| Mark Regev |
(diplomat, media spokesman)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Alma mater||Melbourne University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Boston University|
Soon after taking up his appointment in April 2016, Ambassador Regev intervened in the Labour Party's antisemitism row which was orchestrated by the commercially-controlled media and involved Naz Shah MP and Ken Livingstone.
On 1 May 2016, "His Excellency Mark Regev" appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show and said that he would love to meet the Labour leader to discuss the issue:
- “Yesterday the leader of our Labor Party, and their sister parties, who sit in the Socialist International, invited Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership to visit Israel, and I hope he does so.”
Mark Regev was made official spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2007, and went on to spend the next eight years in the job under Benjamin Netanyahu. From the outset he insisted that he did not want to “hide” behind the title of an un-named “official spokesman”, preferring to be identified.
Unlike some prominent British spin doctors, such as Alastair Campbell, he has avoided hostilities with the media, including with foreign journalists, saying two years into his job:
- “I don’t see myself as a theatre critic for the British media. It’s my job to work with them.”
Regev was on television and radio almost nightly during 2009's "Operation Cast Lead", Israel's bloodiest incursions into Gaza, and the 2012 "Pillar of Defence" operation in the same territory. His interviews on major news channels like CNN and Channel 4 became viral YouTube hits, often from angry pro-Palestinians sharing what they saw as a defence of the Israeli killing of civilians. One of those hits was "Jon Snow 'annihilates' Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev", receiving 440,000 views in a little over a week. Broadcast on 16 July 2014, Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow confronted Mark Regev about Israeli military attacks on Al-Wafa hospital and an attack which killed three young boys playing ball on a Gaza beach. Regev persisted in claiming "the Israeli military does not target civilians."
UN war crimes report
Interviewed by telephone on 19 June 2015, Mark Regev told Channel 4 News correspondent Jonathan Miller that a UN Commission investigating potential war crimes in Gaza was “institutionally biased” against Israel:
- “It’s a kangaroo court, yet its report will have the credibility of the United Nations behind it. Israel has been singled out. It’s important we make our case.”
Three days later, the report of the "United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict" was published. At a news conference in Geneva, Doudou Diene, a Senegalese lawyer and deputy chairman of the UN Commission, said:
- “This war has been maybe one of the best covered wars by the media… Day after day, there was not anything which shows there has been a decision to stop or diminish the attacks on buildings and civilians.” He concluded: “Somewhere, in the chain of command, there has been a position which allowed this.”
The UN report highlighted the incident on 16 July 2014 when four Palestinian boys who had been playing on the beach in Gaza City were killed in a succession of Israeli missile strikes. The UN Commission’s Chairperson, Mary McGowan Davis – a former New York State Supreme Court Judge – criticised the Israeli military investigators’ failure to take witness statements from those who saw what happened:
- “Many journalists present at the hotel… who were right there when this happened on the public beach, were not actually spoken to. Nobody has made public to my knowledge the actual drone pictures that they say made these little nine, 10-year-old boys look like 20-year-old militants or what have you. I think it’s very disappointing and it does not necessarily augur well for what the investigative process will demonstrate here.”
The UN report was to have been published in March 2015 but was delayed following the resignation of the Commission's chairman William Schabas after Israeli allegations of bias due to past paid legal work he had undertaken for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
When the new chairperson, Ms McGowan Davis, was appointed, the Israeli Prime Minister's official spokesman demanded the report be shelved.
Ahead of the release of the UN report, the Israeli government also attacked foreign media over what it viewed as biased coverage of the conflict in Gaza.
Event Participated in
|21st Century Hasbara conference||17 December 2006||18 December 2006||Institute for Policy and Strategy|
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya
|Document:The method in Netanyahu's madness||speech||18 July 2011||Jonathan Cook|
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- "Mark Regev: The one-man Israeli defence force who is set to become ambassador to Britain"
- "Israeli envoy to UK urges Labour chief to visit, would ‘love to’ meet him"
- "After four years in the UK, Mark Regev returns to Netanyahu’s office"
- "Mark Regev, World's Best Known Spinner, In An Unwinnable War Of Words"
- "Jon Snow 'annihilates' Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev"
- "Israel’s Mark Regev: UN war crimes inquiry ‘a kangaroo court’"
- "Launch of the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza Conflict"
- "UN Gaza inquiry head quits after Israel accuses him of bias"
- "UN: Israel and Palestinians may both be guilty of war crimes in Gaza conflict"