To be honest, I was surprised. I was convinced that the video clip showing Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner using his rifle to strike a Danish activist will provoke a global media storm. However, this did not happen.
Indeed, the incident was widely covered by news websites worldwide, the international press and news agencies, but no anti-Israeli storm erupted.
The senior officer's act was so unnecessary and foolish that everyone was convinced that, yet again, we did a great service to everyone who seeks to smear the State of Israel. I too, as an international news editor, thought the same.
So what changed this time around? Did the Europeans realize that much graver acts are currently taking place in Syria? Maybe the headlines about the ongoing economic crisis are of greater interest to them? Or maybe they just tired of dealing with us?
Important lesson for future
To be honest, it appears none of the answers to the above questions is a positive one. What happened in this case is that for the first time in a long time, the State of Israel did what always needs to be done: It responded quickly.
The officer's immediate suspension, coupled with the harsh condemnation issued by the prime minister, had their effect on the public relations front. By the time the global media focused on the story, the headline was no longer "an officer struck a protestor," but rather, "officer suspended after striking a protestor."
No doubt, this took the sting out of the drama. It was no longer possible to claim that the whole of Israel acted with brutality.
The lesson from this media affair is significant. At times it's better to stop for a moment and do the right thing in terms of PR. This is the only way to minimize damage that could have been blow up to a huge extent.
The probe is expected to assert that Lieutenant Colonel Eisner failed in performing his duties. Yet Israel, for a change, did not fail.