The Israeli foreign ministry has called on 10 of its embassies in Europe to begin an advocacy campaign for Israel, starting with recruiting 1,000 public members. The new policy comes in response to the boycott campaigns against Israel that are gaining support in Europe. According to The Guardian, the Israeli foreign affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman sent instructions to 10 embassies last week, to start adopting measures in order to improve the image of the country in Europe.
The first order suggested meeting 1,000 people by the middle of January, who should be willing to send positive messages about Israel to the general public. ‘Jewish or Christian activists, academics, journalists and students, who will be briefed regularly by Israeli officials and encouraged to speak up for Israel at public meetings or write letters or articles for the press,’ The Guardian reported.
In addition, the Israeli government will give funds to its embassies in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Rome to hire professional PR firms and lobbyists. The aim will be to research the opinion of the population regarding to Israel’s position about political issues, such as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, tourism, human rights and Iran.
Lieberman is also planning to meet with the Israeli ambassadors across Europe to plan a joint strategy.
No comment about the issue was made by the Israeli officials, but The Guardian reported that within them ‘there is anxiety about the way Israel is perceived abroad, particular worry in certain countries in Western Europe.’
It is not the first time that Israel launches a strategic policy to improve its image. The last campaign was held in December 2008 during the war on Gaza. At that time, numerous social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were used by the Israeli government promote a pretty picture of the attack.
However, this new policy comes when the cultural and economic boycott campaigns against Israel’s Occupation in Palestine, led by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, are gaining importance in Israel and worldwide.