Wake-up Call for Prime Minister’s Office

February 8, 2012 by Isi Leibler
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The latest round of allegations in the Israel media about the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) contends that the chief executive harassed and took inappropriate photographs of a female employee. As the employee herself adamantly refuses to press charges, the outcome of this episode is unclear…writes Isi Leibler.

Isi Leibler

Yet, it seems that key executives in the Prime Minister’s Office, one of the most important divisions of government, are engaged in bitter infighting and failing to fulfill their primary obligations.

However, the principal failure of the PMO unquestionably precedes the Netanyahu government and is not related to personality conflicts. It is the long standing inability to implement a strategy to ensure that vital government information services are efficiently managed and coordinated at the political and military level. One would have expected that for a Prime Minister like Binyamin Netanyahu who is sensitive to the importance of the war of ideas, rectifying this state of affairs would have been a priority.

In the forthcoming months, Israel will be facing a number of major diplomatic confrontations.

Ironically, despite Israel’s uniquely powerful ability today to display our bona fides to the world at large, due to a combination of incompetence and failure to respond in a timely manner as issues arise, our case continues to be ineffectively advocated.

This was exemplified only last week, by the manner in which we mishandled the current breakdown of the peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel agreed to discussions without preconditions. It was the Palestinians who broke the talks on the grounds that we rejected their outrageous demands to accede to another settlement freeze and recognize the 1967 armistice lines as the opening benchmark for negotiating borders. Yet the Palestinians succeeded in convincing the global media that the talks had been jettisoned due to our intransigence.

Only several days later did an Israeli government spokesman explain belatedly that the Palestinians refused to even listen to our security requirements, making it inconceivable for us to start drawing maps.

The principal long-term failure of successive Israeli governments has been that they remained oblivious to the critical imperative of promoting our narrative in a timely and effective manner. In sharp contrast the Palestinians, repeatedly and systematically, articulate their distorted and false version, which, alas, much of the world now blindly accepts.
Again and again we hear about the purported burgeoning millions of displaced and suffering Palestinian refugees “expelled” by Israel. We seem to have given up refuting these lies.
It is also only recently that we began drawing attention to the fact that when the Jewish State was created a massive expulsion of Jews from Moslem countries took place for whom no restitution was provided and who are now fully integrated into Israeli society.

On the other hand, we frenziedly concentrate on justifying our “legitimacy” and “right to exist as a nation” to the point where it has become a counterproductive exercise.
Whereas during his June visit to Washington, Netanyahu adamantly conveyed to President Obama why ‘67 borders plus “agreed” swaps were a prescription for disaster, we subsequently fell silent when the Europeans and others pressed us to implement this formulation. Israeli spokesmen should be vigorously rejecting this demand, pointing out  that it conflicts with 1967 UN Resolution 242, is out of synch with the undertakings made to Israel by the former Bush Administration and would expose Israel to utterly indefensible borders. Furthermore, that swaps based on mutual agreement are never likely to be consummated with the intransigent Palestinians. If we fail to firmly repudiate these demands today, a possibly re-elected Obama will be encouraged to seek to impose these disastrous borders upon us in the future.
Likewise, we must press the Americans and others to publicly support our rejection of the “right of return” for Palestinians to Israel as demanded by the PA, stressing that its implementation would effectively result in the demise of the Jewish State.

It is only over the past few weeks that the Prime Minister has, at long last, begun hammering the truth about the culture of death and criminality, including calls to murder Jews, imposed by Palestinian leaders at all levels of their society. Documented evidence of this barbaric brainwashing from kindergarten level exposes the charade of portraying the Palestinian leaders as genuine peace partners.
We must also actively refute the bizarre liberal Western and US efforts to depict the hate-filled Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a moderate group. Otherwise, we encourage a future US administration to delude itself into believing that strategic national interests oblige it to seek an accommodation and appease the new Islamic regimes by pressuring us to make further unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. We must explain that appeasing extremists harms Western interests and will inevitably serve to embolden and encourage Jihadists to extort more in order to achieve their ultimate goal of global domination.

In this context, there is no doubt that the Sunnis and Shiites remain at loggerheads and that the Saudis would be overjoyed if we intervened to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear status. Yet we should point out that the one issue which continues to unite extremist Sunnis and Shiites is the ultimate objective of eliminating Jewish sovereignty in the region, even if genocidal means are required to achieve that goal.
Benjamin Netanyahu is blessed with an extraordinary gift of articulating the case for Israel. But no matter how talented he is, unless he ensures that the government employs competent people with the capability of expeditiously responding in the war of ideas, he will be held accountable for our failures in this area.

He must recognize that one of the highest priorities of his office is to provide effective liaison between the IDF, the Foreign Ministry and other divisions to ensure that Israel responds speedily and acts efficiently in the face of the ongoing defamatory campaigns being launched against us. Today we invariably seem to be the last cab off the rank when it comes to damage control. By the time we respond to Palestinian lies and subterfuge, it is invariably too late and the falsehoods which dominated the media cannot be undone.

Examples abound. One need only recall the Jenin “massacre”, the Muhammad Al- Dura hoax, the Goldstone Report, the Mavi Marmara flotilla and the ongoing stream of false allegations in which our responses were always far too late and frequently ineffectual.

We have a powerful case based on facts which cannot be refuted. But it must be communicated clearly and professionally. It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office to implement this and it is Netanyahu’s direct obligation to ensure that his office is operated by the best available staff. Until now, even though there are a number of talented individuals serving in the PMO, the information services remain an abysmal failure. The time is overdue for the Prime Minister to intervene and if some of his current staff are incapable of fulfilling their obligations, he should recruit a new crew competent to do so.

Comments

2 Responses to “Wake-up Call for Prime Minister’s Office”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Isi Leibler, it is refreshing to read your succinct and timely words about the lack of effective communication to the world by Israeli government spokespeople. This has been a problem for a long time and, as you say, we now have the situation where there’s no examination of Palestinian rhetoric, just instant acceptance and increasing dislike of and negative judgement of Israel. And, it needs more than one sole spokesperson commenting on each issue as it arises; it needs others in the diaspora taking up the voice – writers, Jewish community leaders et al. So, that we end up with a vigorous factual representation said as often as is necessary to get our point across. If our first efforts are rebutted, we should continue, not give up.

    It is my observation that many Jewish people talk among themselves and keep a low profile. This is the worst thing you can do. We are more known for our disagreement amongst ourselves on issues and politics (which, of course, is a healthy way to be, but unfortunately counter-productive in these kinds of instances by being picked up and used by those blind to the complexity of issues and disinterested in fairness) than we are for quickly standing up for ourselves loudly and clearly. It’s up to all of us.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    Whenever someone’s credibility is being called into question, male or female, sexual harrasment, assault or misconduct is always the weapon. In wars it’s rape of men, women and children, what’s wrong with everybody.

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