Ilan Sztulman

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

Ilan Sztulman is the Deputy Director of the Public Affairs Department in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[1]

Various reports have transliterated his name as Elan Shturman[2], Ilan Shturman[3] and Ilan Stulman.[4]

In November 2000, Sztulman accused the Palestinian Red Crescent workers of attacking Israeli soldiers, according the Dallas Morning News:

"We see this very often ... an ambulance comes by. It stops. And instead of coming out with a stretcher, people come out with Molotov cocktails or more ammunition," said Capt. Ilan Sztulman, an IDF spokesman.
"And we can't really do anything because you never know if there's anybody really injured inside."[5]

In July 2001, the Jerusalem Post reported that Sztulman had been appointed head of a Foreign Ministry unit monitoring international media coverage of Israel.[6]

In February 2004, Sztulman filmed the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem ewhich killed 11 people as well as the bomber:

The video footage on the government Web site,, was taken by Ilan Sztulman, 45, who heads visual productions for the Foreign Ministry. He said he arrived at the scene of the Thursday attack only minutes after the blast.
"I get to the zone much faster than any other photographers because I have special permission to go in," Sztulman said. "Most of the journalists cannot go in until the bomb officers declare the area is bomb-free."
At Thursday's bombing, most journalists were kept more than 30 yards from the bus in the first minutes after the explosion. Many of the body parts videotaped by Sztulman had been collected by rescue workers by the time journalists were allowed to move closer. The 11th victim's body was so mutilated that the passenger, an Ethiopian woman, was not identified until this weekend using DNA tests.
"We've been documenting the terrorist attacks for a long time," Sztulman said, adding, "We classified this stuff as almost secret." Last summer, the Foreign Ministry's public affairs office showed one of its graphic videos to international journalists for the first time, but did not make the footage public.[7]

In January 2009, Sztulman was quoted in National Review story which accused Palestinians of 'dressing the set in Jenin in 2002:

According to Ilan Sztulman, an officer in the IDF reserves who served in Jenin, "The Palestinians wouldn't let anybody take the bodies out. They manipulate imagery. That's how they fight. There were bodies decaying on the street. They stank. But if anybody approached the bodies they would get shot. They booby-trapped a lot of bodies. Some IDF soldiers got killed before they figured this out. So to get them out, the IDF soldiers began using a sort of anchor. It's called a sapper's anchor: You throw it; it gets stuck on flesh and if it doesn't explode, you can come close."[8]

"Internet fighting team"

According to a July 2009 article from Calcalist translated from Hebrew by Occupation Magazine, Shterman is in charge of a Foreign Ministry programme to establish a professional "Internet fighting team":

Our objective is to penetrate into the world in which these discussions are taking place, where reports and videos are published – the blogs, the social networks, the news websites of all sizes. We will introduce a pro-Israeli voice into those places. What is now going on in Iran is the proof of the need for such an operational branch,” adds Shturman. “It’s not like a group of friends is going to bring down the government with Twitter messages, but it does help to expand the struggle to vast dimensions.”[9]

The article went on the state that the initiative was inspired by commercial 'talbackers' who puff products on the internet:

Will the responders who are hired for this also present themselves as “ordinary net-surfers”?
“Of course,” says Shturman. “Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the policy-explanation department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis. They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the Foreign Ministry developed.”[10]

The Foreign Ministry denied there was any such proposal in an interview with Jonathan Cook:

When The National called the foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman, denied the existence of the internet team, though he admitted officials were stepping up exploitation of new media.
He declined to say which comments by Mr Shturman or Mr Gilad had been misrepresented by the Hebrew-language media, and said the ministry would not be taking any action over the reports.[11]

The initiative was heavily criticised by Rona Keperboim in Ynetnews:

Foreign Ministry officials are fighting what they see as a terrible and scary monster: the Palestinian public relations monster. Yet nothing can be done to defeat it, regardless of how many foolish inventions will be introduced and how many bright communication students will be hired.
The reason is that good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved. Yet nonetheless, the Foreign Ministry wants to try to change the situation. And they have willing partners. “Where do I submit a CV?” wrote one respondent. “I’m fluent in several languages and I’m able to spew forth bullshit for hours on end.”[12]

External Resources


  1. LinkedIn, Ilan Sztulman, accessed 22 July 2009.
  2. Dora Kishinevski, The Foreign Ministry presents: talkbackers in the service of the State, Calcalist, 5 July 2009, translated for Occupation Magazine by George Malent.
  3. Jonathan Cook, Israel's Internet War, Counterpunch, 21 July 2009.
  4. Yoel Cohen Ph.D, TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE & FOREIGN NEWS REPORTING FROM ISRAEL, Centre for International Communications & Policy, Bar-Ilan University, accessed 22 June 2009.
  5. Ed Timms, Violence keeps Mideast EMTs busy, in danger, Dallas Morning News, 30 November 2000.
  6. Herb Keinon, Keeping the Media Honest, Jerusalem Post, 20 July 2001.
  7. Molly Moore, Israel Exposes Horror of Bus Bombing; Gruesome Video Aired On Official Web Site; Need for Barrier Cited, Washington Post, 2 February 2004.
  8. Stephanie Gutmann, Can We Trust the Casualty Numbers?, National Review, 14 January 2009.
  9. Dora Kishinevski, The Foreign Ministry presents: talkbackers in the service of the State, Calcalist, 5 July 2009, translated for Occupation Magazine by George Malent.
  10. Dora Kishinevski, The Foreign Ministry presents: talkbackers in the service of the State, Calcalist, 5 July 2009, translated for Occupation Magazine by George Malent.
  11. Jonathan Cook, Israel's Internet War, Counterpunch, 21 July 2009.
  12. Rona Kuperboim, Thought-police is here,, 10 July 2009.