Thursday, September 3, 2015

Europe 'rejects' extradition of PKK suspects

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Hundreds of suspected Kurdish militants remain in EU countries, says security source

Mehmet Yegin, an expert on security and U.S. policy at the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara, said nations often seek to take advantage of elements within other countries.
“The important thing is, what are you doing to prevent [other countries] from utilizing terrorist elements,” he said.
“Turkey took steps of this kind in the past, particularly in Europe. There were joint operations between security forces. As a result, European countries were forced to be more sincere and take genuine action against the PKK. In the end, there were operations against the PKK in various European countries.”
However, he warned that a reduction in influence in the West would see Turkey’s enemies gain in stature.
“Now the West sees the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, as struggling against Daesh,” he said. “The press too propagandizes this substantially. We are not at a point at which you can introduce the [PYD] as a terrorist organization.”
Yegin called for Turkey to utilize all available channels to make its case. “It was a good step from the prime minister to tell the foreign press that ‘Turkey is against all terrorist organizations’.”
Strengthening its public diplomacy and expressing its position clearly would also make foreign governments more favorable to Turkey’s demands, Yegin added.

Brest plans to build hospice

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BREST, 3 September (BelTA) – A hospice for adults will be build in the Belarusian city of Brest, Chairman of the Brest City Hall Alexander Rogachuk said on 3 September as he met with a delegation of the German cities of Ravensburg and Weingarten that have a twinning agreement with Brest, BelTA has learned.

The construction site for the hospice that will provide care for patients with a life-threatening illness has already been chosen. Alexander Rogachuk explained that specialists are presently studying hospice construction practices, including from Ravensburg and Weingarten.

He emphasized the importance of friendship ties established between women from Brest and its German twin cities. “This is an example of public diplomacy. We cooperate in different areas, but the friendship between our women makes this cooperation special. They significantly contribute to the development of our relations,” Alexander Rogachuk noted.

The twinning agreement between Brest and the German cities was signed in the Belarusian city 25 years ago. After some time, women joined the efforts to bolster the bilateral cooperation. “We are interested in things that women care about, like how families live, how adults communicate with their children and grandchildren, and what the cultural environment is made up of. Our projects depend on our jobs. For example, in 1994 we invited the director of the medical rehabilitation center for children with psycho-neurological diseases Tonus to visit Germany with us. She made contacts with German colleagues. Since then, some 70 Belarusian specialists have undergone internship training in Germany,” explained Svetlana Gil, the curator of the project and a member of the board of the Brest division of the Belarusian Women's Union. 

Sabine Hermann who led the delegation of women from the Union of Communities of the German Mittleres Schussental also believes that everything starts with friendship. “We support each other, develop projects. I do not see a difference between Belarusian and German women. We care about the same things,” Sabine Hermann noted.

Women of Brest and the German Ravensburg and Weingarten have been jointly implementing charity projects in education, healthcare, and culture for 20 years already. Over 300 women have taken part in exchanges of delegations over this period.

Israel’s public diplomacy guru

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Excerpt [entire article by subscription]:
Ran Bar-Yoshafat’s dream is to create the Jewish superhero. The 31-year-old is locally known as Ran the Explainer, an Israeli-PR guru, who on a six-month tour of the US battled anti-Israel sentiment in churches and schools for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs.
He’s a past champion of mixed martial arts, served in an elite combat unit and is now vice president of a Jerusalem-based investigative institute, Kohelet Policy Forum. He is also a project manager for the Israeli Jewish Congress, an organization that works to strengthen the Jewish character of Israel and create connections between the Diaspora and Israel. If that weren’t enough, he’s a lawyer with an MA in business management and a second MA in history.

