Israeli diplomat wants to launch 'Israeli Al Jazeera' to influence Arab opinion

Israeli diplomat wants to launch 'Israeli Al Jazeera' to influence Arab opinion
Israel's former ambassador to Egypt said that he wants his country to create an Arabic language equivalent of Al Jazeera to spread Israeli propaganda to the Arab world.
2 min read
15 August, 2022
Levanon wants to spread Israel's 'point of view' to Arabic speakers across the Arab world [Getty]

An Israeli diplomat said that the government should launch an official Arabic channel to "influence public consciousness" around Israel, according to an interview in the Israeli daily Maariv.

Itzhak Levanon, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt from 2009 to 2011, said that it was necessary to sway public opinion in the Arab world and put forward Israeli viewpoints. 

The move has been rejected by Arabs as another attempt by Israel to spread propaganda, following its normalisation with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, sparking a backlash in the Arab world.

Levanon’s comments also come on the heels of a devastating three-day air campaign in Gaza - dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn - that killed at least 49 Palestinians, including 15 children, and caused immense material damage in the Palestinian enclave that has been besieged for the past 15 years. 

Lauding the success of the propaganda efforts to refute 'falsehoods' around the operation, he said it is important to “create a permanent pattern of action for the future. A reliable answer that will be given after an examination and distributed in a quick procedure is a winning recipe".

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"The propaganda success of the operation in Gaza must spur us to do the greater thing that we previously discussed but did not implement: Israeli Arabic-language television addressed to the entire Arab world. A sort of i24 in Arabic or an Israeli Al Jazeera,” Levanon added. 

Israel's recent campaign in Gaza was widely criticised on social media by academics, activists, and the public. 

Israel regularly spreads anti-Palestinian sentiments, especially in the West, through political contacts and powerful lobbying groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). A number of Israeli Arabic-language channels already exist, such as i24 TV and Kan.

Israel has sought to expand its soft power in the region, on the back of the normalisation agreements which were widely rejected by Arabs and Palestinians.

"The situation in which we are in the Middle East - on the one hand, peace agreements and cooperation, and on the other hand, military struggles and existential threats - makes our own Arabic television project urgent," said Levanon.