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Israel’s Public Relations Problem

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

by
Joseph Puder

Bio

March 31, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Last week’s Israeli naval action served as a reminder of the fallacy of demilitarization. An Iranian civilian vessel laden with advanced weaponry was intercepted as it made its way from Iran through Syria and Turkey to Egypt. Its ultimate aim: Hamas-led Gaza. For each ship intercepted by Israel (and Egypt, which has aided in interception but may, in the future, become a supplier of weapons to Gaza and the Palestinian Authority), there is an Iranian shipment that gets through. And, should a Palestinian state become a reality, there would be no way for Israel to legally intercept shipments of weapons from neighboring states and beyond, arriving either by sea or by air.

An armed Palestinian state would be an unequivocal strategic threat to the state of Israel. It would threaten major Israeli population centers, its international airport (Ben Gurion), and its power stations — all of which are within range of artillery fire, not to mention the sophisticated missiles the new state would rush to acquire.

And so, it is tragically uncanny that a technologically sophisticated Israel has neglected to mount a robust public relations campaign through a worldwide satellite TV channel station. Such neglect represents gross negligence on the part of the successive Israeli governments. Israel has the facilities: TV studios, qualified broadcasters, and technical personnel who know how to create and operate a satellite TV. And Israel enjoys the money to bankroll such an operation. What it lacks is the will to take action. Israel’s well-being depends on arming itself with a global communications weapon like Al-Jazeera.

An Israeli, pro-Zionist, Al-Jazeera-like channel would help Israel overcome the biased reporting of European and most American channels, and would reach households in Europe as well as the U.S. with a clear and undiluted message as to the dangers a Palestinian state would pose to Israel, Jordan, and the region.

Utilizing satellite technology would allow Israel’s 7 million people to match the Arab/Muslim world propaganda, even with its vast resources and 350 million people. As Israel is being savaged and delegitimized in the media, on campus, and in international institutions, Israel must fight back — not with government press releases, speeches, conferences, or meetings with world leaders, but by bringing its message to ordinary citizens worldwide.

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Joseph Puder, a freelance journalist, is the founder and executive director of the Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel (ITAI).
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