Why can’t killing be more popular?

Israel strives to re-brand image“, we’re told. Yet again.

Get ready for more failure.

“It doesn’t matter how many times we convince ourselves and our staunch allies that we are not war criminals, and that those who try to portray us as such are incorrigible Jew-haters,” wrote Anshel Pfeffer in the liberal daily Haaretz. Israel’s public relations machine is “fighting a losing battle,” Pfeffer wrote. “Perhaps it would be best to finally change tactics and admit that occupation of another nation has made it so much harder for us to claim we are still the heirs of the victims, and not the perpetrators.”

Another rogue state, Sri Lanka, currently fighting its own futile “war on terror” – and causing massive carnage in the process – is also trying to improve its shocking image. Not by changing behaviour, of course, merely employing PR hacks:

Washington lobbyists are making out quite well from the war. In January, the firm of Patton Boggs was retained by the Embassy of Sri Lanka, with “a fixed fee of $35,000 per month, payable quarterly in advance,” according to the contract. Democratic lobbyist Tommy Boggs is helping run the account, which calls on Patton Boggs to “provide guidance and counsel to the Embassy of Sri Lanka regarding its relations with the Executive and Legislative Branches of the U.S. Government.” In other words, to sanitize the government’s conduct of the war and make it look good with the Obama administration.

After producing a “white paper” on Sri Lanka and the ongoing civil war, Patton Boggs organized a series of official meetings for its client. In late-March, the Sri Lankan ambassador to the U.S., Jaliya Wickramasuriya, met separately with Senator Richard Lugar. He briefed him on the conflict, stressing “the care taken to protect displaced civilians,” according to an Embassy press release.

Despite Patton Boggs’ best efforts, the government’s PR offensive has fallen flat. “I think that the Sri Lankan government knows that the entire world is very disappointed that in its efforts to end what it sees as 25 years of conflict, it is causing such untold suffering,” Secretary of State Clinton said Wednesday.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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