Palestinian men sit along a wall under graffiti depicting a Palestinian fighter stabbing an Israeli soldier at Beach refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in this 2001 photo.
"An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot."
"I don't know what we are doing here. Purification maybe.”
--An Israeli soldier in Gaza
Condoleezza Rice Interview With People Magazine - Press Release, US State Department: “QUESTION: What do you hear about [First Lady Laura Bush] when you’re traveling? I mean, is – do you pick up on her popularity? Do you hear it from world leaders? Do they ask for her to come?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, what we’ve done, generally, is we’ve worked together in the areas that she’s been interested in. And we’ve tried to deploy her sometimes in – whenever we’ve – for instance, on the health initiative, which are a part of our public diplomacy campaign, really to get people to see that America cares about the issues that people care about, not just about trade or politics or whatever. We’ve – I’ve actually asked her to go from time to time. And people love to receive her and it gives prominence in countries to issues that others can’t do.”
US Vice President-elect Joe Biden's visit to Pakistan – International Relation Articles: “Senator Biden has long been considered a strong supporter of democracy in Pakistan … . [H]e wanted the administration to engage the Pakistani people, not just their rulers. This according to him would have to be reflected in everything from improved public diplomacy and educational exchanges to high impact projects that actually change people's lives.”
Sometimes the best public diplomacy is unsaid - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “Sometimes the best public diplomacy is sparse public diplomacy. Quantity of public diplomacy does not constitute quality. The Bush administration has positioned itself thus: it supports Israel's right to defend itself against missiles, but does not want to be portrayed as the authorizer, benefactor, and cheerleader of Israel's military campaign into Gaza. Nor does the administration want to join the global chorus of those who are condemning Israel, or calling for a ceasefire before Israel's objectives are met. In such a situation, the best thing to do, the only thing to do, is to keep one's own counsel.”
The Crusader Vs. The Caliphate…The Bush Doctrine: Destroy the Heretics of Islam - Doug Krieger, Best Wholesale Bargains: “All the rhetoric to the contrary, Islam’s toleration of Christian, Jew, Hindu, or of Buddhism/Confucius, is NOT borne out in the record. That is precisely why Bush’s appeal to ‘religious freedom’ (and he knows exactly how this ‘sounds’ in the West–secular and/or religious) does NOT play out in Islam: ‘We’re standing with dissidents and exiles against oppressive regimes, because we know that the dissidents of today will be the democratic leaders of tomorrow.
We’re making our case through public diplomacy, stating clearly and confidently our belief in self-determination, and the rule of law, and religious freedom, and equal rights for women, beliefs that are right and true in every land, and in every culture. (Applause.[‘] … . Does such rhetoric enflame the masses of those who oppose his policies in the Middle East–though they are altruistic and even noble in their essence? Could he have left this out of his speech without compromising his persuasions for ‘democracy and freedom’ for all Islamic peoples–especially in the Middle East? Perhaps? But I doubt–besides, he MUST galvanize the West’s opposition to the tyrannical evil who opposes them–and there is no greater appeal (certainly not the ideology of democracy) that will heighten the confrontation against another ‘evil empire’ than the call to RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.”
U.S. international broadcasting bashed again - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: Coverage of statements by public figures.
Your Turn Mr. Ross... – Nimr, KABOBfest: “United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced he plans to appoint US diplomat Christopher Ross as his new special envoy to Western Sahara. … For more insight on Ross, check out his article ‘Public Diplomacy Necessary for Policy Success.’"
The reality of Israel-Palestine conflict - The Statesman, India: “President Bush appointed Charlotte Beers as under secretary of state for public diplomacy of public affairs after 9/11 in order to remake America’s image abroad, especially in West Asia. As a public relations specialist, Beers did so many things for more effective public relations outside of America (read the Muslim world).
But despite his efforts, as prominent US foreign policy watcher Martin W Cott wrote in The Guardian, ‘After September 11, the Bush administration woke up to what it saw, in a rather overdone way, as a world of resentment, censure and even hatred… The new ideology of the Muslim world, particularly, Middle East, is anti-Americanism’.” On Beers, see.
