Daily Israel Report

Israeli Hasbara: We Should Speak Out, not be Apologetic

The Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee holds a special session on public relations in international media.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 1/18/2012, 12:15 AM

The Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee held a special session on Tuesday in which it discussed the challenges Israel faces in terms of public relations in the international media.

The committee’s guest was well-known U.S. radio personality Lars Larson, who shared his thoughts on the issue.

“It was important for us to have this meeting to discuss the Israeli public diplomacy, to hear from our guest – one of the leading broadcasters in the United States – and from other journalists and people who deal with this issue,” said Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein (Likud).

He added that holding the meeting enabled participants “to find out what’s being done right, what’s being done wrong, what our image is like and what we could do better.”

According to Edelstein, the goal in public relations should be to turn the citizens, as well as new media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter into a platform to present the truth about Israel.

“In classical media it will be by definition about the conflict,” he said. “With all the new possibilities that we have we can present Israel the way we know it and the way it is, and I think that if we do that it will be much easier for us to discuss the conflict and the possible solutions.”

The committee’s chairman, MK Danny Danon (Likud), said that Israel’s PR battle is “a daily fight” and added, “It was very important to hear from Lars Larson and other major people in the media what they think we should do better.”

“I think we should work with our allies,” he added. “We shouldn’t think that everybody’s against us. We should wake up and know that every day is a fight and that we should fight it in order to send the message out. It’s very important to win this war.”

Danon said that Israel has to do a better job in terms of its PR. “We shouldn’t be afraid to speak out, to say what we believe in. There are enough people who support us and they want to hear it from us. We shouldn’t be apologetic all the time. We should be strong and right, and that’s the message we’re sending from the Knesset.”