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Melanie Phillips: Israeli Public Diplomacy is a Joke

British writer says Israel's public diplomacy is 'completely outclassed and outmaneuvered on a battleground it doesn't even understand it is on.'
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/11/2011, 2:17 PM / Last Update: 1/11/2011, 3:18 PM

 

British writer Melanie Phillips, a staunch defender of Israel, has mounted a withering attack on Israel's public diplomacy ("hasbarah") effort, calling it "a joke." In an interview on Israel's Channel 1 government-run television, Phillips explained that Israel "has made itself defenseless over the years."



Video courtesy of Channel 1
 

Phillips contended that Israel could have convinced parts of the European academic and media world of the justness of its cause "if it had understood over the many years that this has been going on that it is fighting on the battleground of the mind." Instead, she said, Israel has ignored the hostility toward it in Europe and "has vacated the battleground to the other side."
 
"Israeli hasbarah is a joke. Israeli is completely outclassed and outmaneuvered on a battleground it doesn't even understand it is on. It doesn't even have the basics of proper hasbarah. It's simply nowhere," she expounded. The Arabs have been "colonizing the battleground of the mind for their lies and propaganda," she said, and are able to bamboozle the West, which has lost contact with the truth.  Other experts feel that anti-Semitism is behind anti-Zionism and no public relations efforts can change that. 
 
However, Phillips said,  Westerners are completely unaware of the most basic facts regarding the Middle Eastern conflict, but the problem starts in Israel: She said she was "absolutely astounded" to find so many of Israel's "luminaries in the universities" who themselves have been taught "a load of rubbish" about the conflict and pass it on to the next generations. Quite a lot of the animosity on the British media is fed by Israeli academics and organizations like the Haaretz newspaper, she added, saying that free speech allows Haaretz to write whatever it wishes, but the Israeli government has to respond with "he truth".

She called the two-state solution an idea that has been known to be unrealistic for decades and that the problem is that the Arabs want "no Israel".  Anyone, such as herself, who tells the truth is branded as "right-wing, although telling the truth is not right-wing".

Phillips' scathing criticism of Israel's academia, media and public relations did not receive a response to date from the relevant ministry or other government representatives.