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
"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 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
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
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."