Inside the Middle East
August 5, 2011
Posted: 1019 GMT
 Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon speaks before a Knesset committee.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon speaks before a Knesset committee.

He is a vocal proponent of Israel's foreign policy and his no holds barred approach to diplomacy has bought him many critics, but love him or hate him, it is hard to ignore Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

With an extremely high-profile on the web,  Ayalon, a member of Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beiteinu nationalist political party and a former Israeli ambassador to United States , has been recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the leading politicians around the globe utilizing social media.

Whether spending his time tweeting in 3 different languages, openly voicing personal opinions on his Facebook  wall, making new friends on Google+ or posting videos and publications on his slick website , Ayalon has earned himself thousands of followers around the globe.

Ayalon's most recent and controversial social media venture is a new YouTube video  titled "Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth about the West Bank" in which he attempts to poke holes in what he says are some common misconceptions regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and vigorously advocates Jewish presence in them. The video has drawn some quarter of a million views and not surprisingly has attracted a mix of comments of condemnation and praise.

Ayalon's video quickly moved beyond the web, however, and into the rough and tumble politics of Middle East diplomacy. Shortly after the video was released top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat released a blistering statement calling the post 'offensive' commenting "With this video, the Israeli government has left no doubt on its pro-conflict agenda. Now, the international community knows the Israeli government is committed to denying the Palestinian people their inalienable right to self-determination and on continuing their [sic] illegal and colonial enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

"The fact that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, are illegal is not in dispute, except in minds of the advocates of occupations", Erakat said. "We call on the international community to demand an official explanation from the Government of Israel regarding this video, which openly expresses hostility towards the Palestinian people."

Ayalon, who has been a vocal critic of the Palestinian Authority's bid to win UN recognition in September, challenged Erakat to "an open debate on all the issues ahead of September."

Erakat rejected the offer telling the Maan New Agency that "Ending the Israeli occupation is not a point that needs to discussed."

Ayalon was quick to counter. "I am more than a little surprised that Erakat rejected my offer of an open and public debate, especially considering he was concerned enough about our video to release a two page official press release".

"Erakat is used to telling the world that Israel's policies are illegal and against international law and I offered him the chance to back up his own statements and he is proving unable or unwilling to do so." Ayalon went on in a statement.

"Like its diplomatic policies, it appears that the Palestinian Authority is only able to debate unilaterally."

Ayalon is also known for his frequent debates on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Recently he sparred with the Atlantic Monthly columnist Jeffrey Goldberg who opined that the Israel's "foreign ministry is now part of the settlement movement". What followed was a Twitter version of policy street brawl as documented here by Tablet magazine.

Ayalon is known for his sometimes brash style and made headlines last year in a high-profile meeting with the then Turkish ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol. In a staged photo-op between the two Ayalon was seated in a higher chair and with cameras rolling, turned to reporters and said, "The important thing is that they see he’s sitting lower and we’re up high and that there’s only one flag and you see we’re not smiling”

Celikkol later said his treatment was "unacceptable, shocking and primitive," and did not comply with standards for diplomacy.

The incident served as a milestone in Israel's deteriorating relations with Turkey, once a close military and economic ally.

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Filed under: Israel •Palestinians •Social Media

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Levi J Attias   August 5th, 2011 2:55 pm ET

Danny Ayalon is one of a very limited breed of Israelis who tell the facts as they are. The Arab world is caught up, much as the Left is, in concocting its own spin on facts. They are entitled to their opinions; though not to manufacturing facts. Ayalon, to the expected shriek of the prophet of doom, Erekat, has told Israel's contemporary story as it is. His video tells it exactly as it is. Arabs and their supporters are entitled to their opinion, not to concocting facts. Israel has traditionally taken a passive, impassive and ostrich-like stance in her public relations; Ayalon hums a different, refreshing and uplifting tune. He has taken the media battle out onto the social media where for years the Arabs and their Leftist hangers-on have vociferously and threateningly charted the way. Kadima, Ayalon!

zoglet   August 5th, 2011 9:21 pm ET

More "open mike" for Israel (propoganda peice by another name).Where is the equally accomodating article favoring a Palestinian politician and allowing them to air their perspective; for the sake of balance?

Ido   August 6th, 2011 10:56 pm ET

protest against the PA government’s measures against Palestinian journalists and freedom of the media

miriam   August 7th, 2011 11:57 am ET

It would have been far more honest if this post had included Ayalon's arguments and points rather than just supplying links to other sites but at the same time including in the post the repeated mantras which the video proves are inaccurate.

It is obvious that of the people who will likely read the post only few will bother to check out the video.

