Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is putting out a series of misleading videos on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Danny Ayalon / Reuters
At the end of 2011, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, posted the third video in his YouTube series about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These polished presentations are produced by an Israeli public relations firm in collaboration with StandWithUs, a U.S.-based group that counters criticism of Israeli policies regarding Palestinian. The series is promoted as "explanations of the historical facts" of the core issues of the conflict -- thus far covering the peace process, the West Bank, and most recently, refugees. (A fourth video on Jerusalem is said to be forthcoming.)
Ayalon is a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and currently a Knesset member representing Yisrael Beitenieu, an ultra-nationalist party that advocates the transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of a political settlement. An avid user of social media -- recognized by Foreign Policy in their who's who of 100 Tweeters in 2011 -- he maintains a personal website in Hebrew and English, including links to his widely viewed and frequently reposted Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. The refugee video alone garnered 37,000 hits within the first two weeks of its release, and currently has over 140,000 views. Ayalon reportedly plans to promote the clips, available in eight languages, globally for use in regular school curricula. The deputy foreign minister has particularly strong appeal among some Christian evangelicals and conservative members of U.S. Congress, with whom he and his party have long cultivated ties and to whom much of his communications appears geared. In short, his effort to influence the narrative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can have consequences.