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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why does Israel want to lose the media war?

There's an astounding article by Philippe Karsenty (pictured), the man who exposed the Mohamed al-Dura 'killing' as being (at best) falsely blamed on Israel, in which he rips the covers off his own battle with the Israeli government to expose the al-Dura affair. No, that's not a mistake. I know that Karsenty's court battle was with France 2, but he is still battling the Israeli establishment to try to make it fight media bias (Hat Tip: Ashan).
In 2002, when it was still possible to do something immediate, Nissim Zvili was the Israeli ambassador to Paris. He listened courteously but explained to me that he was a friend of Charles Enderlin, the French journalist who narrated the al Dura hoax. [That's actually not surprising. Zvili was chairman of the Labor party and was an old-style Labor politician who believed that the State = the Party. CiJ]

In 2006, Zvili was replaced by Daniel Shek, who refused to shake my hand, and later commented on a Jewish radio that I was defending “conspiracy theories.” When I asked his colleague in charge of communication at the embassy in Paris, Daniel Halevy Goitschel, why he never returned my phone calls, he responded: “the phone doesn’t work at the embassy”. We are not even dealing with a lack of support here. On the contrary, I was being sabotaged.

When I won the case in May 2008, Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said: “Karsenty is a private individual and no one in the Israeli government asked him to take on his battle against France 2. Karsenty had no right to demand that Israel come to his aid. All calls on the Israeli government to come and ‘save’ him are out of place. He was summoned to court because of a complaint of the French television channel. I don’t see where there is room for the Israeli government to get involved.”

Last December, I went over the evidence with Aviv Shir-On, who now claims to have helped me, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). After two hours he repeated the old MFA refrain, “I’m not convinced”. Let’s say, for the sake of generosity, that Shir-On is just one more timid defender of Israel, so afraid of what “others” might say, that even the judgment of an independent (and hardly well-disposed) French court in favor of his own country, does not give him the courage to speak. So even though I won the case, and the new evidence from France 2 sharpens our argument, I could not count on Israeli officials to help move into a counter-attack. Enderlin, humiliated by the court decision, was allowed to bluff his way back to prominence, and recently, in the Gaza war, lead the journalists’ attack on the Israeli government. [Please follow that link and then come back here. CiJ]
You would at least think that maybe the Israeli foreign ministry would now appreciate what Karsenty did for us. Sadly - indeed stunningly - they don't.
On January 2009, I met Tsipi Livni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and asked her about the al Dura story and the lack of reaction of the Israeli officials. Why didn't the State of Israel demand that France 2 admit their blood libel following the court decision? I was stunned by her answer: “Well, it happens that we kill kids sometimes. So, it’s not good for Israel to raise the subject again”.
Keep in mind that's the woman who would become Prime Minister next week. What astounding stupidity!

Oh, and for those of you who think we 'won' the media war during Operation Cast Lead, we did better than the last time, but we definitely did not win the media war.
Let’s return to the Gaza war. Israelis did much better in the media than they did in earlier crises. They were less quick to apologize; much faster to challenge… but only the Palestinians. Heaven forbid, they should challenge a news media that consistently attacked Israeli representatives even as they allowed Palestinian spokesmen to claim anything they wanted, and then repeated those claims to their audiences.
Karsenty is correct. If you go to the Fox link above (here it is again), you will see that it's not Israel's foreign ministry that is challenging the France 2 footage in question.

Like many Israeli bloggers, last week I signed up for a joint program of the foreign ministry and the absorption ministry that would try to use bloggers as front-line warriors in the country's public relations battle. Approximately 1,000 bloggers signed up. So far, all that has happened is that they have asked us to download a notification mechanism from Giyus.org, which lets us know every time something 'important' happens. But during the war, we weren't getting our information from the foreign ministry. The best and timeliest information I got during the war came from the IDF spokesperson's office, which contacted me directly (not through the media) and asked me to get the word out.

Why does the foreign ministry behave like it does? I'm not sure the foreign ministry is interested in winning the media war. For most of the last ten years, the foreign ministry has been under the Left's control, and has often worked at cross-purposes with the government in power and with the interests of the Jewish state. Then again, considering that our current prime minister and foreign minister consider Israel's most important goal to be the creation of a 'Palestinian' state reichlet, maybe the foreign ministry is carrying out the government's orders after all.

Read the whole thing.


At 12:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I believe it has to do with an Israeli government that ceased pursuing distinctively Jewish and Zionist goals. As a result, the Foreign Ministry's inability or unwillingness to defend Israel abroad is a symptom of a much larger problem. And until the problem is addressed, Israel won't win the media war in the future.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norman, here's the media war today.

(Hat tip: Israellycool)

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

Carl - Thanks for the HT

There's something seriously wrong here. The government refuses to defend itself or its people. Is this some sort of "death wish"? "galut mentality"?

Here we go again. This article is for those who read Hebrew. I haven't seen this anywhere in English. http://omedia.co.il/Show_Article.asp?DynamicContentID=24463&MenuID=726&ThreadID=1014017

At 3:00 PM, Blogger News Service said...

Incompetence and stupidity are not a 'patent' of right or left. Ignorance of the Internet is owned and practiced by every Jewish organization. Giyus is not "leftist" and the people who organized the "bloggers" are not "leftist." They just don't know what a blogger is and don't understand that talkbacks have minimal impact.

Foreign ministry officials didn't cooperate with Karsenty because he was showing up the establishment - "not invented here."



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