Dereliction of Duty

Here is yet another article on the abysmal record of Israel’s Foreign Ministry to present Israel’s case to the world:

For the failure or – perhaps more accurately – the virtual absence, of Israeli PD [public diplomacy — ed.] strategy goes beyond the problem of what it is not doing for Israel in presenting its case and promoting its image. No less damaging is what it allows others to do to Israel in undermining its case and perverting its image…

Continued impotence and incompetence in the (mis)conduct of Israel’s public diplomacy is becoming not only strategic threat to the country but is beginning to imperil Jewish communities abroad.

(Hat tip: Allyson Christy)

Well, yeah…  But this is unfortunately nothing new.  Israel army’s incomparable valor and skill on the battlefield has been juxtaposed to the incomparable incompetence of its official hasbara (PR) efforts for decades.   This incompetence has limited or even allowed the reversal of the country’s military victories on the ground over and over again.

However, while there may be some benefit in complaining about it in order to (yet again) bring the dire situation to people’s attention, know one thing: The situation is NOT going to change any time soon.  The problem is related to deeply-entrenched technicalities such as funding and staffing at the Foreign Ministry that, barring a miracle, could not be fixed quickly even if their was a will to do so.

So instead of (or at least in addition to) complaining, it is incumbent on all those that care about Israel to fill the void that Israel’s official representatives are not.

Leftist Journalist: Israel’s Struggle is ‘Struggle of the World’

Spaniard Pilar Rahola writes, as a leftist journalist, that Israel’s struggle is ‘The Struggle of the World’:

Why don’t we see demonstrations in London, Paris, and Barcelona against Islamic dictatorships? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?

And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

In every pro-Palestinian European forum…. they are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan. They are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.

In my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. President Zapatero…. places the blame on Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.

Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization…. They kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages. And yet the Spanish left is the most anti Israeli in the world.

I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti-Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

The writer is a Spanish journalist, writer, and former member of the Spanish parliament.

J Street Opposed at University of Pennsylvania

As the New Israel Fund faces Knesset sub-committee investigation for allegations regarding funding of organizations who contributed to the Goldstone Report, J Street, another organization known by many for its efforts to force Israel to hand over Judea and Samaria, felt heat in the United States.

Israel National News reports that attempts to build support for Washington lobby J Street met heavy opposition at University of Pennsylvania’s Hillel.

The report notes:

J Street, the Washington lobby with strong connections to the Obama administration, held an event at the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, February 4th… The organization, which advocates strong American pressure to force an Israeli surrender of Judea and Samaria…, created a stir in the Jewish media and blogsphere for two weeks with the planned visit of director Jeremy Ben-Ami to the University’s Hillel building.

Z Street, a local pro-Israel organization initially attempted to pressure the University to withdraw its invitation to J Street’s Ben-Ami but when Hillel responded with claims that it was merely renting space to the powerful Washington lobby, Z Street settled for a room in the Hillel building to hold a simultaneous pro-Israel event. The group brought Mitchell Bard, who attracted most of the students concerned with events in the Middle East, and left J Street an audience comprised mainly of elderly Jews from the Philadelphia area.

Roz Rothstein of the California based pro-Israel StandWithUs organization, traveled… to attend the J Street event and confronted Ben-Ami with her concerns about his activities…. “First, how does J Street justify pressuring the democratically elected government of another country to change its policies through lobbying elected officials in the United States? Second, how can people living in the safety of the United States make policy decisions for another country, possibly endangering its citizens? I tried to find out what Ben-Ami thought. I asked him the questions that were on my mind but did not get answers.”

Brian Finkel, founding president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Zionist Freedom Alliance chapter, organized student activists to stand by the entrance to J Street’s event handing out flyers revealing information about the influential Washington lobby, including the massive donations it accepts from people with clear and public anti-Israel agendas.

“J Street asked Hillel staff for permission to use the main auditorium in the Penn Hillel building for a local launch and national webcast to its followers. Permission was granted, but without any consultation with Hillel students. This unilateral action by Hillel staff was met with tremendous anger and frustration from students, whose voices and opinions were entirely ignored in the process. ZFA decided to give those students a voice.”

Finkel, who previously served as Hillel’s Israel chair, described J Street as “an extremist Washington group that lobbies the United States government to impose policies on Israel.” On Wednesday evening, Finkel brought Dan Pollak, Director of Government Relations for the ZOA in Washington, to speak about why J Street poses a danger to the State of Israel. The event drew students and Philadelphia community members alike, prompting a lively debate about J Street’s true motives.

During the period that the Z Street sponsored Mitchell Bard event attracted students away from Ben-Ami’s presentation, the ZFA distributed flyers explaining why the school’s pro-Israel students were opposed to – and ashamed of – J Street’s presence at their Hillel. The flyers included many anti-Israel statements made by J Street leaders and showcased how J Street seeks to undermine Israel’s sovereignty and security by imposing its political agenda on an independent state…. After handing out all of their material…, the Zionist students entered the event but were prevented from asking questions.

ZFA told… that their protest was not only directed at J Street but also at the Hillel staff who, in their view, pushes an extremist political agenda. In recent years the Penn Hillel has brought fringe groups to campus such as Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence, each of whom receive generous funding from European governments hostile to the Jewish state.

One should note that the abovementioned organizations: Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence are among those mentioned in the Im Tirzu report as alledged recipients of NIF funding that gave testimony which appears in the Goldstone Report.

The Israeel National News report continues:

“Its time for us to take back our Hillel and give students a voice again,” Finkel said. “Hillel exists so that Jewish students can have a safe haven on campus. It is hard enough to advocate for Israel on campus without your own Hillel giving space to dangerous and manipulative anti-Israel groups like J Street…. What right do American extremists like J Street have to impose their will on a foreign country?”

This just goes to show that pro-Israel activists can do the right thing, even against a highly-funded organization like J Street.