As an Israeli diplomat for nearly three decades, Danny Ayalon has worked for a wide range of foreign ministers and prime ministers.
He has helped Israel navigate through wars and rumors of wars.
But one of the issues that worries him most these days is the relentless and vicious assault being led by Israel’s enemies against Israel and the Jewish people through the media.
“I call it a ‘political warfare’ that unfortunately our enemies have waged on us with the aim of isolating Israel, and this part of the war they engage in in order to really destroy Israel and the Jewish people,” Ayalon told ALL ISRAEL NEWS in an interview for the first week of our launch.
The worst of those enemies, he said, includes Iranian-run media, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera, the Turkish media and increasingly the Russian media. On top of this, he adds, are the biased reporters and editors in the Western press.
From 1993 until 1997, Ayalon served as a senior diplomat in New York at Israel’s United Nations Mission.
For the next five years, he worked as the senior foreign policy advisor to four prime ministers – Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu.
From 2002 until 2006, Ayalon served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. That’s when I first met him.
From 2009 until 2013, he served as Israel's deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and as a Member of Knesset.
Now retired from politics – at least for the time being – he serves on the boards of a range of Israeli private companies and teaches Middle East history and diplomacy at various universities. He also runs Truth About Israel, a nonprofit he founded that creates short-form videos to counter the lies being told about Israel on social media.
Now, I’m glad to say, Ayalon has joined the Advisory Board of ALL ISRAEL NEWS, and has been helping us for months to prepare for this launch.
Here are excerpts from part one of a three-part series of interviews I did with him.
ROSENBERG: As you know, as you have dealt with it so much over an entire career in diplomacy and foreign policy, there is so much anti-Israel bias. Obviously, there is anti-Semitism. But there is also anti-Christian bias, anti-Muslim bias, anti-peace bias. It’s not that all journalists are doing a bad job, in fact there are many, many really good ones. But many people don’t know where to sort of find those good journalists and good articles. I hope that All Israel News can be a source – or a “one-stop shop” source – for people to come and hear exclusive interviews like this, original reporting, but also connect to the good stories, the helpful stories, even though they may be controversial and the stories might not be good news, but they are still important and they are true.
AYALON: This is so important, Joel.
You know, Israel is a great country. Great achievements in terms of technology, economy, and culture. We are in a very strong position here in the Middle East.
But there is one disadvantage where we are being exploited in a way, and being beaten down, and this is in the field of what we call hasbara, or in the field of PR, or public diplomacy.
I call it a “political warfare” that unfortunately our enemies have waged on us with the aim of isolating Israel, and this part of the war they engage in in order to really destroy Israel and the Jewish people. We have radical Islamic forces, Palestinian Authority and other leaders of the Palestinians, who have not yet come to terms with the reality, which is that it would be good for their people to make peace with Israel.
Peace is not just a piece of paper. Peace is a real change of attitudes…to really make a reconciliation, historic reconciliation. Peace is coexistence. This is where we would like to see the Palestinians come to the [negotiating] table. Let’s think of the future of our children and their children and not just try to score points all the time.
It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not “all or nothing.” This was the approach of successful Palestinian leadership for over 100 years. The “all or nothing” [approach]. They never want to recognize [Israel]. They never want to share [the land]. We were ready to share. We were ready to share the land with them, but they’re not ready to do that. They’re not ready for building a Palestinian state – which, by the way, has never existed in history – more than they want to build their state [in order] to destroy ours. And this cannot be….
ROSENBERG: I think there are some in the media who are biased. Some journalists and news outlets maybe are sloppy….But there are some who actually are engaged in an ideological war. I think you can point to Al Jazeera, for example, and other certainly Iranian media, increasingly Turkish media. Just take a moment to talk about the ideological warfare in the media against the State of Israel and Israel’s friends and potential friends in the Arab world.
AYALON: By the way, I would also add to this infamous list also Russian TV. They’ve also just taken any and every opportunity to defame Israel, to criticize it in a very unfair and biased way, because they do not really look at the real complexity of the situation or even at the facts themselves.
This is where the Palestinians have so many allies to this, I would say, criminal reporting of what’s happening here in the Middle East. Again, this is part of their warfare. Unfortunately, they have too many members that support them. Whether the Iranians, whether it’s the Hezbollah, Muslim countries and, of course, many, many Arab countries. [It’s a] bombardment from all over. Then add to this the media in the West, which many times does take, I would say, the approach or the attitude of the Palestinians or even radical Islam against Israel.
You know, Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East. So, I would think that all the liberal media in the West, whether it’s the United States or in Europe, would really applaud Israel – look at it as a model for other countries to follow….
ROSENBERG: Tell us why the United Arab Emirates, in your view, has gone against all the conventional wisdom and made peace with Israel.
AYALON: Joel, the short answer is President Trump.
And I believe the United Arab Emirates is only the forerunner to many others to follow.
What President Trump did is nothing sort of really historic. What did he do? He came after five presidents who tried the same thing over and over. We’re not talking about partisan politics here. There were five presidents [from both American political parties] for the last 30 or so years who tried the same thing. They tried to bring the Palestinians together and have peace in the Middle East. They tried the same paradigm over and over again, which was, “Let’s have peace with the Palestinians, Israel and the Palestinians, and later bring the Arab countries to join.”
Well, that gave the Palestinians a veto power because of their intransigence, because they did not want to negotiate in good faith, they did not want to make any concessions. By having this old paradigm of waiting for the Palestinians to make a move and recognize Israel, that kept the entire process pretty much defunct.