Right-wing D.C. think tank spawns Israeli PR blunder
“We think this is an important Israeli contribution to the discussion of recent events,” the Center for Security Policy's Caroline Glick wrote on her Web site Friday, touting a video mocking Monday night's deadly flotilla incident, “and we hope you distribute it far and wide.”
Evidently Israeli media-relations officials took Glick's advice -- and set off a public relations backlash.
“We Con the World,” a parody of the 1985 Michael Jackson-Lionel Ritchie video, “We Are the World,” was produced by Latma TV, an Israel-based “project” of the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank with close ties to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, managed by Glick.
It opens with a man dressed as a ship captain singing, with mock earnestness, "There comes a time, when we need to make a show, for the world, the Web and CNN."
"There's no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the greatest bluff of all," another sings, apparently referring to the people on board the lead ship in the flotilla.
Sings another, “We must go on pretending day by day, that in Gaza, there's crisis, hunger and plague, ‘coz the billion bucks in aid won't buy their basic needs.”
Three hours after distributing the video link, and after several conservative Web sites had likewise touted it, Israeli media-relations officials apologized, saying it had been distributed “inadvertently.”
"We would like to recall the message, ‘Caroline Glick and the Flotilla Band,’” it said.
"Earlier today, we inadvertently released a video link that we had received, which was intended for our perusal, not for general release," a follow-up statement said. "The contents of the video in no way reflect the official policy of the State of Israel, the Government Press Office or any other government body."
A veteran CIA operations officer called the video “pretty clever agitprop,” a term for psychological warfare, implying it was done by, or on behalf of, the Netanyahu administration, which has been widely condemned for its attack on the Turkey-backed aid flottilla to Gaza.
Glick, who lives in Jerusalem, was a captain in the Israel Defense Forces in the mid-1990s and later served as assistant foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu during his 1997-1998 administration.
The Center for Security Policy was founded in 1988 by Frank Gaffney, Jr., a Reagan-administration Defense Department official, who has close ties to prominent pro-Israel activists.
| June 6, 2010; 6:15 PM ET
Categories: Foreign policy, Intelligence, Military
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