Since the genesis of the Oslo process in 1993, successive governments of Israel, under a binding legal and moral obligation to demand a cessation of virulent anti-Semitic incitement as the condition for negotiation and barter of land with the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, have consistently shirked that responsibility and, instead, hired slick PR firms to cover themselves in the public domain
Under the guise of “supporting the democratically elected Israeli government in power” the Israeli government has engaged the services of PR firms** to market this policy to the media and to foreign governments, ignoring the democratic process in Israel.
Instead, the Israeli government downplayed the fact that PLO leaders – Arafat and Abbas – who personally signed the Declaration of Principles against incitement on the White House lawn – made sure that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority never ratified those agreements.
Therefore, PLO incitement never ceased and the government of Israel has never made this a matter of policy, as it was legally obligated to do by the lawmakers of Israel’s Knesset Parliament.
Instead of confronting the Israeli electorate with that reality, the Israeli government hired PR firms to make it look as if Arafat and Abbas were reliable peace partners, and that only the “Hamas and the settlers” were interfering with the process.
Indeed, with the encouragement of the government of Israel, the umbrella organization of US Jewry was set to provide the Isaiah Award for Peace to Yassir Arafat in October 1999, until Israel Resource News Agency got wind of that plan and the award was “postponed”.
With the outbreak of the second Intifada in the Fall of 2000, most Israel support groups began to smell a rat, especially when mainstream organizations of the PLO and the PA joined forces with the Hamas to incite total rebellion against the state and people of Israel.
It became harder for the Israeli government to once again ask that the mainstream Jewish groups promote the fraud of a peace process.
That is why new PR firms were engaged instead of dealing with the real issue.
The Israeli government fostered a new PR operation with the purpose of influencing the media and policy makers abroad to “pull everyone in line”, to market the policies of the government of Israel, whether these policies have integrity or not, whether they were approved by the Knesset or not, and whether or not they violate Israeli law. This began. with the task of “selling the Disengagement Policy”.
For example, the first clause of the Disengagement Plan declared that the withdrawals and expulsions were carried out because there was “No Peace Partner”.
However, that policy definition did not fit the bill of how this new PR firm planned to sell Israel’s disengagement policy, to couch it as a “step towards peace.” So the PR firm worked with the Israel Foreign Ministry to distribute a brochure that simply DELETED the first clause, so that the PR firm could say that this policy of expulsions and unilateral handover of privately owned Jewish property to terrorists represented a “step towards peace”.
And how would the PR firm work with the Israeli government to sell the expulsion of a law abiding community of Israeli citizens?
In late August 2005, two Israeli government officials, the Israeli Prime Minister’s top advisor, Dov Weisglass, along with Minister of Housing Yitzhak Herzog, provided official briefings for the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in the USA, in which they assured Israel support groups that every deported family left with $400,000 in their pockets and a permanent home waiting for them. Nothing was further from the truth,
PR firms working with the PM office marketed that false data – making it nearly impossible for disengagement evictees to raise funds, since every Jewish federation had the word from these PR firms that every family was fully compensated and relocated to a new homes.
And when delegations of concerned Israel support groups met with the Israeli Prime Minister to offer private humanitarian assistance to the evictees, the Israeli PM told them that this was not necessary.
Jewish groups’ philanthropic groups from abroad have direct access to Israel’s Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister.
Not so with the Israeli public, where no one can enter within the Knesset without an appointment, at a time when most Israeli public officials avoid public appearances.
It was the job of the new PR firms retained by the Israeli government to indeed convince these foreign organizations that the Israeli government had fulfilled all of its humanitarian obligations to thriving communities that it had just decimated.
After all, the Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres had announced on July 7th, 2005 that the American government had allocated $2 billion to cover the costs of disengagement.
That assurance was quoted by the mainstream Israeli media for months to come. However, on July 12th, 2005, the spokesman forf the US treasury department told Israel’s leading business newspaper, GLOBES, that the US was not giving one penny for the Disengagement Policy. That denial of US funds was hardly reported elsewhere.
Perhaps it had never occurred to Israel support groups abroad that they would be asked to support a policy of an Israeli regime that would fly in the face of the Israeli law.
A case in point: Clause seven of the Disengagement Law forbade Israel from handing over assets to terror organizations, at a time when terror groups were assured that they were taking over the settlements and that they would use them as terror bases.
Yet the democratically elected government of Israel violated that aspect of its own Disengagement Law.
Almost two years after the Disengagement process, at a time when the Israeli government has reached at an all time low in public opinion polls, PR spin masters once again are selling the notion that incitement is not important, that Abbas advocates for peace, and that decimating Jewish communities remains the price to pay for peace.
In cooperation with the government of Israel, these PR firms play down the suffering of the residents of the Western Negev now under daily mortar fire from Gaza, they downplay the incitement of the PLO and the PA, they downplay the coordination of the PLO and the Hamas, and they down play the suffering of the Disengagement evictees.
The idea is to promote Abbas as a new harbinger of peace – the same man who continues to promote his Ph.D that equates Nazism and Zionism, the same man who oversees the official media and school system of the Palestinian Authority that are rife with incitement against the state and people of Israel.
Indeed, the Israeli government now seeks new ways to engage PR firms to sell the policy of creating a nation state based on Jew hatred, at a time when the Palestinian Authority works state in tandem with Hamas and with the most anti-Semitic regime in the world – Saudi Arabia, where no Jew may reside and where Judaism cannot be practiced.
The question remains as to whether those who support Israel should continue to follow spin masters who support this new form of “Israeli Athenian democracy”, that sustains opinions closest to the government and crushes dissonant voices in the public domain.
Otherwise, PR firms, some that are not even based in Israel, will replace the cardinal principles of Israeli democracy.
**Israel Resource News Agency asked if funds allocated by the government of Israel to hire PR firms was authorized by any branch of the government of Israel. The answer received was negative. Sources in the Prime Minister’s office confirmed that Prime Minister Sharon was arranging for payment from “other sources”.
The watchdog agencies that monitor Israeli government dysfunctional behavior agree that this procedure represented a felonious violation of the Israeli law, yet have not done anything to stop to it or to object to it. These same watchdog agencies support the Israel’s land surrender policies. The end justifies the means in their view, but in this case, the final ending my occur.