SABBA – CAN ANYONE THINK OF ANY OTHER COUNTRY WHO DOES THAT????
STUDENTS WHO GO ON YOUTH DELEGATIONS ABROAD ARE NOW REQUIRED TO UNDERGO TRAINING IN HASBARA AND PUBLIC DIPLOMACY. THE FIRST COURSE IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY, AND IS ATTENDED BY STUDENTS WHO WILL BE SENT TO GERMANY, CHINA AND FRANCE.
THE DECISION TO CONDUCT THE TRAINING WAS MADE IN THE EDUCATION MINISTRY AFTER OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE, AS CRITICISM OF ISRAEL AND ITS POLICIES GREW AROUND THE WORLD, AND DUE TO THE RECENT DISCUSSION SURROUNDING THE BOYCOTT MOVEMENT.
THE YOUTH DELEGATIONS ARE MADE UP OF STUDENTS WHO FLY TO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS AND FROM NOW OWN MUST UNDERGO A MINIMUM OF 10 HOURS OF TRAINING, DURING WHICH THEY WILL LEARN ABOUT THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT, THE POLICIES OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL, AND WILL BE EQUIPPED WITH TOOLS TO DEAL WITH BODIES WHO “SEEK TO DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL AND HER IMAGE.”
THE LESSONS WILL TAKE DIRECTED, AND SO AT THE END OF THE COURSE EVERY GROUP WILL BE ASSIGNED A TASK SPECIFIC TO THE COUNTRY THEY WILL BE VISITING.
OSHER ANIJAR, A 9TH GRADE STUDENT FROM RABIN HIGH SCHOOL IN EILAT, IS SET TO FLY TO GERMANY, AS PART OF A STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM. HER AND HER FRIENDS FROM THE EXCHANGE ARE TAKING PART IN THE FIRST COURSE. “UNTIL NOW WE LEARNED ABOUT THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT, ABOUT THE ARAB COUNTRIES AND ISRAEL’S BORDERS,” SHE SAYS. “THEY EXPLAINED TO US THAT ITS IMPORTANT TO GIVE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION. WE WERE SHOWN VIDEOS WHICH SHOW HOW ISRAEL IS SEEN IN THE WORLD.”
DO THE LESSONS HELP?
“VERY MUCH, MY KNOWLEDGE WAS EXPANDED AND THAT’S IMPORTANT. I PERSONALLY HAVE A PROBLEM SPEAKING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE, SOMETIMES I STUTTER, AND THE LESSONS GAVE ME MORE CONFIDENCE. I HOPE I CAN REPRESENT MY COUNTRY PROUDLY,” SHE SAYS.
THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF YOUTH LEADERSHIP, HADARA ROSENBLUM SAID: “THE DECISION AFTER PROTECTIVE EDGE, WHERE STUDENTS WHO FLEW ABROAD WERE MET WITH QUESTIONS LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ISRAEL? WHAT IS HAPPENING IN JERUSALEM? THEY WHERE ASKED ABOUT THE SECURITY BARRIER, AND THE COUNTRY’S BORDER. IN THE END OF THE DAY THESE STUDENTS WHO FLY ABROAD DO REPRESENT ISRAEL, THEY FILL AN IMPORTANT TASK IN ISRAELI HASBARA, SOMETIMES WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT. SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THEY LEAVE HERE WITH THE NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE TO DEAL WITH THE TOUGH QUESTIONS.”
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."