Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Listen

So about a week ago the blog The View from Israel posted a piece titled "The Time for Coordinated and Professional Israeli public diplomacy action is now". The post advocates for a 'Public Diplomacy Institute' comprising key players [all men and none from the left-movement] in Israeli advocacy and hasbara -- not a team I would consider adept at successful public diplomacy. The short of it is that I wanted to comment on the blog post, but the comments are moderated by the blogger and he refused to post my comment. So, I'm taking the liberty to post it on my own blog. Here is my response:

While I agree that public diplomacy should be apolitical and a coordinated effort with a clear message, Israel is considered to have one of the most advanced public diplomacy strategies. From the strategic partnership with the U.S. Jewish Diaspora (both monetarily and politically) to being the first nation with a Twitter account and country blog, Israel has a well-oiled hasbara machine. Israel explains, however, what Israeli public diplomacy does not do is listen. Listening is the key component to an effective public diplomacy strategy. Instead of listening to the world, to her Arab neighbors, to her left-leaning public and to the Palestinians, Israel sticks her fingers in her ears and continues to explain without success. In order for Israel's public diplomacy to succeed, more than anything, she needs to start listening.
-Naomi hold a Master of Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California 

Normally, it wouldn't irk me so much that my comments were not heard but Israel is of great concern to me. Being heard, especially as a left-leaning American Jew -- as a part of a group that does not always stand up and advocate for a better Israel because of the fear of being ostracized from the Jewish community -- and as a strong believer in the state of Israel and the future state of Palestine, I couldn't stay silent. All I am asking is for Israel and its diplomatiya tziboori [דיפלומטיה ציבורי - new public diplomacy] apparatus to start listening.

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