"Six months after Israel launched a 22-day offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip that killed more than 1400 Palestinians, the country has faced one of the worst public relations crises," reports The Age. "In the last week alone, Israel has been forced to defend itself against harsh criticisms in reports published by the Red Cross, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's communications chief, Ron Dermer, wants to centralize "the Israeli Government's responses to issues raised by the foreign media into a kind of war room, and make better use of public opinion research." Dermer also plans to "start shaming those countries and organisations that hold Israel to a different standard. '[People] who get together to call for a boycott against Israel, are they also calling for a boycott against North Korea, the world's largest concentration camp? Against Iran, where they hang homosexuals?,'" he asked. To hold Israel to a different standard, Dermer claimed, is "anti-Semitic." Israeli public diplomacy expert Eytan Gilbao "says Israel will have to spend 10 times its current PR budget if it really wants to change international perceptions." The former director of the Israeli government's press office, Uri Dromi, counters, "Israel has a policy problem, not a PR problem. ... Israel should not be in the [occupied] West Bank in the first place."
By Diane Farsetta on July 07, 2009