How do global contests impact the conduct of public diplomacy? This paper, taking Zionist public diplomacy as a case-study in response to the Israel-as-occupier image, proposes that when critical events shock the Jewish world by striking negatively at the legitimacy of Jewish identity-the right to believe and act as a Jew in a non-Jewish world-they stimulate a public diplomacy backlash. This happened after the Six-Day War of 1967, during the Second Intifada of the early 2000s, and most recently in the lead-up to the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid in 2011. These events provided the motivation for the mutually supportive activities of legitimating Jewish identity and campaigning for Zionist causes. Because these events affected the entire Jewish community and not just individuals, they stirred debates within the Jewish community about the proper role of public diplomacy. These debates, and the public diplomacy produced by their participants, reflected shared national understandings of the events and the vulnerabilities of Jewish identity.



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