New Canadian-born MK vows to fight for Israel unapologetically

Sharren Haskel


Likud MK Sharren Haskel may have been born in Toronto but when it comes to fights in the Knesset and the international battle for Israel’s image, unlike the stereotype Canadian, she will be unwilling to say “I’m sorry.”
Haskel, who made aliya with her family when she was a baby, will be sworn in to the Knesset on Wednesday afternoon in place of Danny Danon, who was appointed ambassador to the United Nations. She already officially became an MK on Thursday, when Danon’s appointment was approved, but Haskel had to wait to be sworn in until the Knesset convened in a special session during its extended summer recess.
When The Jerusalem Post asked how her Canadian politeness would affect her ability to succeed in a rough place of work like the Knesset, Haskel stressed that she only lived a year in Canada, though she did live for a few years in Australia, where she earned her veterinary degree.
“I think it was my three years serving in the Border Police that made me fit Israeli society,” she said, referring to the force’s reputation for its member’s bad tempers. “Nevertheless, maybe being cool-headed, even metaphorically, will enable me to cool off the most fiery disputes in the Knesset.”
Haskel said she intends to use her native English to help Israel’s public diplomacy.
She will be the second native English speaker in the current Knesset, joining former ambassador to the United States MK Michael Oren (Kulanu).
“As someone who was born abroad and lived overseas for a number of years, I am aware of the huge impact of world opinion on our lives here,” she said. “I intend to take advantage of the platform the Knesset provides to make my young, unapologetic voice heard. I will display my pride in being Israeli and my values to help the ongoing fight for Israel’s image abroad.”
Haskel said that as an MK she would fight for women’s rights and a competitive economy and against monopolies and the environmental damage caused by the Palestinian Authority.
One of her first bills would expand laws outlawing prostitution to include those receiving the service among those committing a criminal offense, she said.
“The time has come to deal courageously with this phenomenon and come out against those who continue to enable prostitution to persist with their money and their bodies,” she said. ... 

The Two-State Solution Is in Stalemate. Here's What Israel Can Do to Prevail.

Image from article, with caption: Israeli flags in Jerusalem on April 21, 2015.

For two decades the Jewish state has sought, fruitlessly, to negotiate an end to the conflict. Needed is a new, viable strategy for coping with reality and winning out.

