Yesterday it was announced that the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy would dispatch "envoys" around the world in an attempt to undermine the upcoming plans for Israeli Apartheid Week (5-11 March). South Africa, and Johannesburg and Cape Town in particular, have been targeted by the Israeli PR delegation.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the participants of the Israeli "mission" have all "undergone several weeks of training in the Public Diplomacy Ministry" and will include settlers and "experts in national security". (See below for the original Jerusalem Post article.)
The Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy, Yuli Edelstein, said that "the answer" to initiatives such as Israeli Apartheid Week and delegitimization is "not just to give facts and data, but to bring Israel to them.” Edelstein further accused those organizing Israeli Apartheid Week of hatred and having the "disease" of ignorance.
Israel’s dispatch of propaganda is not new (the Israeli Public Diplomacy Ministry is often compared to Apartheid South Africa's notorious Department of Information). However, the open aggression and arrogance of an official Israeli Minister, in his position as a Minister, is astonishing.
The last time that Israel sent a delegation to "educate" South Africans it backfired, with SA's largest, oldest and most representative student groups slamming the Israeli delegation and actively undertaking programs of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
Office 915 | 9th Floor | Khotso House | 62 Marshall Street | Johannesburg
PO Box 2318 | Houghton | 2041 | Johannesburg
T: +27 (0) 11 241 7813 | F: +27 (0) 86 650 4836
BDS South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organization. NPO NUMBER: 084 306 NPO
BDS South Africa is a registered Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18A tax-deductible status. PBO NUMBER: 930 037 446
Photo by: Courtesy/Yuli Edelstein office
100 envoys to fight Israel Apartheid Week on campuses
By LAHAV HARKOV
Public Diplomacy Ministry to send Israelis from different sectors in society abroad to represent and defend the state.
The Public Diplomacy Ministry plans to send 100 Israelis from different sectors in society abroad to represent and defend the state during Israel Apartheid Week.
The “Faces of Israel” mission, which leaves next weekend, includes settlers, Arabs, artists, experts in national security, gay people, and immigrants from Ethiopia. Actor Aki Avni will also join the group.
The participants in the project have undergone several weeks of training in the Public Diplomacy Ministry, and will visit dozens of college campuses to battle the “apartheid” label in New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, Montreal, Dublin, London, Madrid, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The mission will be split into 20 groups that will participate in conferences and panels, as well as speak directly to college students.
“Most of those who hate Israel have the same disease: ignorance,” Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein said. “We are sure that the answer to the attempts to de-legitimize Israel is not just to give facts and data, but to bring Israel to them.”
According to Edelstein, the groups plan to explain to students that they are all Israelis who come from different walks of life, yet choose to remain in Israel. The mission’s participants were chosen to show that Israel has a diverse society that values equality and human rights, he explained.
The minister said he hopes that students abroad who are meeting real Israelis for the first time will stop the “messages of incitement and hatred that, at the end of the day, could reach students that are the leaders of tomorrow.”