Israeli hard news and soft power

Israel and soft power
October 22, 2015 – 12:38 pm
Both hard and soft power

Nabil Al-SahliThe term "soft power" is regarded as a modern concept; it means that a state has ideas, principles, and ethics through which it attracts others and garners their support. This can be manifested in its approach to human rights and culture, for example.

Used to describe media geared towards serving specific thought, soft power is considered to be a major political and military tool, as it enables its possessor to control others and have their solidarity without having to expend any of its own military capabilities.

Ancient philosophers and politicians, however, defined soft power in a number of ways, such as influence, persuasion, culture and model practices.

Israel is making security and military preparations against perceived threats posed by its neighbours as well as preparing its armed forces to attack any Arab county at any time. It is also trying to take the initiative to capture the minds of young Arabs and Muslims interested in the Palestinian issue in order to brainwash them by changing facts and disguising its ugly racism. To do this, Israel uses military and soft power concurrently.

This is done through the pro-Israel media at home and abroad as well as US and European allies who regard the states as an oasis of democracy in the Middle East, despite much evidence to the contrary.

Access to the world

While Western states, especially Britain and France, and eventually the United States, were helping to build a strong Israeli military from 1948, Israel used its soft power to establish and develop contacts around the world. The Foreign Ministry website confirms that it now has diplomatic relations with most fellow member states of the UN.

Since its foundation, Israel has been keen to be involved with other countries in development projects. In 1958 it established the Centre for International Cooperation (MASHAV) as a department operating within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; it is tasked with planning and implementing international-Israeli cooperation projects.

There are signs that Israel's sue of soft power has been successful, including the vast network of trade and political relations between Israel and Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. It has assumed a position of importance in such links. Moreover, successive US administrations have helped to create an atmosphere conducive to enabling Israel to build commercial, political and cultural relationships with other countries, especially after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was helped by the lack of Arab integration in managing similar relationships in the context of international relations and the promotion of Arab interests.

Payoff from Israel's soft power

In return for its efforts with soft power, Israel has been able to build complex relationships, through Centre for International Cooperation projects and receive information technology and human resource development. It has enhanced its professional capacity by combining theory and practice along with scientific research and practical application on the ground. New technologies have been adapted to meet development priorities in the host countries by different ministries, professional and academic institutes, and research centres in Israel.

The Centre for International Cooperation works in partnership with developing countries and countries with economies now in transition on developmental challenges in areas such as poverty reduction, the provision of basic health services, food supply, early childhood education, combatting desertification, achieving gender equality, small and medium-sized enterprises, and integrated development of rural areas.

Since its establishment, the centre has had over 100, 000 men and women attend its professional training courses held in Israel and abroad. In addition, more than 100, 000 Israeli experts have been sent abroad for periods of different lengths to cooperate with their counterparts elsewhere involved in the projects in question. The centre is active in around 140 developing countries and it works in cooperation with donor countries, including the United States and the Netherlands, as well as international aid agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank.

In order to strengthen its position in the context of these relations, Israel gave priority to the establishment of research centres, or the upgrade of existing ones. Various studies indicate that Israel has been able to establish 100 research centres, including those on a university or private centre level.

Such institutions have provided decision-makers in Israel with the statistics, indices, suggestions and recommendations needed to build a complex network of international relations that will yield significant economic and political gains. These relations have also helped consolidate Israel's technical expertise in agriculture, technology, manufacturing, the military and electronics.

To improve its international relations, Israel maintains a powerful and well-equipped army. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has 600, 000 serving soldiers using the latest weaponry, much of it developed in Israel. It also has a nuclear option, possessing hundreds of nuclear warheads.

Israeli feels that its military edge and nuclear weapons provide are strong safeguards for its security, on the one hand, and for the continuation of its international influence on the other. Indeed, security is Israel's priority and use of the country's soft and hard power must serve that purpose.

What about the Arab world's soft power?

After the success of Israel's investments in soft power, what about the Arab world's soft power and what are the limits of Arab investment?

Despite the success of young Arabs in the use of soft power through social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to get the masses into Tahrir Square and develop the Arab Spring, it is lacking in terms of higher strategic objectives. These include the establishment of Arab influence in international relations.

In the face of such exploitation by Israel of its soft power it is now imperative to present a clearer view of the objectives of the Arab Spring. To do this, it is necessary to unify the media discourse in the face of the dictatorships across the region. There must be a demand for the elimination of all dictatorships from the Arab political scene and we must work towards the unification of the visions regarding the future of the Arab world and harnessing its human and material energy.

This also highlights the importance of investing in soft power by means of a unified Arab will and management of access to the world and the establishment of well-balanced diplomatic and economic relations with it.

At the same time, the Arab media - especially the young Arabs who crave freedom and justice – should invest in the social networking tools for a bright Arab future for future generations. They must also use it to expose Israel's racist policies against Palestinians in the occupied territories, in order to expose its true image to the world.

At that point, we will be able to say that the Arabs will assume an important position in the context of international relations through their use of soft power, starting with social networking and the media. The Arab world is wealthy and filled with human potential of great promise.

You might also like
Tony Blair on Hard and Soft Power
Tony Blair on Hard and Soft Power
Hard Truths and Soft Power
Hard Truths and Soft Power
MAZ Digital Inc. Hospital News, reporting on best practices in Canada's health care industry.
Mobile Application (MAZ Digital Inc.)
  • Enjoy everything your favorite magazine content, now on your tablet.
  • Hit the Preview button to see the first ten pages of any issue before you purchase.
  • Tell your friends what you re reading via email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks.
  • Purchase a subscription to to receive new content as it s released.
  • Get a closer look at the content with a pinch or double tap to zoom.
Popular Q&A
What is the difference between hard and soft power? | Yahoo Answers

1. What is hard power and what is soft power? How are they different?
2. Give two historical examples of hard power and two historical examples of soft power.
Please be very clear. I am really confused so use very simple terms. Thanks

Related Posts