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Friday, July 29, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Report: U.S. invests millions in effort to boost Obama's image in Israel

JERUSALEM — The United States has been pumping millions of dollars into Israel to help overcome the Jewish state's distrust of President Barack Obama.

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A State Department report said the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv has been facing rising Israeli distrust in the Obama administration. The department's Office of the Inspector-General reported that the embassy was given nearly $7 million a year to influence public opinion in the Jewish state.

"A fragile Israeli coalition government leans toward the views of its members from the nationalist and religious right, creating a challenge for diplomats seeking to build support for U.S. policies," the inspector-general said.


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The report, issued in March 2010, said U.S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, played a major role in revising the policy of the Jewish state, Middle East Newsline reported. But the embassy has failed to change Israeli public opinion against Obama.

"One of the embassy's challenges is how to build support for U.S. policies in Israel at a time when peace talks are under way and little can be said about them publicly despite intense public interest," the report said. "It will be useful to the United States for the ambassador, the DCM [deputy chief of mission], and the embassy's public diplomacy section to continue developing outreach programs that explain and advocate fundamental U.S. positions to Israeli audiences who may be becoming more distant from the United States than in the past."

The inspector-general team recommended that the embassy expand contacts with unidentified Israeli "mid-level politicians." Another recommendation was that the embassy increase reporting on "domestic factors that affect the policies and stability of Israel's coalition government."

The report said the embassy was managing a $6.8 million public affairs program to garner support for Washington's policy in the Middle East. The program included public appearances by the ambassador as well as exchange programs, grants and cultural events.

But the U.S. campaign has been hampered by a suspicious Israeli public and media. The report suggested that the Israeli media were exacerbating tension between Jerusalem and Washington.

"Much of the Israeli public is suspicious of U.S. efforts to promote negotiations aimed at establishing an independent Palestinian state," the report said. "The lively and fractious press often misinterprets American policies."

As a result, the inspector-general recommended that the embassy expand non-political programs, particularly in the area of culture. The embassy was also urged to brief Israeli think tanks on U.S. policy, particularly the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank by 2013.

"The embassy understands that, in some difficult political environments, cultural programs can be an effective way to communicate American values to wide audiences," the report said. "The OIG team recommended informally that the embassy use the new structure in PAS, as recommended earlier, to increase its communications about U.S. policies and values and to rebuild contacts with opinion leaders and influential think tanks."




Comments


Anyone who urges Israel to withdrawal to the 67 border lines cannot claim that he is favor of Israel. Moreover he is building nonrealistic expectations in the Arab world which will lead to a war. I am favor of peace between Palestinians and Israelis but there is no way we can withdrawal to those lines nor allow "Refugees" entering into Israel. Having said that, my views towards USA and its citizens didn't change a bit. I still think USA is a source of good in this world. I just don't agree with President Obama's policies, not just in the Middle East but rather around the world. USA is not just another country. It is unique and should stay like this for the rest of the world to follow.

Roey      11:03 a.m. / Sunday, July 31, 2011


Wow!!! Israel DOES run America!!

jerry      8:18 p.m. / Friday, July 29, 2011


These expenditures have nothing to do with convincing the Israeli public of the importance of a genuine peace process. Israelis want and need a permanent peace. The claim that its media is promoting an anti-American viewpoint is a total fairy tale. Among the nations of the world, the Israeli government & public has 1 of the highest (if not the highest) positive views of America. It is mistrust of Pres Obama and his intentions. Israelis have a right to be suspicious of Mr Obama's policies & pronouncements. Perhaps, I am cynical, but this campaign is more about improving Mr Obama's standing among American Jewish voters in 2012 than it is about the peace process. Polls indicate that a similar growing suspicion exists among American Jews regarding Mr Obama's policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What we are witnessing is the expenditure of US government funds for the promotion of the Obama re-election campaign.

Alan R Naftalis      4:34 p.m. / Friday, July 29, 2011

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