Dr. Alexander Mashkevich, president of the United Israel Appeal’s annual conference of Jewish leaders in Washington, has announced his plan to form a pro-Israel international news network, similar to al-Jazeera.
This year’s conference focused on attempts to deal with the de-legitimization campaign against Israel, and was attended by some 200 Jewish community leaders and key philanthropists.
An announcement on the creation of the international news network was made at the end of the conference, with the aim of dealing with anti-Israel defamation in the media and influence public opinion.
Mashkevich, who also serves as president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, said that the network would offer programs in English, French, Arabic and Spanish, focusing on news only.
“My intention is not to create a propaganda channel,” he told Ynet, “but simply a channel telling the truth.
“Unfortunately, in the current situation most channels simply don’t tell the truth about Israel,” he explained. “Every day that passes we lose the battle for Israel’s image. I am sure that Goldstone is a decent person, who didn’t want to damage Israel consciously and intentionally, but if everything he gets from the media every day is anti-Israel propaganda, I assume it’s hard to make the right decisions.”
Presentation within 3-4 months
Mashkevich, whose fortune is estimated at some $3.7 billion, plans to recruit other philanthropists and senior businesspeople for the mission. “The international de-legitimization has become a huge risk for Israel,” he adds.
“It’s unthinkable that Israel has no television network like the channels operated by countries such as the United States, Britain and Russia. The creation of such a channel is necessary, and does not require something out of nothing, as there are existing models we can work according to.”
The channel is in the thinking stages, without a target date for the launching or even a revelation of the other names behind it. All Mashkevich agreed to say was that it would be a private, independent channel.
“We are preparing a work program, and in about three-four months we’ll hold a presentation in Israel. We’ll purchase talents from all other channels,” he promised. “From BBC, CNN – everyone.”
‘If we don’t fight back, we’ll be in trouble’
The conference was also attended by outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Britain and newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who analyzed the anti-Israeli incitement on international media.
“We deal with creating awareness,” said Prosor. “Today there isn’t one university campus in Britain which I, as an Israeli ambassador, can enter without facing horrible protests. If we don’t fight back – we’ll be in trouble.
“The current situation is that Jewish students in Britain feel uncomfortable in their own campuses. What I saw in Britain could definitely be seen here, in the United States, in the coming years,” he warned the Jewish community leaders.
Prosor told Ynet that the organizations behind the de-legitimization must be exposed, denounced and suffer a counter attack. “We have no choice but to strike back at them, to give a ‘price tag’ to those who demonize Israel. Too much is at stake here. We are all at the front, but if we coordinate, we’ll be able to win the battle.”
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