II. Public Diplomacy

The fact that Israel needs international help even to shift the focus of negotiations with the Palestinians underscores why diplomacy, especially public diplomacy, is a vital part of a new strategy. It is also essential for preventing damage to Israel’s economic ties with the West and ensuring a degree of Western support for military action against Palestinian terror.
Few would dispute that Israel is currently failing in this arena. For starters, according to a recent Foreign Ministry report, Israel spends less than half as much as the Palestinian Authority does on its foreign service, despite having a GDP per capita more than 20 times that of the PA. Moreover, Israel maintains an embassy in fewer than half of the countries with which it has diplomatic relations. Even most European nations spend a considerably greater percentage of their budget on foreign relations than does Israel, and those nations aren’t engaged in a global diplomatic battle crucial to their future.
As for the public-diplomacy (or hasbarah) front, Israel makes very little effort to get its story out. Its public broadcasting authority has slashed English-language programming; Arabic-language programming remains limited; and in 2008, the authority was even poised to shut down broadcasts in Farsi, the language of Iran, before they were rescued by a last-minute government intervention. As I’ve noted elsewhere, the government hasn’t even coughed up a measly $12 million a year to bring 3,000 non-Jewish campus influentials to Israel, despite the proved effectiveness of letting people see the country for themselves.
The main story Israel has told about itself is that it wants peace, suggesting that, in the absence of such peace, Israel is a failure on its own terms.
Obviously, therefore, Israel needs to invest more. But no amount of money will help if it doesn’t have a compelling narrative to sell. And as the dramatic decline in Israel’s international standing clearly shows, the story the country has marketed for the last two decades is anything but compelling.
The main story Israel tells about itself is that it wants peace. This story did generate global enthusiasm at the time of the Oslo accords; peace, after all, is an attractive value. But two decades later, Israel still hasn’t achieved peace. In other words, Israel has failed to deliver on the promise at the heart of its own narrative about itself—which suggests that, judged on its own terms, Israel is a failure. And there is nothing compelling about a failure; on the contrary, it is off-putting.
There are, however, numerous other stories Israel could tell that are no less attractive and inspiring, and on which it really has delivered: the Jewish people’s rebirth from the ashes of the Holocaust, the return to Zion after 2,000 years and the dramatic ingathering of exiles, the only Mideast country that protects human rights and maintains a genuine democracy, the start-up nation, the West’s front line against Islamic extremism, and so forth and so on. Each of these stories is potentially attractive to one or more diverse audiences.
Indeed, very few of Israel’s friends support it primarily because it seeks peace; they admire it for its successes, not its failures. Americans, for instance, see it as the Middle East’s only democracy and an ally against Islamic terror. Evangelical Christians support it because the Jews’ return to Zion is biblical prophecy come true. Many Chinese and Indians admire its high-tech prowess. All of these qualities have far more to do with Israel’s raison d’ĂȘtre than its failure to achieve peace does. Peace is obviously desirable, but Israel doesn’t exist to achieve peace; it exists to create a thriving Jewish state in the Jewish people’s historic homeland. By encouraging the world to judge it on its peacemaking credentials rather than on the myriad positive goods it provides, Israel has invited the perverse and false conclusion that the Jewish state has been a failure rather than a resounding success.
But selling yourself is only half the public-diplomacy battle; the other half is discrediting your opponent. You’ll never hear Palestinian officials talk about Israel’s peacemaking bona fides, let alone about Israeli rights; Palestinians talk only about their own rights, while consistently accusing Israel of every crime known to mankind. Once again, however, Israel frequently does the opposite. Israeli leaders speak constantly of the need to “end the occupation” and the Palestinians’ “right” to a state; they also routinely laud PA President Mahmoud Abbas as a “partner for peace.”
This habit has badly undermined the credibility of Israel’s own case and has inevitably led much if not most of the world to place blame for the lack of peace on Israel’s doorstep. After all, if both sides agree that the PA wants peace, the Palestinians must be right to point the finger of blame at Israeli malfeasance. And even when Israel does try to call out the PA’s misbehavior and repeated bad faith, its inconsistent messaging makes it hard for people to take it seriously. Why, for instance, would anyone believe the (accurate) contention that Abbas has fled every proposed deal when Israel itself has repeatedly proclaimed him sincere in his desire for peace?
Similarly, and more damagingly, most of the world now regards Israel as occupying stolen Palestinian land. And why not? For two decades, Israel has downplayed its own legal claim to the West Bank and Gaza in order to promote Palestinian statehood there. This is a critical issue, because if Israel is a thief, it has no right to retain any of its stolen land or impose conditions on the return of that land to its rightful owners. By contrast, were it to be seen, rightly, as generously offering the Palestinians some of its own territory for the sake of peace, it would be in a better position to defend its right to retain certain areas for the sake of its security or impose conditions on their transfer.
As it happens, Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza is strong. The League of Nations assigned these territories to the Jewish national home in 1922, and the UN Charter preserved that decision in Article 80. The UN’s 1947 partition plan was a nonbinding recommendation that the Arabs rejected. The UN-brokered agreement that determined the 1949 armistice line, also known (wrongly) as the “pre-1967 border,” explicitly states that this was not a final border and did not prejudice any party’s territorial claims. Israel captured both the West Bank and Gaza in a defensive war in 1967, at a time when neither was under the rule of any recognized sovereign. UN Security Council Resolution 242, which ended the 1967 war, was explicitly worded to allow Israel to retain at least part of these territories.
And this is far from being an exhaustive list. If, outside of Israel, few people know any of it, that is because Israel rarely talks about it. And even when it does, its contradictory message about “ending the occupation” and Palestinians’ “right” to statehood undermines its credibility. After all, people have a “right” to statehood only on their own land; if Palestinians have that right, Israel must have stolen their land. Nor can any country “occupy” its own land; if Israel’s presence in the West Bank is an occupation, the land must belong to someone else.
Add to all this that whereas the Palestinians in general relentlessly accuse Israel of various crimes, Israel has failed to be equally relentless in highlighting the PA’s constant incitement to violence, let alone its internal corruption, lack of democracy, and suppression of basic human rights. In light of this, is it any wonder that the world sees the Palestinian cause as far more deserving of support than it actually is? Only if Israel stops acting as the Palestinians’ defense attorney and instead explains, clearly and consistently, why its own case is worthy of support, as well as why the Palestinian case is not, will it have any hope of winning the public-diplomacy battle.
Whereas the Palestinians relentlessly accuse Israel of various crimes, Israel has failed to be equally relentless in highlighting the PA’s constant incitement to violence, internal corruption, lack of democracy, and suppression of basic human rights.
One final point to keep in mind, however, is that public diplomacy is a means, not an end. The primary end isn’t winning the world’s love, but winning the war. And that means it’s sometimes necessary to disregard global public opinion. Even if Israel were vastly to improve its public diplomacy, some decisions would still bring out the anti-Israel mobs, especially in Europe. If those decisions are important to Israel’s strategic ends, then Israel cannot be deterred by their global unpopularity.
For example, Israel was right to ignore the hundreds of thousands of Europeans who protested last summer’s war in Gaza; stopping the rocket fire from Gaza was more important. By the same token, it would be wrong to capitulate to global demands for an immediate pullout from the West Bank; fleeting public approval can’t compensate for the loss of strategically vital territory. As in any other war, Israel must weigh competing strategic considerations against each other and try to pick its battles. ... 
V. The Paradigm

