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The Policy and Technology Program

Developing a state-of-the-art technological toolbox for a proactive, hybrid and innovative diplomacy

Daniel Cohen

Head of the Policy and Technology Program, Senior Researcher

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Our Mission Statement & Method of Operation

An increasing number of governments are engaged in social media to advance their foreign policy goals. Despite the growing importance of the virtual arena in international diplomacy, Western foreign ministries are losing the “cyberwar” to militant and extremist groups. How can they gain the upper hand?

The Internet is a highly effective platform for promoting various state interests. It enables the cultivation of existing bonds and the forging of new ones, providing information to citizens in order to motivate them to act in constructive ways, and promoting citizen activism through transparent dialogue. Digital diplomacy encompasses the use of the Internet in combination with novel information and communication technologies to promote diplomatic goals. Diplomatic overtures to the general public are a primary focus, but digital diplomacy is unique in that it is carried out over the Web, mainly using social media tools. To be sure, foreign ministries operate extensively in the digital sphere. However, their current role is limited to promoting public diplomacy and strategic communication. Connecting with audiences through social networks offers several advantages. Popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other dedicated websites provide access to large global audiences. These networks also facilitate a high level of interpersonal communication.

In the diplomatic arena, focused knowledge and effective outreach win the warfare. Our goal is to improve Israel’s global standing and international relations by conducting and publishing evidence-based research on the behavior and strategies of terror organizations and anti-Israel bodies. We focus on driving policymakers’ attention and encouraging public debate and support, as well as developing unique solutions that take into account the urgency, complexity and sensitivity of the issue at hand. The program is technologically oriented either by evidenced research and\or the design of comprehensive and systemic planning of for the development of technological solutions as part of the fight against terrorism via novel diplomatic means.

Providing a wide knowledge base and professional support to researchers looking to analyze the behavior of terror organizations, as well as expose and correct false information spread by anti-Israel organizations

Research

Focus Areas

Through a vast network of international partners from multiple fields, we share information between policy stakeholders concerning the opportunities and risks of international decisions to fight terrorism, in Israel and abroad, as well as the general public.

International Network

We Conceptualize and create innovative tools to combat terrorism and hybrid warfare threats in order to improve the national security of Israel and its partners

R&D

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Main Projects

The Janus Initiative:

The Diplomatic counter-terrorism program in collaboration with the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, is taking the lead in developing thoughtful and innovative strategies for countering terror and violent extremism.

Since 2018, the program is coordinating an expert platform collaboration to promote the full designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, globally.

 

Under the umbrella of the JANUS Initiative, the program developed a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices between international experts. These included enabling productive collaboration and practical analysis regarding Hezbollah’s global terror activities. For example this research-based global initiative was one of the key factors that led to the German Parliament to pass a motion to designate the organization at the end of 2019 and for the German government to have a full ban on the organization's activity in Germany, on April 2020. In addition, the designation of Hezbollah as a terror organization was declared by the UK, New Zealand, Argentina, Honduras, and other countries.

 

In addition to the "classic" diplomatic work of meeting with dozens of European decision-makers, the institute successfully created a call-to-action for European leaders. Millions of people have read policy-oriented publications and viewed the institute's documentary and many more millions were informed about the danger that Hezbollah poses to the continent in major European newspapers, such as "Die Welt," "BILD" and "The Telegraph", as well as in digital platforms and social networks.

 

In September 2019, the Institute marked another major step towards building a global coalition calling for a full designation of Hezbollah, when it gathered 50 experts, decision-makers, and politicians from 12 countries to discuss this growing threat, at a special experts’ event held during the 2019 ICT counter-terrorism summit at IDC Herzliya.

 

In July 2020, the Institute has launched the Janus Initiative 2.0 stage, and formed an international EU-Focused task-force, calling for a full designation of Hezbollah on the EU level.

 

To learn more visit: janus-initiative.com

UNaccountable:

The campaign sheds light on the money trail and institutional bias behind UN organizations by providing the US Congress, which is the largest single-state funder of the UN, with facts, figures and up-to-date data. The three-stage plan is focused on promoting transparency through a special delegate to the UN budgetary committee; working alongside an independent investigator to ensure UN agencies are upholding their mission statements in keeping with US values; and suggesting that the US Congress withdraw funding and redirect investments towards positive, pro-American, and pro-growth causes instead.

 

 

Read more about this project at: unaccountable.us.com

 

The UNIFIL Project:

The project highlights the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s inability to stop terror organization Hezbollah from arming itself and called for a broad reform within the force's structure, command and mandate execution.

 

Three months following the launch of this successful project, the UN changed UNIFIL’s mandate. The UNIFIL project is focused on exposing the incompetence of the UN Peace Forces and forcing them to be more active in fulfilling their mission.

 

The hard work on this project, which included a successful social, media campaign under the tagline #BearyMustGo, had already resulted in the replacement of then UNIFIL commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Beary.

UNRWA Dynasty:

The project advocates to merge UNRWA, the UN agency dealing exclusively with Palestinian refugees, with the global refugee agency, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR).

 

By providing accurate information about the real face of UNRWA, to the Israeli and international public opinion and decision-makers, we seek to end the decades-long distortion that perpetuates hate and incitement against Israel.

 

UNRWA DYNASTY is an online platform that provides much-needed facts and figures to expose the discriminating agenda behind UNRWA’s definition of "refugee". Since the project was launched, various governments and organizations around the world announced that they will cut off all funding to UNRWA, as did Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

 

To learn more visit: unrwa-dynasty.com

Countering COVID-19 with Innovative Technology:

Technology is a key component in controlling the spread of the virus.

 

The project’s goal is to design a comprehensive best practices model of Exit Strategy-focused technological tools for countries and organizations.

 

Through rigorous research and international cooperation, and by bringing together different disciplinary fields (Cybersecurity, Law, counter-terrorism, Asia diplomacy and policy), the project seeks to create an effective toolbox to assist decision-makers in developing an operative exit strategy from quarantine.

 

The project will also develop a platform of sharing information between policy stakeholders concerning the opportunities and risks of technologies used to fight epidemics, with emphasis on surveillance-related technologies.

 

It will bridge gaps between public and private sectors by initiating webinars, conferences, and hackathons to expose technological solutions from the global private sector and start-up ecosystem.

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Leading Publications & Press
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    Beyond the Web: Diplomacy, Cognition, and Influence

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    The Impact of Hezbollah Designation as a Terrorist Organization on Economic Ties and Humanitarian Aid to Lebanon

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    Pretend refugees

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