...The model of hasbara, or public diplomacy, that Israel has employed for decades is premised on the persuasiveness of reason, evidence, context, truth, fairness, and apology. Anyone who has been following events in Israel over the past few years understands how profoundly this strategy has failed. For obvious historic reasons, many Jews have internalized the dangerous belief that the best way to respond to condemnation is to show how unthreatening and willing to criticize and investigate themselves they are. The problem is that not only doesn’t this work; it actually invites further attack by rewarding those who defame and incite against the Jewish state.
Israel’s hasbara strategy must shift to one that is based on power, self-confidence, and an eagerness to vigorously condemn its defamers. This is the difference between driving the debate and reacting to it, refuting lies and validating them, offense and defense, setting the agenda versus being on the agenda. If the Israelis wish to see a good model for how to set the terms of a controversy, they need only look at the Turkish prime minister’s brilliant performance this week.