Articles

Israel can win the public diplomacy war

To stop winning battles and losing wars, Israel needs a professional, independent, public diplomacy agency.

The current Jerusalem conference on combatting anti-Semitism can be expected to generate a lot of talk and not much else. There is a general consensus in Israel that whereas the Israeli intelligence, defense and security establishments are excellent and fulfill their functions admirably both in normal times and in times of emergency, Israeli public diplomacy (hasbara in Hebrew) is woefully inadequate and fecklessly inept. Thus balancing and negating every operational success is a perceptional defeat, and the end result is that Israel is more and more misunderstood, denigrated and reviled, especially in Europe and the United States.

Perception matters. If reality and perception collide, perception will prevail in the psyche of the beholder and will guide his or her actions with reference to the situation observed. Such actions can and do render strategies and tactics on the part of the acting agent involved less effective than they would otherwise be.

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