By means of public diplomacy, the U.S. largely succeeded in maintaining the support of fractious allies under difficult circumstances, while also convincing millions of Soviet subjects that the American model was economically, politically, and morally superior to their own. It achieved this not merely by investing heavily in selling its own narrative (for instance, by establishing Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to broadcast to Communist countries), but also by adhering to two important principles.
First, its narrative stressed the positive goods America really delivered on, like freedom, opportunity, human rights, and economic growth; by contrast, the Soviet Union was ultimately unable to deliver on its counternarrative of economic development accompanied by equality and social justice, which for decades continued to attract legions of adherents and admirers worldwide until its failure became incontrovertible. Second, while not all American leaders were as blunt as Ronald Reagan in dubbing the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” most were clear that there was no moral equivalency between the two countries; with a few exceptions, the generally consistent message was that America was a force for good in the world while the Soviet Union was the opposite. ...
What matters is for Israel to ensure it can survive and thrive until some solution becomes possible. And one way to do that is to follow America’s cold-war playbook. Use military force when and where necessary, but be careful to contain the conflict. Negotiate when possible, but on small deals that will reduce tensions and improve conditions rather than on big issues where agreement is unattainable. Fight the public-diplomacy war by investing the necessary resources, by advocating Israel’s cause rather than the Palestinian cause, and by emphasizing Israel’s successes rather than its failures—all the while remembering that public diplomacy is a means rather than an end, and strategic priorities should never be sacrificed to global public opinion. Preserve internal unity—an incalculable strategic asset—and invest heavily in Israel’s own economic and social development.
All of these are doable. And by doing them, Israel can survive and thrive despite its cold war, and ultimately win it—just as America did.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Whatever you do, don't call us immoral


Image from article, with caption: "The Israeli soldier is said to have put the young boy in a headlock during an arrest in West Bank village of Nabi Saleh"

Over the weekend, two viral clips vied for the title of "most disturbing video for Western public opinion". The first showed the truck in which dozens of refugees attempting to escape certain death suffocated to death, with photos of their corpses flashing over and over on television, computer and smart phone screens. The European Union immediately realized it had no choice, and called a special meeting to discuss "the migrant crisis".
The second was more of the tragic-comical variety. An Israeli soldier, armed and masked, was captured in circumstances in which no soldier, in whatever army, wants to find himself. With one arm he was clutching a Palestinian boy who had one of his arms in a cast; with the other he was trying to protect his face and body from the blows by a group of very determined women, including the boy's mother, sisters and other relatives. A quick review by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) turned up the fact that the soldier's unit was not trained to deal with Palestinian demonstrations. In other words - he was a warrior trained for battle, not for policing activity in occupied territory amid a civilian population, which the Israeli military has been doing for almost 50 years. ...
How did Israel respond? The first, panicked statement was that it was staged, then the official line was sympathy for the poor kid who had to cope with such tasks (referring to the soldier, not the boy); then all the pundits were out to allay those Israelis who, despite everything, were shocked that an armed soldier would chase a boy with a broken arm and said the family were known provocateurs who played to the camera. At the end there was just one thing to worry about: Israel's international image. Boy oh boy, they said, let's wheel out another PR, public diplomacy campaign.
At the end of the day, what really bothers Israelis is their image, just as with the Europeans. No matter what it is we are really doing – occupying, abusing, ignoring the suffering of others, turning our backs on reality, destroying the precious opportunity given to us to live a decent life – just don't call us immoral.

CPD Research Fellowship program

As part of its commitment to building the field of public diplomacy, CPD conducts research into thematic areas of perennial interest and identifies emerging trends deserving of further scholarship. CPD welcomes research proposals that match these initiatives. To this end, each year scholars are invited to apply for the non-residential CPD Research Fellowship program. All in-house research and related CPD events are designed to bridge the gap between academic and professional work in these areas. Current research initiatives are listed below:

Rising Soft Power in a Multipolar World
This initiative explores the practices and trends in global engagement in emerging markets of varying political persuasions, including, but not limited to, China, Mexico, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Turkey. It seeks to provide greater understanding of the forces reshaping public diplomacy and cultural relations globally.

Global Youth and the Next Generation of U.S. Public Diplomacy
Given global demographic shifts and emergent digital technologies, keeping a pulse on how the next generation views the United States is critical to the country’s public diplomacy and international engagement. CPD will monitor and analyze global youth perception of the U.S. and explore creative and collaborative ways to positively engage this key demographic.

Public Diplomacy Performance and Evaluation in the Digital Age
Accurately evaluating public diplomacy activities continues to prove challenging to practitioners around the world. CPD intends to conceptualize PD evaluation as an integral part of strategic planning and provide analytic tools to assist those conducting public diplomacy. We will also define what is measurable and not measurable for policy-making purposes.

Public Diplomacy and Global Development
As non-state actors become increasingly engaged in global development, CPD will create a framework for understanding the relationship between international development and public diplomacy and the role non-state actors can play in the process. Analysis of water diplomacy, corporate diplomacy efforts and specific international aid projects will continue.