Israel’s deputy foreign minister and Twitter warrior, Danny Ayalon, recently released a video over YouTube that is doing quite well — posted on July 11, it now has nearly 180,000 hits. In it, Ayalon tries to explain why he thinks the West Bank should not be referred to as “occupied” and that settlements are not in effect settlements.
“Israel’s presence in the West Bank is the result of a war of self-defense and should not be seen as occupied territory; because there was no sovereign body there before, it should be called disputed,” Ayalon says in the video. “Please, let’s stop using the terms ‘occupied territories’ and ‘’67 borders,’ they’re simply not politically correct.”
Debate his history and the validity of what he’s saying — as most any reasonable observer of the conflict can do with a hand tied behind her back — but at least you have to admit that the presentation sure is slick. The video was created by filmmaker Shlomo Blass, who was responsible for the less slick and casually racist “We Con the World” video following the flotilla raid last year.
But Bass and the foreign ministry seem to have gotten lazy since, as the Jerusalem Post first pointed out in a glancing reference, Ayalon’s video is identical, image for image and in large part word for word, with one he made in May for the YESHA Council, the organization that represents and lobbies for the settlers. Here’s that video, called “The Territories: Who Do They Belong To?”:
It got far fewer hits — only a couple hundred. But Bass told the Jerusalem Post that it was after viewing this work that the foreign ministry asked if he could make them a version.
Should we not be concerned when the foreign ministry of Israel is using the same propaganda as the settlers? Or should we just assume that their interests are one?
Gal Beckerman was a staff writer and then the Forward’s opinion editor until 2014. He was previously an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review where he wrote essays and media criticism. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Bookforum. His first book, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry,” won the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, as well as being named a best book of the year by The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Follow Gal on Twitter at @galbeckerman