Original Thinking: Israeli diplomatic incompetence
by Barry Shaw
How is it possible for Israel to effectively present its positions to the world when its government PR organs are in such a state of disarray? Not only are they in shameful condition, they have become incapable of addressing the most basic elements of our legitimacy and policy.
We hear the most outlandish criticisms and resolutions used against us that go unanswered by the government.
In an area of dispute when you don’t express your legitimacy, don’t adequately rebut the accusations of illegitimacy, you begin to appear illegitimate.
Delegitimacy is a growing, existential threat for Israel. It is a clear and present danger that is increasingly rearing its ugly head in official forums...
And yet, the government refuses to seriously address the issue, or to devote the necessary budget and planning to public diplomacy, or even to provide factual and ongoing information to those who campaign for Israel’s good name...
Here I am prepared to make an impolite but provable claim. Israeli public diplomacy should not be left in the hands of native-born Israeli bureaucrats and politicians.
With one or two notable exceptions, those that have dabbled in the subject have proven to be unmitigated disasters.
Look instead at the private NGOs that are battling the anti-Israel delegitimization and demonization campaigns.
All of the prominent action groups, in their respective fields, were created, developed and achieved external funding by Israelis emanating from English-speaking backgrounds.
A few of the most outstanding examples include NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg, Palestinian Media Watch’s Itamar Marcus, Joe Hyam’s HonestReporting.
We can add to this list the amazing work being done by Israel21c, StandWithUs and Birthright Israel, all funded by American pro-Israel patrons.
These NGOs have succeeded with little to no governmental help or funding.
Instead, they raised budgets from private sources abroad that have enabled them to continue the fine work they are doing for Israel.
The time has come for the government to be outflanked by well-funded, independent, pro-Israel public diplomacy NGOs. Wealthy pro-Israel individuals and foundations must get involved with such NGOs so that Israel’s voice is properly and widely represented.