Daniel Seaman, the outgoing deputy-director general of the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, which is being closed, is a highly controversial figure in those parts of government in constant contact with foreign media. An active member of the Likud party, Seaman once ran as a candidate in the party primaries. He previously served as head of the Government Press Office and gained a reputation for his confrontations with foreign correspondents and for the complaints they lodged against him.
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The staff of the Public Diplomacy Ministry is being integrated into the national public diplomacy unit in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Seaman is expected to assume a new senior position as head of the interactive media unit, which will be part of the national public diplomacy unit. One of the projects of the new interactive media unit, which will be in charge of coordinating the public diplomacy efforts of the Prime Minister’s Office on the Internet and the social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, will be the launching of “covert units” within Israel’s seven universities that will engage in online public diplomacy, as reported on Tuesday in Haaretz.
Messages Seaman has posted on his Facebook page raise serious doubts as to the degree to which good judgment is exercised by someone who is slated to be the chief official in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Israel’s public diplomacy efforts on the various social networks on the Internet. A series of messages that he has posted over the past few months include abusive, even racist, statements directed against Muslims in general and senior Palestinian leaders in particular, as well as against countries that are thought to be Israel’s allies.
For instance, on August 8, two days after the memorial day marking the World War Two atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which killed over 100,000 civilians, Seaman posted: “I am sick of the Japanese, ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Peace’ groups the world over holding their annual self righteous commemorations for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the consequence of Japanese aggression. You reap what you sow.
“Instead, they should be commemorating the estimated 50 million Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Malay, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Burmese and other victims of Japanese imperial aggression and genocide. Not to mention nearly 120,000 Allied military casualties who fought to defeat the genocidal Japanese. These are who deserve to be and should be remembered this week.”
On July 16, a few days after the European Union decided to include Hezbollah’s military wing in its list of terror organizations, Seaman’s Facebook page presented these statements: “The EU found an unequivocal voice when it comes to Israel, but still can’t declare the Hezbollah a terrorist entity. Ironically, while Europeans try to define our ancestral borders, the Muslims are redefining theirs.”
A few days later, on July 22, after Hezbollah’s military wing had been added to the EU’s list of terror organizations, Seaman claimed that the EU’s decision was not enough and was rather abusive: “The term ‘half-assed’ is used to refer to something being sloppy or partially completed. For example… The EU decision to only put the Hezbollah military wing on the terror list and not ban the political wing headed by the same Nasralah [Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah] as well, is half-assed.”
Soon after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, Seaman demonstrated a remarkable degree of questionable creativity of a racist nature when he wrote on his Facebook page on July 9: “Does the commencement of the fast of the Ramadan mean that Muslims will stop eating each other during the daytime?”
Although he is a civil servant, Seaman saw no problem with cynically attacking President Shimon Peres in connection with the recent celebrations of the latter’s 90th birthday. On June 18, Seaman posted this message on his Facebook page: “Question for Peres, Clinton and Blair – how many ‘victims of peace’ never celebrated their 10th birthday?”
On May 26, chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat was the target of a particularly vicious attack launched by Seaman, who posted: “Erekat, said his side would only agree to renew peace talks if Israel ceased all settlement activity and openly declared that a future state of Palestine would be created on the 1967 lines adding that this should not be viewed as a precondition to talks but rather as an Israeli duty. Is there a diplomatic way of saying ‘Go F*^& yourself’?”
A few days earlier, on May 15, Simon sent an insulting message to all Palestinians from his Facebook page: “The Palestinians commemorated the Naqba with a 65 second siren in Ramallah. That’s not nearly enough time to stop and pause to think about how stupid they are.”
Seaman’s use of coarse language and curses is a fairly frequent feature on his Facebook page; for instance, on May 10, in response to the report compiled by the Church of Scotland that claimed that the Jews have no special right to Palestine, he wrote: “The Church of Scotland? The Calvinist, Presbytarian [sic] Church of Scotland? Why do you think we give a flyin F*^& what you have to say?”
These are a few, particularly abusive messages Seaman has posted on his Facebook page. In many others, he has expressed his rightist political views, has come out against the disengagement from Gaza and the dismantling of the Gush Katif bloc settlements, has crudely attacked international media players such as The Guardian or Israeli media such as Haaretz and has personally clashed swords (figuratively speaking, of course) with journalists such as Channel 2’s Arad Nir and former Haaretz editor-in-chief Hanoch Marmari.