The Israeli Foreign Ministry Is Now Part of the Settlement Movement

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/07/the-israeli-foreign-ministry-is-now-part-of-the-settlement-movement/242246/