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MK Danon in Knesset: A Facebook Page is as Influential as a Tank

Knesset discusses the influence of PA propaganda on Jews living in the Diaspora, calls for Foreign Ministry PR offensive against the Arab lies.
By Elad Benari & Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 5/17/2011, 5:36 PM / Last Update: 5/18/2011, 3:13 AM

The Knesset’s Committee on Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs discussed on Tuesday the influence of the Palestinian Authority’s propaganda on the safety and security of Jews living in the Diaspora.

“The most important thing to learn about Palestinian ideology is that there are two different messages,” said Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Director Itamar Marcus. “There’s an English language message that they want the English language world to hear and there’s the Arabic language message. When we talk about recognition of the State of Israel, when you look at the internal Arabic world, the Palestinian Authority Fatah under Mahmoud Abbas, does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

During the meeting, committee chairman MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that Jews in the United States and France are afraid to walk around university campuses because of Arab propaganda. Danon called on the Foreign and Public Relations Ministries to move from the defensive to the offensive and launch an Israeli satellite channel which would broadcast in Arabic and in English.

Daniel Zonshine, Director of the Information Department at the Foreign Ministry, said in response to Danon that the budget for public relations efforts throughout the world stands at 40 million shekels per year, of which only 12 million shekels are allocated for actual activities.

Danon called on Zonshine to request an increase in the budget and noted, “Today, this is the main battlefield. A lecture at a university abroad, a Facebook page, or an interview in Arabic are as influential as a tank and sometimes even more.”

Danon later told INN TV, “We saw today in the committee that the Palestinian incitement crosses all borders. They’re using aggressive lies in order to fight Israel. We have to fight back and we’ve called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start fighting.”

Danon added that “it is sometimes more important to invest in Israeli PR than to invest in the Israeli army. We have to be very clear with the messages, and we’ve decided that we will start to fight back and the issues of Nakba and all the other lies should be answered immediately.”