Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1


Register Now for the Inaugural Broadcast from the American University in Cairo's Virtual Newsroom- Joshua Fouts, DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age: “On Monday, January 12, 2009, at 11 am Eastern Time, 6 pm Cairo Time, 8 am Second Life Time, Dancing Ink Productions will host a live event from the American University in Cairo's Virtual Newsroom in the virtual world of Second Life featuring James Glassman, US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in conversation with a group of Egyptian political bloggers who covered the 2008 US presidential campaign. Do you have questions for Under Secretary Glassman or the bloggers? Tune in at and be a part of the conversation.” IMAGE: Second Life avatar of US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James Glassman in the virtual newsroom of the American University in Cairo in Second Life.

Vol. V No.1: 12/31-01/15, 2009 - Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

War and social media - Mike Soron, on democracy, media & change: “Beyond infrastructure attacks and election campaigns is the new face of public diplomacy — simply, diplomatic relations beyond state-to-state interactions. A rather more refined way of discussing modern propaganda. The United States is assuredly the global leader in public diplomacy — and doubtlessly, Obama’s administration will keep up and extend the lead. Yet, new online communication tools and collapsing or negligible transactions costs — the same developments that are driving the social web — are transforming public diplomacy and creating opportunities everywhere. On the heels of an Obama victory in November, Israel turns to the social web to spin and market the war to an increasingly connected global citizenry.”

How the Israeli Consulate Brought the State to the People - Read, Write & View: a blog about writing in a world of convergence: “Yesterday, Tuesday, December 30, 2008, was a landmark for Twitter as a service and for the world of digital public policy. The Israeli Consulate in New York held a citizens press conference on Twitter. Lasting two hours, it engaged everyone on Twitter, led trending topics, and allowed Israel to directly answer questions from one of the web’s biggest communities… .

‘I definitely think that Twitter is on the ascent,’ said Joshua S. Fouts the chief global strategist for Dancing Ink Productions and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Fouts is is currently working on a report for the Obama administration on Understanding Islam in Virtual Worlds. ‘It allows busy people to check in and see their questions in a time space that is more in-keeping with their flexibility or availability.’” SEE ALSO. IMAGE FROM

Israel - Operation Cast Lead - The Counter Is Ticking – Ari Bussel, Reporting from Israel: "The illusion of some decision makers that Israel is faring well in the Public Diplomacy Front has, I am afraid, little if any ground. The Ghaza War is not about the rockets precision-aimed toward Israeli towns and cities. Neither is it about a soldier who has been held in captivity in Gaza for 920 days. The Ghaza War is a war on public opinion in the Public Diplomacy Front. It is a war of Islam against the West, and countries are taking sides.” VIA

Analysis: Disturbing echoes of 2006 - David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post: “Hamas, for all its estimated 15,000 armed men, was far less well-equipped than Hizbullah, and had far less physical room to maneuver: It has its back to the sea or an unaccommodating Egypt, limiting its capacity to melt away, as Hizbullah's gunmen had done ever further to the north in Lebanon. The legitimacy was overwhelming, and Israel had taken some steps to put in place the public diplomacy to explain it: Israel was responding to eight years of rocket attacks by a terror group whose leadership had seized power in a violent coup, repeatedly broadcast its determination to destroy Israel, and abused a misnamed cease-fire to smuggle in more arms and extend the range of its missiles. And yet, as Day Five of Operation Cast Lead drew to a close, dismaying comparisons with 2006 were multiplying.”

Learning From Lebanon, Israel Sets Up Press Operation - Nathan Jeffay, Forward: “Israel’s media effort is part of a closely coordinated public diplomacy plan, evident at the highest levels. In contrast to assurances given during the Lebanon campaign that the operation would be quick, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has been quoted on several occasions as saying that the operation will continue until all its goals are met.”

Hamas racks up its first diplomatic victory in Gaza campaign - Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz: “President Hosni Mubarak could not keep silent any longer about the attack on Egypt in the press. His decision to explicitly state Egypt's position that the West Bank and Gaza are part of the same country, and that the Rafah crossing will open only under the conditions of the 2005 agreement (to which Egypt is not a signatory), is part of the public diplomacy Mubarak has been dragged into against his will. … Hamas, by enlisting public opinion through the Arab media, holding street demonstrations and creating public pressure, may very well achieve a cease-fire without being forced to ask for it.”

Hundreds of Israeli Websites Hacked in 'Propaganda War'CGISecurity: "It didn't take long after Israel's bombing of Gaza began for cyberwarfare to erupt as well: over 300 Israeli Websites over the past few days have been hacked and defaced with anti-Israeli and anti-US messages in an online propaganda campaign, a security expert says.”

Don’t fall for Israeli propaganda -Linda S. Heard, “Hasbara (הסברה) (or hasbarah) is a Hebrew noun that literally means 'explanation'.

The term has been used by the State of Israel and by independent groups to describe their efforts to explain Israeli government policies, and to promote Israel to the world at large. Hasbara is viewed positively, and is actively encouraged, by almost all Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli organizations and instititutions. They believe that hasbara bears similarities to programming on the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the BBC World Service. Critics claim that hasbara is propaganda or public relations. According to them, Israeli efforts are no different from any other public relations effort to promote their views, actions and achievements in order to coordinate supporters, attract the undecided and skeptics, and counteract the efforts of opponents.”

MountainRunner Year-End Review – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “As 2008 comes to close, here’s the year-end traffic report for the blog. As of the morning of 12/31/08, GoogleAnalytics reports [:] … [i]nterestingly, more traffic came from Facebook (0.42%) than from USC’s Center for Public Diplomacy (0.39%).”

The Year That Was - Paul S. Rockower, Levantine: “I started my life back in school, pursuing a Master's in Public Diplomacy at USC. I was misguided when I thought that going back to school meant the death of this Peter Pan; rather the student's life was perfect for me.”


Media Banned From Gaza as Humanitarian Crisis Escalates - Mel Frykber,

Israel is again preventing journalists from entering Gaza to report firsthand on the escalating crisis there as its military operation, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, enters its fifth day.

Unfair and Unbalanced: The US Response to the Gaza Crisis - Wajahat Ali, In order to truly act upon his promise of "change," President-elect Obama needs to quickly revoke Israel's perennial carte blanche and "get out of international jail" Monopoly card for the sake of ensuring long-term American and Israeli security and eventually winning the "war on terror."

The Gaza War is Completely Stoppable - Robert Naiman, Common Dreams: The question is how long it will take international outrage to build to the level necessary to force the US government to stop backing the Israeli military action in Gaza, and therefore how many Palestinians and Israelis will needlessly die in the meantime.

Israel can't bomb its way to peace: The assault on Gaza has more to do with internal politics than its national security. The U.S. needs to reengage forcefully in a Mideast peace process - Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles Times

The Iraq War Is Now Illegal - Bruce Ackerman & Oona Hathaway, Daily Beast: Coalition troops have been acting under a series of Security Council resolutions authorizing the continuing occupation of Iraq. But this year Bush allowed the UN mandate to expire on December 31 without requesting a renewal. At precisely one second after midnight, Congress’ authorization of the war expired along with this mandate.

Cuba today: 50 years of Castro's reign - Carlos M. Gutierrez, Washington Times: To suggest unconditional dialogue with the Castro brothers would only signal that the conditions in Cuba are acceptable. If the United States does not continue to stand for the ideals of freedom and human rights and against the many guises of tyranny and oppression, who will?


Prisoners having lunch at Prison Colony No. 7 in Pankovka, Russia, with New Year holiday decorations hanging from the ceiling and a rustic scene on the wall. (James Hill for The New York Times) FROM

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