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February 21, 2012 12:19 pm

Israel Dispatches Diverse Delegation to Counter Apartheid Week

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he Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid holding an information session in Vari Hall. Photo: theonlysilentbob.

Israel has launched a public diplomacy counterattack in response to Israel Apartheid Week, held by Palestinian sympathizers on university campuses around the world during various periods between Feb. 20 and March 11. Eighty Israelis, including actor Aki Avni, national security experts, new immigrants, and Arab Israelis, will depart for 20 countries on three continents to engage in dialogue with students and journalists, representing themselves as Israelis, with intimate knowledge of their own country..

The delegation was the brainchild of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud). The idea is that regular Israelis, not professionals, will present their own stories and lives as Israelis, acting as a counter force to Palestinian activists at the world’s largest universities. Those activists seek to persuade students that Israel is engaged in apartheid policies in the territories, an idea the delegation hopes to stymie.

“The government spokesperson in a suit does not work in such places. We have identified the kinds of people who are effective—people on the ground who can meet with students,” said Gal Ilan, a spokesman for the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry.

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