UPDATE: Raymond Deane and Ronit Lentin responded to my queries about this story concerning tweets purportedly published by the Israeli embassy which insulted the Irish political leadership. After I’d published, they noted that Oxygen.ie, where one report about this incident was published, is a student publication which sometimes publishes spoofs. On further examination, I discovered that Oxygen removed the article (here’s the cached version) about the embassy tweets.
The responses by both Oxygen and the Israeli foreign ministry have been bizarre. Instead of appending a statement to the article explaining what happened, it deleted the entire story. And instead of explaining what happened in a way that might create sympathy for the embassy, the foreign ministry refused to make any public statement at all:
— Joe Catron (@jncatron) November 3, 2014
They seem to hope that by not responding at all they’ll avoid doing further damage to the reputation of the ambassador and his Madam LaFarge-like wife, the deputy ambassador In short, I think all parties have handled this incident in the worst possible way from the point of view of transparency and even their own interests. Both responses have only furthered the mystery, rather than deconstructing it. This Reddit thread in which multiple commenters claim to have seen similar tweets on the embassy Twitter feed confused things even more. I should note that the over-the-top hasbara tactics of Tinari-Modai gives itself over to parody. In essence, the Israeli embassy is so over-the-top, that it has become a parody of Zionist propaganda. It’s no surprise that Irish ironists would feast on the opportunity. This passage from the Wikipedia article on Poe’s Law illustrates my point:
“Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook.”
I couldn’t think of a better description of Israel’s ambassador-ambassadoress to Ireland. Here is one of the spoof tweets making fun of their Zio-lunacy: The tweets refers to deputy prime minister Joan Burton, and in Irish idiom, it claims that she’s an idiot and an ugly one at that.
UPDATE II: Oxygen.ie and the Israeli foreign ministry have now made public statements about this incident. The latter’s point of view, carried in Ynet, ranged from histrionic to defensive. It defended the Tinari-Modais as a couple who fought the good fight against Israel’s enemies. Their truculence was seen as a positive rather than negative, as most Irish see it. The reporter touts the fact that the ambassador raised the embassy’s number of Facebook Friends from a few hundred to 8,000. What he neglects is that a considerable percentage are those who enjoy watching car wrecks as they happen and want to have a front row seat. Not to mention a country that touts the success of its diplomatic efforts by the number of Facebook Friends it has, is a country that has no diplomatic strategy.
The ministry had this final word on the matter:
…The success of the embassy to penetrate hostile public opinion in Ireland through social networking motivated Israel’s adversaries to pursue a smear campaign and forge tweets in an attempt to sour relations between the two countries. “This is an ugly and very dangerous act,” that is likely to put the Israeli embassy in a difficult position, Foreign Ministry officials said.
While the claim that the embassy is in danger is ludicrous, the spoof does put the embassy in an even more difficult position than it was already in, thanks to its own Zio-zealotry. This suggests the Oxygen satirist achieved his or her purpose.
I’ve written numerous times here of the the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth of the Israeli diplomatic corps, Boaz and Nurit Tinari-Modai, who’ve managed to anger and offend most of the Irish nation during their tenure. Their mission in Ireland seems not to convey the views of their country in the way normal diplomats do; but rather to stick a needle in the eye of the Irish populace en masse. It’s quite a performance. In all the odd and sordid history of diplomatic appointments, this one plumbs new depths of bathos. This tweet published during Operation Protective Edge about sums up the orientation of these Goebbels-like propagandists. Some will note that I frown on references to Nazism in the rhetorical war between Israel and its critics. But given the disgusting inclusion of an image of Adolph Hitler himself in this tweet, I thought a reference to der Fuhrer’s propaganda chief was only fair.
A little added history may be in order about our hasbara-soaked Macbeths. In 2007, when Boaz Modai was being promoted to a post as ambassador to the Vatican, a secretary who worked under him in the foreign ministry, made a police complaint that he made scores of harrassing phone calls to her home in the middle of the night. He didn’t speak during the calls, but stayed on the line till he hung up. In reply, Modai admitted making the calls, but claimed they were in retaliation for gossip the staff member spread about alleged affairs he’d conducted. Despite a police investigation, he received this promotion to ambassador to Ireland, where he seems to be continuing his string of unwanted harassing advances. But this time to the entire Irish population.
Lady Macbeth too has earned her notoriety: she once suggested (Hebrew) in a 2012 Israeli TV interview (English here), ‘blackening the reputations’ of Israeli pro-Palestine activists in Ireland; “attacking their soft underbelly” by publishing their names and pictures to cause embarrassment among their friends and family in Israel, and also to raise doubt among Irish activists that they might be Mossad agents. This sounds more like Mossad dirty tricks than legitimate diplomatic activity. It’s a wonder Ireland hasn’t rendered them persona non grata.
She also contended that these Israelis were not acting out of ideological or political motivations, but because of confusion about their sexual identities (don’t ask me to explain that one). Their actions arose from psychological motivations, like an inability to face the disappointment of their parents; or from a need to obtain an EU visa. I bet you didn’t know these geniuses were also psychologists in addition to their day jobs as diplomats.