He’s back. The appearance of Mark Regev, spin doctor in chief for the Israeli government, has become customary every time that country is under fire from the international media. To the relief of Regev connoisseurs, last week’s controversy over the boarding of a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza was no exception.
Not for Regev, below, the bumbling and stumbling of a BP boss caught in a crisis. In a bravura performance against John Humphrys last week, he calmly painted Gaza as a consumer paradise awash with Coca-Cola and air conditioning, claiming he had his “facts” from the FT. No comment.
If the men from Mars ever wanted to manufacture a PR man, they would model their robot on Regev. No matter how formidable the interviewer, or how aggressive the questioning, he never buckles under pressure. His disarming Aussie accent and unfailing politeness – he calls interviewers “Sir” and uses phrases like “I beg to disagree” – almost lulls listeners into overlooking his aggression. He is always regretful about death and horror – he regrets that the non-Israeli victims brought their fate on themselves. Viewers are reduced to a trance of slack-jawed amazement at what he is prepared to say with a straight face. He is unlikely to win sceptics to Israel’s cause, but as a PR performer he is horribly compelling.