Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
1. The Israeli state comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss, issued a report sharply critical of the government’s handling of the Mavi Marmara raid. Among other things, he faulted public diplomacy efforts in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and IDF. According to YNet:
- “While the flotilla’s organizers flooded the media with reports placing Israel in an extremely bad light, nothing was said in Israel until noon.”
- “The public diplomacy bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office did not distinguish between Israel’s domestic messages and those directed to the international community.”
- The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit “acted as Israel’s public diplomacy bureau by default and operated in areas which exceed its responsibility, due to the weakness of other state advocacy bodies.”
- “The delay in the transfer of photographic material critical for Israel’s public response to the raid was largely due to the IDF’s sensitivities in domestic hasbara.”
- “No element was tasked with overseeing overall communication with foreign press.”
- Before and after the raid, “there was hardly any Arabic-language hasbara.”
Lindenstrauss concluded this part of his report by recommending a comprehensive plan to improve Israel’s public diplomacy under the prime minister’s guidance.
2. I knew someone in college like Swedish twitterer Sonja Abrahamsson. I was probably the first Jew she had ever met and it made for some very awkward conversations. Thankfully, we weren’t experimenting in Swedish social media democracy before 30,000 followers like Sonja.
See also AP coverage.
3. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are providing light weapons to Syrian rebels — but only those affiliated with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. That’s what an unidentified “Western diplomat in Ankara” told The Independent:
The vetting process was aimed at preventing the weapons from falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. Yet, the diplomat voiced concerns that, in practice, the weapons have only been delivered to rebels sympathetic to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, the dominant group within the SNC. “Only Muslim Brother groups are getting weapons,” he said. Activists along the border not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood said they had not heard of the weapons being delivered until just a few days ago.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel’s now blamed for last year’s murder of Juliano Mer Khamis. It’s well known that a lot of Palestinians didn’t like Mer Khamis, who was director of the Jenin Freedom Theater. If the IDF were interested in him, they would’ve arrested him. Despite all that, The Guardian‘s theater columnist, Howard Brenton, writes:
On 3 April last year, its artistic director and co-founder, the Arab-Israeli actor and peace activist Juliano Mer Khamis, got into his car outside the theatre with his son Jay and a babysitter. Reports vary as to the exact details, but it appears that 100 yards from the theatre he was waved down, then shot five times in the head by a masked gunman, who fled into the maze of the camp’s alleys. Jay was uninjured, the babysitter hit in the arm. No one has yet been apprehended for Mer Khamis’s murder. From that shocking day there has been what can only be seen as a systematic harassment of the Freedom theatre by the Israeli army.