Monday, January 16, 2012

Israeli students for hire and other hasbara stories

El Al employees are being informed about the evil nature of judge Goldstone. Hasbara is everywhere in Israel it seems. In September it also hit the skies, after it was decided that the employees of El Al would be trained by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Hasbara and the organisation Stand with Us to represent the beautiful face of Israel''. (Photo Stand with Us)

'The wave of anti-Israeli criticism sweeping across many countries, including in North America' has prompted the Jewish Agency to significantly increase the number of Shlichim (emissaries) abroad, s Ynet writes this Monday. These emissaries, who engage in advocacy for the State of Israel have been a central part of the Jewish Agency's vision during the past two and a half years.
Jewish Agency's chairman Natan Sharansky believes sending more shlichim to campuses in North America will tilt scales in the fight against de-legitimization of Israel. Nowadays some 400 Jewish Agency emissaries are spread across the globe, out of which some 250 are stationed in North America. Until recently, the shlichim fulfilled a more educational role in the Jewish communities to which they were sent. However, according to Ynet, 'events in the past few years, including the Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, the Gaza blockade and the flotilla raid, compelled the agency to change direction'. A Jewish Agency official noted that the political affiliation of the emissaries is irrelevant in this case: "We don’t care whether they vote Likud or Meretz. What's important is that they love Israel and fight against the movement that denies the Jewish people's right to exist and its right for its own country."

That not all. Recently Ali Abunimah revealed on his blog that The National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has become a full-time partner in the Israeli government’s efforts to spread its propaganda online and on college campuses around the world. NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for 5 hours per week from the “comfort of home,” he writes.  The union is also partnering with Israel’s Jewish Agency to send Israeli students as missionaries to spread propaganda in other countries, for which they will also receive a stipend.

Abunimah also found out that the NUIS receives funding from the ministry of Foreigh Affairs, the ministry of Hasbara, the Jewish Agency  and the organisation StandWithUs to carry out  hasbara activities abroad. Such is stated in NUIS’s 2011-2012 workplan and budget. Quote: Plan: using students who go on delegations abroad on behalf of the Union (approximately 250 students a year) for hasbara purposes. Before each delegation the students will undergo a hasbara workshop on behalf of the Ministry of Hasbara, which will give them the tools and information to contend with the questions and the critical salvos and the ability to present in their stead “a different Israel.”
Abunimah reveals that the hasbara training is compulsory for students who want to be sent abroad.
Furthermore in its workplan, the NUIS Foreign Relations Department sets as a target: “Explaining Israeli policy in the European Student Union” (ESU). Abunimah quotes that it will do this by:
Sending a quarterly report to the ESU about the situation in Israel, relying on reports issued by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Hasbara, the SWU [StandWithUs] organization, and others.

 According to its budget, NUIS receives the following grants:
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs scholarship project: NIS 180,000 ($47,000)
  • Jewish Agency scholarship project: NIS 100,000 ($26,000)
  • Nefesh Yehudi org: NIS 300,000 ($78,000)
On the expenditure side, the Foreign Relations Department budget includes a payment of NIS 5000 ($1300) to StandWithUs.

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