Ben-Eliezer slams ‘shameful’ effort to explain policies

Minister says public diplomacy failed and put the country in a difficult situation.

June 4, 2010 05:02
1 minute read.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-El

ben eliezer writing 311. (photo credit: Eli Neeman)

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer called Israel’s efforts to explain its policies in the aftermath of the Gaza blockade runners raid “shameful,” speaking at a meeting of Labor Party ministers on Thursday.

The government’s public diplomacy had failed and put the country in a difficult situation, Ben-Eliezer said.

Labor chairman Ehud Barak was initially reported as also criticizing the public relations effort, but his office released a statement quoting him as saying that “even if we don’t like what has been broadcast about the flotilla in the international media, we must understand that complicated situations are difficult to defend.”

Barak, who was speaking in Hebrew, then added an English legal maxim, “hard cases make bad law,” which according to a dictionary means that “a particularly unpleasant case is a poor basis for a general law covering a wider range of less extreme cases, because it causes the clarity of the law to be obscured by exceptions and strained interpretations.”

Foreign Ministry officials responded to Ben-Eliezer by saying that politicians who criticize Israel’s public diplomacy effort rarely actually see foreign newspapers or watch foreign press.

“They attack Israel for not having enough of a presence in the foreign media when they don’t even know the difference between BBC and CNN,” a Foreign Ministry official said. “If they did, they would discover that Israel’s message is being heard loud and clear. This is not the time to score political points when we are facing such challenges.”

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