by Abbas Al Lawati
On August 19, the Israeli consulate in New York tweeted: #BBC “Panorama” presents arguably the most complete & thorough account of the #Flotilla.
The documentary has not received much endorsement elsewhere. Instead there have been loud protests of bias, especially among those aboard the Mavi Marmara, the largest vessel in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that Israeli commandos raided on May 31, killing nine activists.
Recently aired, the Panorama documentary, entitled Death in the Med, was produced by the BBC’s veteran documentary maker Jane Corbin. It claims to investigate the “real agenda” of “those who call themselves peace activists”.
A close analysis of the documentary reveals a troubling lack of objectivity in trying to paint the activists, headed by the Turkish relief organisation IHH, as radical Islamists bent on waging violent jihad.
The following is a complete translation of this Israeli Globes article. Translator’s comments are noted with a star and written below.
We’ll Take Over the World? Ministry of Foreign Affairs Allocates 100 Million Shekel for State Branding
Ministry of Foreign Affairs is enlarging the part of its PR budget designated to the branding of the state of Israel in the world, and is allocating an unprecedented amount of 100 million Shekel (over $26,260,000 to date) to the activity- Globes discovered.
Until today, the Foreign Affairs’ Hasbara and PR budget was estimated at 40 million Shekel (over $10,500,000 to date). 30 million Shekel of that sum (over $7,878,000 to date) were used for routine expenses, meaning that in practice only 10 million Shekel (over $2,626,000) were designated for PR and Hasbara.
UPDATE: See RT’s coverage here.
A huge trove of newly declassified documents subpoenaed during a 1962-1964 Senate investigation reveals how Israel’s lobby pitched, promoted, and paid to have content placed in America’s top news magazines with overseas funding. The Atlantic (and many others) received hefty rewards for trumpeting Israel’s most vital – but damaging – PR initiatives across America.
The relevant documents are now online.
Media strategies on display include:
Cover-ups: “The [Dimona] nuclear reactor story inspired comment from many sources; editorial writers, columnists, science writers and cartoonists. Most of the press seemed finally to accept the thesis that the reactor was being built for peaceful purposes and not for bombs.”
Payola: “The Atlantic Monthly in its October issue carried the outstanding Martha Gellhorn piece on the Arab refugees, which made quite an impact around the country. We arranged for the distribution of 10,000 reprints to public opinion molders in all categories… Interested friends are making arrangements with the Atlantic for another reprint of the Gellhorn article to be sent to all 53,000 persons whose names appear in Who’s Who in America…Our Committee is now planning articles for the women’s magazines for the trade and business publications.”
Pressure: “It can be said that the press of the nation…has by and large shown sympathy and understanding of Israel’s position. There are, of course, exceptions, notably the Scripps-Howard chain where we still need to achieve a ‘break-through,’ the Pulliam chain (where some progress has been made) and some locally-owned papers.”
Ghost Writing: “We cannot pinpoint all that has already been accomplished by this Committee except to say that it has been responsible for the writing and placement of articles on Israel in some of America’s leading magazines….”
A defunct Dow Jones report noted “The Senate investigation closed down the conduit, but the extensive propaganda activities still go on…”
Yesterday, Israel’s ‘Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister’ Yuli Edelstein spoke at some length about his country’s ‘PR problem’, including possible plans to create a 24-hr news channel. But further down the article, Edelstein talked about the ways in which Israel’s propaganda effort is being increasingly delegated to volunteers:
“We’ve been working on creating an infrastructure of our friends and allies around the world, in the Jewish and Christian communities, which is not fully ready yet. It’s based on volunteers and professionals [who will coordinate the transmission of accurate information],” the minister said.
Edelstein conceded that the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Ministry suffered from restrictive budget problems. Nevertheless, he was seeking to implement ambitious initiatives based on volunteers.
“This is the 21st century, and that means things that are not officially called hasbara are the best hasbara. The moment things come from the government, the state, or ministries, they are perceived as being less reliable and as propaganda,” Edelstein said.
”There are many things only volunteers can do. Writing on Facebook, Twitter blogs, and sending e-mails to friends is second to none. The best things people can do are not about money, but about doing things in the right way.”
Edelstein cited an operations center housed in his ministry and staffed by volunteers, as well as a ministry secretary, both aimed at maintaining continuous contact with Diaspora communities.
A good segment on Israel’s sophisticated propaganda apparatus. Let no one forget that Egypt and Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in this war as they did during the 2006 assault on Lebanon.
Continue reading “Gaza’s War of Words”
He has been quoted as saying “Sleep is the best meditation.” May I suggest his holiness wake up to the fact that the two wars started by his friend George W. Bush are the clearest violations of his own espoused principles of peace and non-violence. Really, does no one else find it absurd that the Dalai Lama has on multiple occasions since 2001 stood unopposed to the brutal, barbaric and illegal wars first in Afghanistan and later Iraq? This sought-after personality loved by celebrities, the CIA, political leaders and civilians alike restated today in Calgary that “It’s hard to tell which category the current military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq will eventually fall into.”
An article in yesterday’s Financial Times reported some interesting (if characteristically deluded) perspectives from the Israeli right in its closing paragraphs. International condemnation of Israel’s latest atrocities has apparently been blamed on the ‘Palestinian PR Machine’. At first I thought this ‘machine’ was as subtle and obscure as other figments of the neocon/Likudnik imagination. However, readers should be aware that according to a security source of mine it is indeed as powerful and frightful as these bizarre statements suggest and furthermore it can be launched within 45 minutes. Its existence is also confirmed by Emanuele Ottolenghi of St Antony’s College, Oxford (oh yes and the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute).
So it’s no laughing matter. In fact it’s so powerful that it requires an even greater propaganda assault than Israel has already launched (in retaliation naturally). According to the Financial Times:
To counter these forces and repair Israel’s standing, one rightwing commentator this week went so far as to call for an Israeli ministry for PR. Adi Mintz said the ministry should be fitted out with “many dozens of video teams, editors and producers that would generate materials and immediately distribute them to all media outlets”. Israel’s message, he added, should be heard not just in America, but also “on television screens in Romania and China”.
The National Information Directorate is a new Israeli spin body set up less than a year ago following the recommendations of the Winograd inquiry into Israel’s failures in Lebanon. According to Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office website the directorate is coordinating a new campaign of lobbying and spin across Europe, directed at politicians and the media, focussing on Israeli “security” issues.
The National Information Directorate and the Cabinet Secretariat, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry, have decided to dispatch Government ministers on information missions abroad, starting in the coming days. In the framework of the information efforts, it was decided to send ministers on diplomatic and media activity in various European countries. Each minister will go on a short mission to one or two countries, including Belgium, Austria and Ireland. The possibility of sending abroad residents of the south in order to give firsthand accounts of the security reality in which they have lived for years. Israeli embassies will formulate agendas for the ministerial visits, including meetings with political officials and media interviews.