Edelstein: 'Hamas, bin Laden are the same gang'

Public Diplomacy Minister tells 20 Questions his views on the bin Laden execution, the Hamas-Fatah deal, and Israel's ongoing hasbara efforts.

20 questions 58 (photo credit: courtsey)
20 questions 58
(photo credit: courtsey)
This week’s 20 Questions hosts Yuli Edelstein, Likud MK and Public Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Minister.
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Edelstein asserts that the argument that Israel has been using for years along the lines of, “see what they do and then they condemn us for doing the same thing” doesn’t work. While Israel needs to remind the world that Hamas terrorists are copycats of Osama bin Laden, and that mourning the death of the Al Qaida “martyr” and condemning the “terrible, cruel act of the American administration in killing him” is inexcusable, Israel should be focusing its hasbara efforts on showing a truer picture of the country’s reality.
Edelstein believes that the number one fallacy regarding the perception of Israel is that it is a war zone with its citizens sitting in bomb shelters – an image, he says, perpetuated by the foreign press correspondents based here, whose primary mandate is to cover the conflict.
Edelstein’s office concentrates its energies on showing the world Israel’s flourishing democracy, and in particular, pointing out just how relevant Israel is to billions of people around the world that don’t have the first idea that things ranging from USB sticks to certain medicines would not exist if the Jewish state didn’t either.
Edelstein admits that the decision to release graphic photos of the Fogel family was not an easy one to make. He added that the image of Glenn Beck holding the pictures on Fox news without showing them to the camera was more effective than publicizing the photos themselves. 
Edelstein postulates that while sometimes the conflicting voices coming from the same government makes his job more difficult, it also illustrates how democratic and dynamic Israel is for allowing different opinions to be openly expressed.
He also denounces the argument that two big parliamentary parties would be better than having twenty different factions, explaining that this would not suit Israel’s young, mosaic society.
In response to the Hamas-Fatah unity, Edelstein believes that it is inevitable that anyone running for office from either the PA or Hamas will compete in showing who hates Israel more and what they will do to Israel if elected. However, he acknowledges the conundrum that Israel can’t realistically sign a viable agreement with the PA as long as Hamas continues to rule over half the Palestinian population.
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