Karen Hughes (December 8, 2005) - Herkules, Charlie Rose Store - Television Movies: Karen Hughes, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, on rebuilding channels of public diplomacy. This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
'Hasbara' lessons I learned from Al Jazeera - Mitchell Barak, Jerusalem Post: “Hasbara is a composite of public relations, communications, branding and survey research. It is held together by a complicated web of bureaucracy, and forms the backbone of our public diplomacy. … Last week I had the privilege of presenting Israel's position on the Riz Khan Show on Al Jazeera … . I learned a lot from the experience which can be applied to public diplomacy and international hasbara efforts. 1) Invest money in English-language news programs. … 2) Get the best talent to represent you. … 3) Go where the audience is.”
Gaza media update for 10 January 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Hasbara spam alert: With Israel's foreign ministry organising volunteers to flood news websites with pro-Israeli comments, Propaganda 2.0 is here - Richard Silverstein, Guardian: The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it's going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.
Countering US-Israel Propaganda Regarding Gaza - Maryrose Asher, Greener Times
Bloggers expose Sun's anti-Muslim propaganda - Tom Griffin, Our Kingdom, Open Democracy: Wednesday's story in the Sun about a ”hit list” of prominent British Jews on an Islamist web forum, has received a pretty thorough fisking from the British blogosphere over the past couple of days.
Gaza: Propaganda Does Nothing for Peace, Indeed - Kim Bullimore, Palestine Chronicle, WA: A democracy in the modern sense of the word can be defined as a system which guarantees basic human rights for all it citizens To argue that Israel meets these requirements, either in times of war such as now or so-called peace times is nothing short of propaganda.
Propaganda before peace – Capital Punisher, 15 Washington Terrace: As long as there are both Jews and Arabs in the world, the chance of ever achieving peace in the Middle East is vanishingly small. Whatever chances do exist, though, are further diminished by propagandists like Salon.com's Gary Kamiya, who writes sentences like this: "[Hamas fights] using any means it can, including suicide bombers and crude homemade rockets that have killed two dozen [Israelis] in seven years."
The View From Israel: Victors in a Necessary War - Griff Witte, Washington Post: After 15 days of war that have left more than 800 Palestinians dead -- as many as half of them civilians, medical officials say -- Israelis are sure of two things: They are the victims, and they are also the victors.
Bush's Mideast legacy - Editorial, Boston Globe: Wars are usually traceable to a failure of statecraft. In the case of the current Israeli assault on the Hamas regime in Gaza, that failure belongs not only to the leadership of Israel and Hamas, but, most tellingly, to the serial blunders of President Bush.
Mideast dream team? Not quite - Roger Cohen, International Herald Tribune: Enlightenment will require a fresher, broader Mideast team than Obama is contemplating.
Obama’s Worst Pakistan Nightmare - David E. Sanger, New York Times: At the end of Bush’s term, his aides handed over to Obama’s transition team a lengthy review of policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, concluding that in the end, the United States has far more at stake in preventing Pakistan’s collapse than it does in stabilizing Afghanistan or Iraq.
India Has a Soft Spot for Bush - Anand Giridharadas, New York Times: The “opening” of India is regarded on the whole, by a great many Indians, as a Bush triumph, one whose prescience will fully reveal itself only in time -- that is, if India grows into its assigned role as a new leader of a changed free world.
Bill Clinton’s Donors - Editorial, New York Times:
Mrs. Clinton’s confirmation hearing, now scheduled to begin on Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, must cover wider terrain than pressing world issues. It should address the awkward intersection between Mrs. Clinton’s new post and the charitable and business activities of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Political ambassadors - Edward Peck, Washington Times: Our global involvement is constant, massive, important, and can suddenly become serious in unexpected places and times.
There is far too much at stake to place the always complicated and significant, sometimes critical responsibilities of ambassadors in the hands of unqualified political appointees. America requires and deserves better than using its most important overseas positions as party favors for the inexperienced. IMAGE FROM