It is disgraceful how incompetent the Israeli government is when it comes to public diplomacy. It’s not only shockingly bad, it’s actually dangerously damaging to us.
They are so bad that, if I were Donald Trump, I would tell all of them, “You’re fired!”
What a bunch of losers! They can’t even hold back a bunch of degenerates in the BDS movement.
Actually, they don’t deal with this problem at all. They complain about it. They scratch their heads and throw money around various ministries to make it look as if they’re doing something, but they do nothing effective at all, just wasting valuable funds that should go to those who are fighting against our demonization.
They concentrate on international diplomacy, government to government, government to international institutions, and what a mess they are making of that when it comes to protecting Israel from delegitimization, anti-Israel resolutions, labeling and host of other slanders.
They really don’t know how to deal with this problem, even when we are getting hit by so-called friendly countries. They’re clueless.
When it comes to Israeli advocacy they’re incompetent in the Knesset, they’re incompetent in the government ministries and they’re incompetent in the global embassies.
Ever tried getting embassy help to hold a pro-Israel rally in overseas capitals or major cities? Forget it! Just ask grassroots support groups who have held pro-Israel rallies despite the embassies, without their help. Maximum you may get an ambassador or some incompetent to come and make a speech to show how important he is. It probably goes on his record at the Foreign Ministry as an achievement in his diplomatic career.
Ever tried getting embassy help in organizing a speaking tour on behalf of Israel in some overseas country and I’m talking about logistical assistance, not funding. Forget it! Maximum you may get some embassy official sitting anonymously in the audience who will come up and congratulate you on an impressive presentation after your talk. This has happened to me on more than one occasion after I had made my own arrangements to travel abroad at my own expense to speak up for Israel, and because I felt it was important to inform and motivate our overseas supporters with whom I am connected.
You can’t begin to guess how many people at such events thank me for making the effort while complaining that they get no information of help from the staff at our embassies I know this is true because I have given up on them when it came to helping me establish specific support groups in certain countries. I don’t know what they are doing there, but they are useless when it comes to establishing grassroots support for Israel.
They are only now beginning to wake up to the fact that the tsunami that is hitting our shores is a bottom-up phenomenon. We have been pleading with the government, trying to make them aware that what we are feeling is the effect of a person-to-person, group-to-group campaign where the anti-Israel message has been coordinated and echoed by hundreds, if not thousands of groups. The government, for years, turned their backs on us, closed their ears to what we were telling them, sent us away, even telling us they were the professionals and knew how to handle things. They were wrong, damagingly wrong.
Now they are throwing a hundred million shekels at an inter-ministerial think tank. The money should go to the exemplary non-government groups that have taken the private initiatives and are making an impact in various fields. This money should go to StandWithUs, Honest Reporting, CAMERA, NGO-Monitor, Palestine Media Watch, Regavim, even Christian Friends of Israel and UK Lawyers for Israel who are in the battlefield daily against Israel’s detractors. The money should also go to the NGOs like Over The Rainbow who are promoting Israel’s advocacy interests in a unique manner in problematical countries, mainly in Europe.
It takes a network to defeat a network. We need an independent advocacy platform to coordinate the work of these NGOs who took up Israel’s cause because the Israeli government failed the country so badly. But this won’t happen because the Israeli government will make sure it won’t happen. They have a vested interest to retain control of a people-to-people advocacy agenda that they aren’t even dealing with themselves. Their attitude is better to stifle this initiative than to see it grow and be successful.
This then is the double battle that many of us have to wage. We will continue to take on our propaganda enemies where ever we find them and recruit and help our overseas supporters where ever they may be. But we must continue to move to create a non-government body to help the privately-created NGOs who are fighting Israel’s battles even as our government officials fail to support us on these battlefields.
Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy,
Israel Institution for Strategic Studies.
Author of the new book ‘BDS for IDIOTS.’