The Jerusalem Post

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Disingenuousness doublespeak and bilingual PR

Israeli officials are well known for their criticism of Arab leaders, and Palestinians in particular, for saying one thing in English and another in Arabic. Just last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a host of other members of the right-wing Israeli political echelon dismissed an [English-language] interview given by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to an Israeli television channel, accusing him of making near opposite statements in Arabic.

The criticism is not unfounded.

The constant cries of doublespeak, however, make Israeli politicians all the more hypocritical when they do the exact same thing.

This morning, mere hours after US President Barack Obama declared victory in the US elections, Israeli politicians began sending congratulatory messages to the US President. Among them was MK Danny Danon (Likud). The only problem is that he sent out two very different messages in English and in Hebrew.

In the English message, Danon maintains his usual critical tone of Obama, but also congratulates him on his re-election and suggests paths to reconciliation and improving relations with Israel.

In Hebrew, Danon does not address Obama at all, instead describing how he contacted losing Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and offering much harsher, far-from-conciliatory criticism of the US President.

Below are both unedited, full statements released by Danon this morning.


Deputy Speaker Danny Danon, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, reacted this morning to the reelection of United States President Barack Obama.

"I congratulate President Obama on his reelection. It is my hope, and that of many Israelis, that the President resets his course relating to Israel and our region for the next four years. Rather than dictating ill-advised policies that endanger the wellbeing of America's only true ally in the Middle East, now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honored policy of 'zero daylight' between our respective nations.

"This is especially true as it pertains to the existential threat posed to Israel and the West by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. Instead of wasting time and resources to impose housing zoning laws on Israel that can be described as nothing less than 'racist,' now is the time for our two nations to come together to combat the greatest threat to freedom in our time.

"I call on the President, who has already visited so many of our neighbors here in the Middle East, to finally visit Israel, thereby sending a strong and visible message to everyone about the deep and meaningful relationship between the US and Israel."


Hebrew (full direct translation of press release):

World Likud Chairman MK Danny Danon, who is close to senior officials in the Republican Party in the US, responded to the election of Barak Obama as President of the USA: "The State of Israel will not fold [in the face of] Obama, his election demonstrates that the State of Israel must care for its own interests -- itself," said Danon, adding: "We have nobody to trust but ourselves."

Danon turned to senior officials in the Republican Party, among them Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and offered harsh criticism of the president-elect: "Obama harmed the USA with his leadership of naive and rotten foreign policy, which gives preference to the Arab world instead of the Western world and Israel," Danon said.

Follow Michael Omer-Man on Twitter: @MikeOmerMan


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