Friday, October 23, 2015

Some good news, too

Israel's investment in public diplomacy seems to be paying off, with more sympathetic media coverage in the U.S., including the correction of pro-Palestinian bias in a TV news report on camera • Israeli-American Council leads the war on Israel boycotts.


Boaz Bismuth,

image from article, with caption: Israel Hayom reporter and columnist Boaz Bismuth (far right) at a panel at the Israeli-American Council conference | Photo credit: Sharon Azran
"Jews fleeing violence in France find it in Israel," the front page of USA Today proclaimed this week. It's not every day that Israel is graced with an article documenting the story of the Israeli victim. Generally the media, especially in Europe, is busy admiring the attacker. It's rare that the victim is given a face. And from this particular article it could be understood that the victims weren't only citizens of Israel, but rather all Jews. 
"The killing of four Jewish shoppers at a kosher market in January prompted thousands of French Jews to seek safety in Israel," the USA Today article said. "Many of those emigrants and other French Jews who came earlier find themselves targeted once again [by the recent spate of stabbing terrorist attacks]." ...
The article expressed the atmosphere in Washington this week. We were pleased to find out that not everyone is against us. Far from it. When we visited the Senate as part of a conference sponsored by the Israeli-American Council, and particularly in the street, people were appalled by the wave of terrorism that is once again rolling over Israeli citizens. ...
There are two sides to every coin. Alongside the support, there are also distortions of the situation in Israel. MSNBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin reported on the attempted terrorist stabbing at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and said that the terrorist had not even been holding a knife. But the studio corrected Mohyeldin in real time and also apologized for displaying inaccurate maps of Israel. There is no doubt that Israel's decision not to stay quiet and to invest in public diplomacy has proved itself. ...
But the U.S. isn't the only place where people are working to help Israel in its PR battle. In France, the writer and intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy published a magazine article in which he declared that "it is incorrect to compare the kamikazes to their victims and believe that this latest outbreak of violence is spontaneous."
Levy also argued that he did not believe in the idea of "lone operatives." Tomorrow, he said, there could be dozens and then hundreds of "murderers of Jews" who would garner lots of followers and "likes" online, so he is not willing to hear any more claims that the attackers are lone wolves, as he put it. The prominent philosopher is also unwilling to hear any more about these young people being "beyond control and supervision."  ...
Levy ends his article with these words: "What is also unacceptable is the little myth that is starting to be woven around the routine [terrorist] stabbings: Just because the attacker is poor and oppressed, does he have to use the only murder weapon at hand because he has no other? When I see the blade of the knife I recall the execution of [Jewish American journalist] Daniel Pearl [by al-Qaida]. I think about how the heads of French captive Herve Gourdel, James Foley and David Haines were cut off [by Islamic State]. The ISIS [Islamic State] clips were a classroom -- we are dealing with a wave of barbarism that should be unequivocally condemned since it exports its methods to every place in the world."
So it's clear that Israel's public diplomacy got a boost this week in Washington, Paris, and everywhere Israel has friends.

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