The New York Times published an interesting article about Israel’s worsening image. It’s not news that Israel’s assault on Gaza in December and January and the election of a hawkish government have worsened the view the international community has of Israel. The recent protests, boycotts and the stressed relations with Turkey are indicative of that.
The article states that the Foreign Ministry will spend 2 million dollars on what they call cultural and information diplomacy to improve Israel’s image. The ministry’s deputy director says they “will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits” to “show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” These novelists, theater productions and exhibits should and will be boycotted as well. Just as they are being boycotted today. During Israel’s assault, the Israeli government pursued an all hands on deck PR effort that, of course, did not work. No amount of money or effort to improve Israel’s image is going to work. It’s Israel’s actions, the facts on the ground, that matter. To put it simply, as the article suggests, it’s Israel’s policies that are the problem.
What irked me in the article was the notion that “some” people believe (the newly appointed Foreign Minister) Avigdor Lieberman’s views are racist. Why is it only that “some” people think he’s racist? I’d like to know who are the others that don’t? What part about expelling the Arab citizens of your state isn’t racist? Wouldn’t that make them racist as well? Lieberman is a racist, plain and simple, and he needs to be called out as such.
The article also says that some Israeli officials believe that what Israel needs to do is “rebrand” itself. Yeah. Good luck with that. Again, call it what you want, but it won’t work. By the way, the 2 million dollars the Foreign Ministry is going to spend is probably our US taxpayer money.
It’s long overdue that Israel is finally feeling some heat for it’s actions. However, if Israeli officials believe that the solution is to just throw money into public relations initiatives, then we’re just in for more of the same. Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis will ultimately benefit. I wonder what in God’s name it’ll take for Israel to finally and justly change its policies?!