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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The Israeli Foreign Ministry never heard of weblogs?! Oy vey.

From Allison Kaplan Sommer via LittleGreenFootballs:
Pow-Wow at the Israeli Foreign Ministry
"If blogging has been light over the past few days, it's because I've been in Jerusalem most of the time attending this:
The Foreign Minister is currently hosting a three-day seminar to coordinate public relations efforts with heads of three privately funded Israel advocacy groups.

Gideon Meir, the ministry's deputy director-general for Public Affairs, said that "taking into consideration that the public relations budget is continuously on the decline, the fact that groups have sprouted up to help Israel advocacy in the US, and provide services worth a great deal of money, is something very welcomed by the Israeli government."

Among those attending the seminar are Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, head of the Israel Project, which conducts polling and focus group studies, helping the government craft its messages abroad; Mark Waldman and Andy Adelson, form Access Middle East, an organization providing information on Israel and the Middle East to journalists; and Larry Weinberg from Israel 21C, a group that places stories about Israel dealing with matters other than the conflict in the media.
I am sad to report that the Israeli government officials I am meeting with have never even HEARD of a blog. Sort of kills the theories about the Israelis paying off people like Charles and Michael.

Seriously, I have been trying to make some of them understand that there are these amazing people out there called bloggers who are advocating for Israel for FREE on their own time -- and many of them aren't Jewish OR fundamentalist Christians.

The officials, exhausted from arguing Israel's case 24/7 to an increasingly hostile world, find this hard to believe and too good to be true.

I think it's important that bloggers who support Israel remain independent voices and that the Israeli government should NOT try to coopt them in any way -- much as I'm tempted to try to think of a way for resources to be shared and help the Israeli officials tap the energy and intelligence and savvy of the blogosphere.

The fact that I could go on and on with links to bloggers who are supportive of Israel, including the big-timers, proves my point that blogs are an incredible resource for advocates of Israel (I'm NOT talking about advocates of any particular political position, I'm talking about the right of Israel and Israelis to exist, live and breathe.)

Gee, wouldn't everything be simpler if there actually WAS an international Jewish conspiracy?

Advocating for Israel has not been at the top of the American Jewish agenda in recent years -- for understandable reasons. I understand that community needs come first and that the responsibility of any institution or community is first and foremost, to perpetuate itself. But articles such as this one are a warning signal that attention must be paid."

Posted by aksommer at October 28, 2003 10:40 AM | TrackBack

from the Comments:
Don't forget Lorien's "Proud Friends of Israel" project, where she has almost 600 names on her list supporting Israel, many of them bloggers. (myself included. :-)

Posted by: celestial blue at October 28, 2003 03:55 PM