The Israeli Foreign Ministry Is Now Part of the Settlement Movement

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry has put out a YouTube video in which the deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, the former ambassador to the U.S., argues, in essence, the following: The West Bank belongs to Israel now and forever, so fuck off. At least, that's what I heard. Ayalon argues, among other things, "The West Bank should not be considered 'occupied' because there was no previous legal sovereign in the area and therefore the real definition should be 'disputed territory.' Ayalon neglects to mention that the salient point about the West Bank might not be who the "legal sovereign" was 44 years ago, but that actual people of another ethnic group live on the West Bank and don't want to be ruled -- "occupied" would be another word for "ruled" -- by a foreign power. To most of the world, at least (and to many, many Israelis and a clear majority of American Jews) this is what matters.

All in all, it's a cheesy and disturbing video. Now Gal Beckerman has come along to alert us that the Ayalon video was made by the same person who earlier had made essentially the same video for the settlement movement:

The video was created by filmmaker Shlomo Blass, who was responsible for the less slick and casually racist "We Con the World" video following the flotilla raid last year.

But Bass and the foreign ministry seem to have gotten lazy since, as the Jerusalem Post first pointed out in a glancing reference, Ayalon's video is identical, image for image and in large part word for word, with one he made in May for the YESHA Council, the organization that represents and lobbies for the settlers.

Beckerman goes on to ask:

Should we not be concerned when the foreign ministry of Israel is using the same propaganda as the settlers? Or should we just assume that their interests are one?

The answer is (b), we should just assume, at this moment, at least, that their interests are one.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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