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Posted at 6:15 PM ET, 06/ 6/2010

Right-wing D.C. think tank spawns Israeli PR blunder

By Jeff Stein

“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.

By Jeff Stein  | June 6, 2010; 6:15 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Military  
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This video intended as satire brilliantly illustrate the dominant Israeli view of the event. It was even distributed to international media by Israeli officials before it was withdrawn. Why withdraw it? Because it could just as well be be seen as hasbara parody.

Posted by: gar14 | June 6, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

George Armstrong Netanyahu is surrounded by millions of Sioux on the warpath, then he goes and offends another tribe who previously were friendly.

Another miscalculation like this, we will be referring to it as his last stand. Bibi should resign while he still has a chance.

Posted by: alance | June 6, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess Caroline Glick never heard what happened to Joe Bob Briggs.

Posted by: mattintx | June 6, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

This is another display of arrogant idiocy by a government that obviously does not understand that it is loosing the propoganda war. It is one policy blunder after another.

Posted by: 100reader | June 7, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

It seems that the arrogance of Israelis and many Jewish supporters everywhere (as well as those foolish and silly Rapture Evangelical Christian types) is so sick and unaware of how they appear to the rest of the world. No self respecting Jewish graduate of a Yeshiva's rigourous education and training in logic and argument would believe this claptrap of current defense for high seas piracy: the attackers are victim, the tapes are doctored, the unarmed are violent, the unarmed are the assailants, the oppressors are the oppressed.

Why do 30 Arabs die for every Jew killed in the ongoing struggles, but yet, the Jews are the victims? Offensive forward defense is OK for Jews, but aid for hungry victims of ongoing collective punishment is not OK? Do you really believe that what these tough, successful and rich Israelis are doing is the best thing for normalizing Israeli relations with the world in the future? Do thay want normalization? What happened to Torah teachings and the six thousand year old traditions of Judaism, with its respect of others, tolerance, informed argument, charity and diversity?

Let's get real: Israel is a rich, sophisticated country that exploits its ethnic history of persecution to now persecute others, doing things that unfairly were done to Jews in centuries past. To perpetuate the idea that Jews are never perpetrators or tyrants, but always victims and innocent, is one of the great myths in Jewish folklore and enables the eventual destruction of everything that has made Jews special. There is so much to admire, and yet it is Jews who are destroying the essential qualities of being Jewish. Israel leads a temporal existence.
Ain't it ironic?

Posted by: enough3 | June 7, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I thought the video of the commandos being dropped one by one onto the ship and then attacked was good propaganda. Droppnig guys one by one onto the deck isn't the way to seize a ship, but it does create video of a mob attacking individual Jews, which the edited Israeli videotape documents. I'm sure that inflamed the Israeli public.

Posted by: blasmaic | June 7, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

When you are God's chosen people, you live by a different set of rules. The only suprising thing is that they apologized. Imagine God's people apologizing to the low-life trash of the world!

With friends like Israel, who needs enemies??

Posted by: xconservative | June 7, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

This certainly was not a "Public Relations Blunder" on the part of Israel. It was brilliant parody of the overwhelmingly one-sided hypocritical media hysteria erupting after this very successful Hamas-laid trap.

It's unnecessary here to go into the valid reasons for this blockade of an area wide missile launching site.

We need more of this piercing of the Islamic balloon.

Bravo for the producers of "We Con The World".

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | June 7, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

This certainly was not a "Public Relations Blunder" on the part of Israel. It was brilliant parody of the overwhelmingly one-sided hypocritical media hysteria erupting after this very successful Hamas-laid trap.

It's unnecessary here to go into the valid reasons for this blockade of an area wide missile launching site.

We need more of this piercing of the Islamic balloon.

Bravo for the producers of "We Con The World".


I believe the YouTube viewer-counter has over 500,000 "hits' or views. Some "...blunder...".

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | June 7, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

English translation of "overwhelmingly one-sided hypocritical media hysteria": reports that don't seem to agree with my viewpoint. I doubt anyone using such a phrase would really be outraged at one-sided reports agreeing with them. Who really wants even-handed reporting, unless we define even-handed like Fox defines "fair and balanced." People n the right and left increasingly just want reports that agree with them.

Posted by: Sutter | June 7, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

This article totally fails to recognize the "Lionel Ritchie-Michael Jackson" song as being the Live Aid song that was sung by about every famous singer in 1985 with the prompting of Boomtown Rat Bob Geldolf.

A better variation was about the life of our underground friends after a rainstorm. "We Are the Worms, out on the pavement. We hear a squish and turn to see where Cousin Dave went."

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | June 7, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

This event proves my point that both sides are using propaganda to paint itself the good guy while the other side is bad. Sadly, that does nothing but continues the same folly everyday.

I've been observing the Middle East conflict on both sides for the last 30 years and nothing has change.

Posted by: beeker25 | June 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Stein is probably one of those self-hating Jews who knows just what side to butter the bread in order to keep his job with the Washington Post.

The anti-Semitic, WaPo-CIA, Yale nexus rears its ugly head.

Too bad your matriarch today took it on her jowly chin, Jeff.

Posted by: RaiderDan | June 7, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

For a refreshing viewpoint, or, "the other side of the story", all readers/commenters should visit a website called Honest Reporting.

These folks are documenting the distortions/omissions/Photoshopped pictures which are bandied about as media "coverage". They've caught out the likes of the BBC with a frequency that has "The Beeb" assuming a stiff upper lip unease.

Go ahead, look at "Honest Reporting".

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | June 7, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The parody wasn't funny at all, artless, crude. Maybe funny to right-wing Jews, but not to anyone with a sense of fairness. Israel has outlived its usefulness to the USA as an ally, and long ago outlived its usefulness as reparation for the atrocities of WWII. It's time for the UN to revoke Israel's charter, to end this failed experiment. Helen Thomas is right.

Posted by: jimmyb2020 | June 9, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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