Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The time for coordinated and professional Israeli public diplomacy action is now.

They say that public diplomacy is too important to be left to politicans.
In Israel's case we have seen politicians, with poor English skills but with big egos, damage Israel's cause by placing themselves in front of Western TV cameras, or in front of hostile audiences.

Sending these people to fight Israel's case is like sending soldiers on to the deck of the Mavi Maramara flotilla ship armed with paintball guns.
It's a disaster waiting to happen.

The time has come for the formation of a major non-governmental public diplomacy institute in Israel.

It should be apolitical. It should have government backing but with no political interference.
It will be a lobbying force not only to the Israeli Government but to governments worldwide.
It should consult and coordinate with the Israeli Government and other authorities, including the military.

This public diplomacy institute (PDI) should be well funded to become a powerful and united voice for Israel.

It should act as an umbrella organisation for successful pro-Israeli NGOs to individually and collectively promote the best interests of Israel.

It should present Israel's case to the world, challenge media lies and foreign NGO bias. It should face delegitimizers with facts, counter lawfare against Israel by using or changing legal processes to take on delegitimisers, liars, and terror supporters abroad.

It is highly noticeable that leading proponents of public diplomacy based in Israel are native English speakers.
People like Gerald Steinberg (NGO Monitor), Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch), Chuck Freilich (AXIUS), Simon Plosker (Honest Reporting), Michael Dickson (Stand with Us in Israel), Stuart Palmer (ICANN), Norman Cohen (BIG), and Dore Gold (JCPA).

In their particular fields they head organisations that are doing remarkable service for Israel.
Other organisations include Shurat HaDin (Nitzana Darshan-Leitner) and MALAM-Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center (Col.Reuven Erlich)have excellent success stories and are active in defending Israel.

Individually, they are professional organisations fighting for Israel in their own corner.
Collectively, they can be an impressive and powerful voice for Israel.

Internationally, there is a rising tide against Israel that goes beyond criticism. This force is not being officially, or effectively, challenged by Israel.
The case for Israel's legitimacy is as much a battleground as any military and anti-terror campaign.
Unfortunately, the enemy control the battlefield. They are digging in and strengthening their positions. Our side is involved in the occasional skirmish. We have no coordinated attack plan.

In my days in real estate, when I wanted to present new projects to overseas buyers, I joined exhibition organisers who put together agents, builders, banks, lawyers, hired the halls, organised the manpower, the advertising, the transportation of people and materials.
This attracted more publicity, a larger audience of potential buyers, and more success than had I simply gone and done my own thing.

When the government declares war it does not take to the battlefield itself. It leaves it to the trained and experienced IDF. The IDF is made up not only of army, navy, and air force but also special units to be deployed according to the countries vital needs in a time of war.

We are in a time of war right now, the war for public opinion and legitimacy. The same general principles should be applied to public diplomacy.

It is time for major NGOs with proven track records to come together and create a significant body that can better project Israel to the world.

It should become a central public diplomacy strategic center. It should be an international think tank for Israeli public diplomacy. It should be a first response, rapid reaction unit in cases of emergency that always arise in our region.

It should be supported with substantial funding by organisations, foundations, and individuals who claim to support Israel in its struggle to get its message across.

The time for coordinated and professional Israeli public diplomacy action is now.

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