once upon a time, Israeli policies were defended by people who thought they were right and spontaneously turned out. Now the government is enlisting ringers.
I’m sure that’s going to be welcomed by security personnel at campuses around the world. As if they didn’t have enough to worry about keeping the peace at these events. Now, they’ve got a foreign, non-student element with a built in goal of provoking hostility from students. Have you ever heard of such an idiotic plan in your life?
I’ve already written here about the new Israeli Hasbara Ministry (yes, that’s literally what it’s called in Hebrew) headed by settler leader, Yuli Edelstein. Of course, Bronner won’t tell you about Edelstein’s rightist background because that’s the kind of pro-Israel reporter he is. The Hasbarists plan to enlist Israelis who travel abroad and all of world Jewry, according to Ethan Bronner, in a campaign to rebut the negative image Israel has around the world. What will they tell those who have yet to appreciate Israel’s virtues?
One main message of the campaign is that Israel is a technically advanced and diverse society and that its government policies are not the source of regional conflict. It notes that a number of important agricultural breakthroughs have occurred here, including drip irrigation and the development of the cherry tomato.
Yes, that’s the way to dispel notions that Israel is a blood-thirsty nation that represses millions of Palestinians and engages in all out war with its neighbors: remind the world about drip irrigation and those delicious cherry tomatoes they eat every day. Not to mention Israel’s other major export–high-tech lame-brained political assassinations. If that doesn’t turn things around for Israel, nothing will.
What other elements of the campaign will bring the world around to Israel’s point of view?
…It also seeks to puncture what the ministry considers common myths about Israel — that it is a big and primitive country, that its food consists of little more than hummus and falafel, and that Israelis as a group do not seek peace.
Yes, tell ‘em that Israelis also eat schwarma and schnitzel and all those other wonderful foods gracing their own western kitchen tables. That’ll do the trick. And peace? Of course Israelis want peace. If only those pesky Palestinians would realize they don’t need all that land in Judea and Samaria which God promised to the Jews anyway. Then we could have peace.
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