It looks like there’s a definite split in the pro-Israel community about the Size Doesn’t Matter soft-core video promoting Israeli student tourism. I wondered why Vimeo, which originally hosted it took it down for “explicit sexual content.” I blamed the company’s editors for being prudish. Little did I know it was radical Orthodox settlers who objected to it. A reader points me to this report in Arutz Sheva bragging erroneously that it got the video pulled:
The Foreign Ministry has taken down a video promotion for Israel that used sexual innuendo after Arutz-7 exposed the campaign on Tuesday. The film was sponsored by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA).The video shows a young couple in bed and uses sexual terms in comparison with Israel. The exposé noted that the video was vulgar and could also be used by anti-Semites in their campaign to discredit Jews and Israel.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levi told Israel National News that the government workers involved in the promo are located in Toronto. “The idea did not come from Jerusalem,” he said.
This story completely contradicts this claim from another MFA spokesperson and the student who claims ownership of the tourism promotion that the MFA had nothing to do with it:
Maya Kadosh, spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem…said that a conversation with the Israeli consulate in Toronto “indicated that the Consulate had no part in the movie, did not initiate it and did not participate in its planning or its distribution.”
Make up your minds guys. Did you or didn’t you? Is it possible that two different Israeli consular officials could’ve given diametrically opposite statements to the same question? It makes you wonder whether the confusion is based on a lie or simple incompetence. Either way, it isn’t terribly impressive.
Just as important, Arutz 7’s report is simply wrong. The website is up. The video is up. The only way I can justify their claim is that perhaps the MFA was making this available on its own website and it no longer is. But I’d guess it’s simply another lie or bit of incompetence from MFA officials in Israel who haven’t even bothered to check whether what they claim is true. What a way to run a country, eh?
I want to make crystal clear to anyone reading this that my criticism is not of all Israelis nor of the country, Israel. It is of the twisted policies and world view of the current Israeli government (and any government that would pursued similar policies perpetuating Occupation). That is why I am so disdainful of the kind of hasbara represented here. It papers over problems and attempts to hide reality rather than expose it.
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Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.