Monday, March 1, 2010

Masbirim

The Israel Ministry of Information has launched a website (masbirim.gov.il) to help Israelis better represent their own country, lauding the country's equal treatment of minorities and democratic ways. In a true demonstration of Israel's openness, some left-wing internet gurus have created a site at masbirim.co.il mocking the government's site and poking fun at its format.

It doesnt take a Hebrew speaker to realize that important dates are left out of the timeline. 2001, for example, when the 2nd Intifada began, does not appear in the timeline. Also it mentions Nobel Prize winners such as Ada Yonat, while conveniently leaving out Professor Yonat's harsh criticism of the current government.

But the most egregious mistake is the assertion that foreign media think Israelis ride around on camels. Even if this is the case, noone is accusing Israel of launching missile strikes from camels. Clearly the Ministry of Information has no quantitative data on which to base its understanding of how the foreign media views Israel. Hint: ignoring the 2nd Intifada is not going to fool them.

Israel needs better hasbara, but this website only displays what centrists have known for years: the Israeli government is painfully out of touch with reality in the foreign media. Compared to sites like arabnews.com (censored by the Saudi government) or the FARS news agency (Iran semi-official news agency), the current site is kind of a joke, and not even Israelis themselves are fooled.

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