The new frontiers of Israeli diplomacy, ctd.: Danish Parliamentarians humiliated
Coteret has been a close follower of the current Israeli government’s groundbreaking approach to diplomacy. Previous installments in the series included: Danny Ayalon, Experimental Diplomat, Why a Neoconservative Ambassador to Obama’s Washington is an Interesting Idea and Dore Gold, Just What Israel Needs at the UN. Below is the latest chapter: Ministers Have No Time to Meet Friendly Parliamentarians.
The Foreign Ministry source mentioned Hasbara and one is reminded that time has been found for Ministerial engagement in patently silly public diplomacy schemes.
Foreign Ministry official: “It is a shame. Arranging meetings for foreign delegations with Israeli ministers is practically impossible”
Shlomo Cezana, Israel Hayom, April 26 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
This is no way to promote a PR campaign: Israel’s Ambassador in Copenhagen Arthur Avnon was reprimanded last week in Denmark after Danish MPs were humiliated while visiting Israel.
A group of Danish parliamentarians and members of their Foreign Policy Committee visited Israel recently. The influential group, which comprised members of the pro-Israeli Conservative People’s Party expected to meet senior Israeli policymakers. In practice, however, the Foreign Ministry was unable to convince any senior official to meet with the distinguished guests.All the attempts to arrange a meeting with one of Israel’s 15-member diplomatic-security cabinet or other leading politicians have failed. Only after great efforts were made did the Foreign Ministry manage to arrange a meeting for the Danish visitors with Transportation Minister Israel Katz. The Danish Embassy in Tel Aviv notified the visitors that a meeting with a transportation minister will not match their wish to meet foreign affairs policymakers. The angry delegation went on to visit the PA and Syria, where hospitality was properly bestowed upon them and they were received by leading government officials.
The Danish delegation members were further upset after Israel refused to let them tour the Gaza Strip, acting on its prevailing policy to deny such visits until Gilad Schalit is released from Hamas captivity.
Subsequently, an angry message was personally presented to Ambassador Avnon by the Danish Committee Chairperson, Mrs. [sic] Eva Kjer Hansen, and he sent it to his superiors in Jerusalem. A senior Foreign Ministry official said he was not surprised. “It is just a shame, but such things happen all the time,” he said. “Arranging meetings for foreign delegations with Israeli ministers is practically impossible. Such requests are scorned and we are made to understand it would be a waste of time. For us, such meetings are part of the Israeli Hasbara efforts, and even much diplomatic work will not help after every such unsuccessful visit here.”