This is just further proof of CNN and other media's coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict: repeat the anti-Israel rhetoric loud and clear but hide the truth somewhere in the shadows, requiring more effort and searching to reveal.

zeev oz   August 7th, 2011 12:43 pm ET

Turkey will weapen from Israel not excuses!

Paz   August 8th, 2011 7:37 am ET

Diplomacy is still the name of the game.

joe d   August 10th, 2011 12:29 pm ET

this guy is a first class dirtbag..Israel is the worst investment in U.S. history..what a waste of blood and treasure. time to get AIPAC out of our politics. they are like vampire leaches and would love to see every last american die for the failed experiment called israel

elimazi   August 10th, 2011 11:52 pm ET

words and more word
and more words and more

Come to Israel, come visit the West Bank & Gaza.
See withyour own eyes.
Only then can you understand

who wants peace and who lives an existence of violence

no prejudice, no pre-conceived notions, just come see

wenna shaw   August 26th, 2011 8:05 pm ET

If we want peace we have to fight for it! I like Danny Ayalon he speaks the truth (if a little undiplomatic at times!).

mkeey   August 29th, 2011 4:16 pm ET

Some Israelis do not like the habit of arguing objectively. Israel has the right to self-defense no doubt so does Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and so many others. But the world has denied any country the right to misuse the right of self-defense just like in Libya, Syria and Iraq to killing innocent people. If you ask Gadhafi he calls the rebels terrorist, if you ask Al-Assad he calls his own people terrorist and Sadam Hussein did that by calling the Kurds terrorist and by killing whole lots of them. Israel is calling Hamas terrorist what sure many agrees with but the killing of innocent people in a disproportional manner by Israel government should also be denied by us all and the UN. should take action against Israel just like it did against Libya, and Syria just to mention few. Why is nobody condemning the building of settlement in Palestine owned area by the Israel? The media like cnn should not fool the world, today there are many other means to fetch reliable news or information unlike the past we therefore ask of you to broadcast objectively and effectively just like everywhere else in Israel, we want you to make the government of Israel carry responsibilities just like Gadhafi and others. If anything has gone wrong with the peace settlement agreement then we should ask ourselves, why is Israel still insisting to continue the settlement building in West-bank!? West-bank is Palestine and not Israel. Am I getting something wrong!?I want any Israeli to give me simple reasons why that should be acceptable. If you call Hamas terrorist what should the world then call settlement building inside Westbank!? To me personally Benjamine Natajahu is no way different from Sadam Hussein, Gadhafi and Al-Assad. Period
Why has the median not been pounding on this specific issue to educate the people about what is really happening I that Area. If UN see's reasons in questioning Al-Assad's action and reasons to defend the civilian population in Libya, then there is 20 times more reasons to defend innocent Palestine people!

dude   September 2nd, 2011 10:18 am ET

peace n love bros

awesome33   September 2nd, 2011 5:50 pm ET


Jerry   September 6th, 2011 12:38 pm ET

did you know the Palestinians have a propaganda minister????

his name is Rassan Al Kathib!!!!
google him.

palestinians have talkbackers, and propaganda agents everywhere!!! be careful!!!

Jerry   September 6th, 2011 12:38 pm ET

@did you know the Palestinians have a propaganda minister????

his name is Rassan Al Kathib!!!!
google him.

palestinians have talkbackers, and propaganda agents everywhere!!! be careful!!!

Warmonkey Phoenix   September 7th, 2011 3:26 pm ET

Danny Ayalon- a dangerous propagandist, has also got an open mike all over American Cable, [and network} News , you can see him there every week with his Hasbara lies-

Yusil   September 9th, 2011 11:24 am ET

Ayalon and the Israeli military clique have a big mouth since they are under American veto protection. As shown in history, arrogance has a time limit and unfortunately results in tragic events.

miriam   September 12th, 2011 11:54 am ET


Al Khattib has done a great job at deceiving his own people and many in the world who don't realize that his disinformation is leading to the UN once again shooting itself in the foot and enabling the violation of countless international agreements and laws.


Don't forget the Russian and Chinese arrogance and its tragic effect on Syria, to list just one example.

Mike   September 26th, 2011 9:16 am ET

As a leftist Israeli, I disagree on almost every subject Danny Ayalon and his party represent, but regarding his efforts on social media and his most recent video, I, along with everyone I know, cannot agree more with what he has done, and only wish more of us would take the truth to this media. The false Palestinian narrarative which is based on myth, has become the default narrarative of the conflict, both because of "identity politics" of the mainstream intl. media, and due to Israel's inexcusable passivity in promoting its case. This conflict has nothing to do with settlements or occupied territory. The PLO was created before 1967, before there was any occupation, unless of course the Palestinians object to Israel even in it's pre-67 "Auschwitz borders" which of course they do, which is why we still have this damn conflict!

