New ambassador to UK tackles Israel's media image

Prosor: I want to present the case for Israel wherever we can and put it in context.

Prosor 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prosor 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel's new ambassador to London is spearheading a new campaign to make Israel's case more succinctly in the country's media and has vowed to work more closely with the UK's Jewish communities to do so. As part of a bold new strategy, Ambassador Ron Prosor, who arrived in the UK in November, wants to focus on media perceptions of Israel. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Prosor said: "I want to present the case for Israel wherever we can and put it in context." Prosor said he intends to maintain a higher media profile than his predecessor. This past week alone, he has been interviewed on Sky News, the BBC and the Times newspaper. On Wednesday, the ambassador is scheduled to address students at University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, known for having student population hostile to Israel. "I want to show what happens daily in Israel, what are we dealing and coping with. Our case is not conveyed in a way that explains our dilemmas," he said. "We feel we are a democracy under fire, encountering phenomena and pressure that Western democracies have never experienced." Prosor is also using other outlets, such as the online video-sharing network YouTube, to get Israel's message across. In addition to bolstering Israel's image in the UK, Prosor also wants to empower the UK's Jewish communities and give them more support. "I feel we have not given them enough support for all their work," he said. "We have to reach out and take our case to places where we have not been for years. It will be tough, I have told everyone in the embassy we are coming out of London to make the case for Israel." On Thursday, Prosor led a delegation of Israeli embassy staff to Manchester to meet an array of business, community, civic and faith leaders. Following a meeting with Glynn Evans, lord mayor of Manchester, Prosor wrote a message in the town hall visitors' book: "As Israel commences the celebration of its 60th anniversary, the embassy commends the work of the Jewish communities around the UK. Manchester, with its plethora of opportunities for its Jewish residents, is an outstanding advocate for the Jewish people. "... We extend our support to the initiatives aimed at increasing cultural understanding within and between Jewish and non-Jewish groups. In this year of celebrations, we join the lord mayor in endorsing the particular vision for a brighter and more enriched future for the young people of Manchester." The delegation also met with the managers of Manchester's soccer clubs, Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Sven Goran Eriksson at Manchester City, where they talked about Israeli soccer, soccer tours to Israel, selling merchandise in Israel and playing "friendlies." Following a meeting with faith leaders, where the delegation spoke about building connections between faiths, the delegation had lunch with Jewish community leaders. The ambassador also visited the King David School, Manchester's Jewish high school, where he addressed students and encouraged them to get active in raising awareness of Israel's MIAs. The delegation met with business and cultural leaders as well. Deputy Ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher addressed an audience at Manchester Business School while economics attaché Shmuel Ben-Tovim addressed the Manchester Chamber of Commerce about business and educational links with Israeli institutions. On Thursday night, Prosor was guest of honor, along with former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, at a United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner. Over 450 people attended the event at Manchester's Hilton hotel.