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Clinton's Advice to Israel for Making It in the New Media Age

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 22 2010

Politico's Ben Smith picks up on an intriguing and seemingly ad-libbed passage in Secretary Clinton's speech to AIPAC this morning. It has to do with the futility of attempting to exert hard control Israel's image in the new media age:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today that new media technology increases the urgency of Israel's moving toward a two-state solution in order to "undermine the appeal of extremism across the region."

"We cannot escape the impact of mass communication. We cannot control the images and the messages that are conveyed. We can only change the facts on the ground that refute the claims of the rejectionists and extremists, and in so doing create the circumstances for a safe, secure future for Israel," Clinton said in a riff that doesn't appear in her prepared remarks to the pro-Israel group AIPAC.

Compelling point. But it's fair to say that Israel has been a practitioner of the State Department's brand of "21st century statecraft" even before the United States State Department got to it. An effort to rebrand Israel has found the country using YouTube to show in living color the military operations in Gaza, for example, and New York-based (now former) Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York David Saranga has been an active tweeter on behalf of the state.