Apparently, The Reut Institute was sufficiently concerned about my post earlier this week on the role of Israel studies in Israel’s ‘rebranding’ exercise, that staff member Eran Shayshon contributed this reply.
My original article was clear: “promoting Israel studies on campus”, in Reut’s own words, is “central to improving Israel’s international standing and countering delegitimacy”. My post was backed up with sources and links, highlighting the way in which initiatives like Israel studies and BIRAX are – again, in Reut’s own words – “an important component of Israel’s strategy”.
Reut’s Eran Shayshon doesn’t deny any of this – he can’t. That is why his reply is full of standard obfuscation tactics, like repeatedly suggesting a “conspiracy” is being alleged or – that hasbara classic – granting the ‘concession’ that Israel is, of course, “imperfect”.
With no way of denying the evidence presented in my original post, the last two paragraphs of Reut’s reply is a boring blend of ‘will-you-condemn…’ distractions and ad hominem attacks: content that smacks more of a standard pro-Israel smear blog, than a professional think tank.
Reading the reply from Reut, a friend of mine commented that he felt like going through it and writing ‘citation needed’ over phrases like “Many Palestinians…” That in fact is a good summary of the whole thing: Reut responds to a piece based on quotations and sources with speculation and insinuation. All of which goes to show that, strip away the buzzwords and lovely photo shoots, and you’re left with a rather familiar, tired script.