A 'failing' mark in public diplomacy

The State Comptroller''s report on the Flotilla incident also included many dozens of pages critical of Israel''s public diplomacy apparatus.


I have just now viewed today''s BBC interview with Israel''s former Ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon.  His less-than-adequate performance or to be generous, his inability to see an opening when presented and blow a huge hole on behalf of Israel is indicative of the problems.


Zeinab Badawi asked him a question that included a reference to the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood and Levanon began by saying "we all know what is their agenda" and then went off on a tangent.  But do we all really know?  Israelis all know?  Europeans all know?  BBC?  CNN?  ITV?  CBS?


No, they do not all know and Levanon lost an opportunity to say something like, "and we all should know that the MB is an extremist Islamic group that has been negating Zionism since the 1930s and supports Hamas terror directed against Israel''s civilians."


He then was provided with a second opportunity.  And again assumed his viewers are aware of certain  facts and that the goals of the MB are "well-known".  He then suggested that foremost the Muslium Brotherhood wanted to facilitate reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.  He ignored previous pronouncements that indicated the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty could be endangered and and let Mursi''s yesterday''s public statement go unchallenged.


He finally recouped lost ground by mentioning the existence of the Salafist party and its desire to enter into Egypt''s government.  They were, in his words, "more radical".  More deadly, more anti-Israel, anti-Jewish could have been more useful as descriptions, of course.


And the Foreign Ministry prides itself on the expertise of its diplomats.