Levi   October 5th, 2011 12:01 am ET

None of this matters anymore did you not hear the Palestinians are the real Jews and the Jews importers this is the new Line they are telling everyone.

That all the real Jews converted to Islam and well all us Jews are just Europeans.

Yusil   October 5th, 2011 8:27 am ET


Are you saying that Israel is on the same moral level as Russia, China or maybe also Syria? Bravo!

Uri   October 8th, 2011 1:37 pm ET

Palestinians are known to be a bunch of cry babies.
When Israel started off in 48' it had more problems and hardships and had to face many enemies.

The Palestinians should ask themselves if their leaders throughout the years have been doing a good job, or just whining to the world. Let us not forget, when Palestine will be granted international approval, it will still be another arab dictatorship with little human rights, absolutly no women and gay rights and alot of internal corruption.

Since Israel left the gaza strip they have dont absolutly nothing to improve their lives! Why is that? Certainly not because of Israel, and all you bloggers and talkbackists know it.

So quit your whining and start building a new hope for your people. A nation that spends more resources in propaganda than in education, creating jobs and getting rid of its terrorists (yes, even the PLO is stil a terrorist organization) cannot complain about Israel.

Come visit Israel and see how exellent foriegn relations and REAL investment in its people works.

Sick_and_tired_of_anti-Semitic_slander   October 19th, 2011 11:51 pm ET

It's about time Israel did something to effectively counter the disgusting slander that Arab (there is really no such thing as a "Palestinian") propaganda trolls and other anti-Semites are disseminating all over the media, especially the Internet. Fight their silly lies with the Truth. Hopefully, there are enough intelligent and moral people in the world to listen and understand what is true and fair.

Hedley   October 28th, 2011 10:08 pm ET

Well, what it's all about..essentially two brother nations disagreeing over the same piece of real estate. Issac and Ishmael/Jacob and Esau still at it after 4,000 years!

The Palestinians in most cases are muslim, and claim a right to the land of Israel, based on Ishmael being the first-borne of Abraham. This idea is an absolute corruption of the bible..just as the Islamic faith was, and continues to be so. A religion based on the worship of the 'moon god' allah. Mohamet imported the old pagan worship of the moon and sun gods, as well as Judaism, and Christianity into a hybrid religion known as Islam, which has no right to make spurious claims on the Holy Land.

Zionists believe in the right to a homeland (Israel) based on Gen12 & 17. As the direct decendants of Abraham, Zionists believe the historical land of Israel is their right to possess for ever.

Apostolic Christians believe that neither Jews nor Palestinians nor Muslims in general have a right to this land. The land of Israel was promised to Abraham's seed..the Messiah of Israel. Christians believe the Messiah is Jesus Christ..he is the seed of Abraham. It's those who share in the faith of Abraham (who looked forward to Christ's day) to whom the land of Israel belongs. The land of Israel can't be claimed by finance (as with the funding from the Rothschilds or the Rockefellars), it can't be claimed through political intrigue and machinations, and it can't be claimed through aggression either. The land of Israel was given to Abraham and his seed as a promise, rather than a presumed inheritance!

Apostolic Christians have no interest in fighting over what will be theirs by faith in Christ. We will just sit back and observe Jew and Muslims as well as the PA fight it out, and wait for the catalyst of events that brings Jesus Christ back to establish YHWH's government on earth.

Jason   October 30th, 2011 3:46 pm ET

Problem Palestinian try creative state under international law is problem that resolution 242 PA sign in practice clear state border change security reason. Israel rightful so under name security could demand the right to keep all Jerusalem since it on high grounds and start six day War Jordan firing arterly into Jerusalem. The same goes Security fence accord resolution 242 Israel. Israel offer to give PA return 10% west Bank trangle area in Israel which full Arab Israelies. Again PA again under resolution 242 since Arabs close Palesitnain making themselves security threat to Israel a security threat Arab Isrealies action leading more right wing governments and danger to themselves.

miriam   November 17th, 2011 1:38 pm ET


There are Christians fighting on both sides of the conflict as well.
I suppose you will consider them non-believers.

You also have competition from the apocalyptic Shi'ites who believe that the current chaos they are contributing towards is speeding up the appearance of the 12th Imam and the world-wide domination of Shia Islam.

Fortunately, in Israel, every effort is made to ensure that holy places are accessible to all who wish to visit, even if restrictions are in place, particularly for Jews.
The Jewish belief in the coming of the Messiah does not include any destruction or domination, just peace for all.

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