Friday, December 4, 2015

Lapid: Israel’s global standing has never been worse; I could change that

Raphael Ahren,

Image from article, with caption: Yair Lapid speaking at Bar-Ilan University, September 2015

In  an extensive interview with The Times of Israel on Wednesday, hours before he took off for Washington to attend the weekend’s Saban Forum — an annual gathering of American and Israeli politicians and opinion leaders — the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party said he did not want to directly attack the prime minister in an English-language publication. However, he criticized Netanyahu’s “complete lack of strategy” regarding the Palestinian issue and lambasted, generally, the government’s approach to foreign policy and public diplomacy. ...
What is Lapid’s remedy for Israel’s foreign-policy woes? For one, he believes in propping up the country’s hasbara  public diplomacy efforts — which need to be concentrated in the Foreign Ministry.
“You don’t have the benefit of choosing your battles when you’re a country like Israel. You have to fight each and every battle,” he said. The alternative — say, boycotting the Belgian foreign minister because he supports labeling — leaves the field open to Israel’s enemies and allows third parties to arrive at the wrong conclusions. “We haven’t been telling our side of the story, constantly, for a long time now. And then we’re surprised if people believe the other side.” ...

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