Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon called Tuesday for the establishment of a network of NGOs and activists in acedemia, the media and elsewhere to combat the forces arrayed against Israel.
Ayalon opened the conference entitled "Israel's Upcoming Public Diplomacy Challenges" being held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. Attending the conference are senior public diplomacy figures, and representatives of organizations and activists interested in contributing to Israeli public diplomacy.
Deputy FM Ayalon noted that Israel is on the front line, facing enemies who are attempting to defeat it diplomatically. "We are confronting sophisticated enemies who are working in various ways to besmirch Israel's name using the Internet, NGOs, varied technologies and other means. Once we identify them, we have the ability to combat them. Therefore we must set up an opposing network of government ministries, NGOs, economic organizations, public diplomacy activists, etc., who will work together in the media, the networks and academia in order to tell the truth about Israel. Often when Israel is attacked, action by NGOs is much more effective than governmental efforts. When a non-Jew or non-Israeli speaks up on behalf of Israel as the target of attack, his words are often better received in the world."
Ayalon addressed the participants and said, "You are the elite of Israeli public diplomacy and its driving force. Our job is to prepare and provide you with all the information so that you can act on behalf of Israel worldwide."
The deputy foreign minister added that the continued delegitimization of Israel will be an obstacle to peace. If Israel is pushed into a corner, it will only become more entrenched in its positions. Instead of demonstrating commitment to building a state, the Palestinian Authority is working to destroy a nation. Combating this threat is at the forefront of our efforts.