Internet prankster to replace Mark Regev as Israeli spokesman

Internet prankster to replace Mark Regev as Israeli spokesman
2 min read
05 Feb, 2016
Replacing Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev was always going to be a difficult job but it seems Israeli PM Netanyahu is not looking for a like-for-like candidate.
David Keyes is set to replace Mark Regev as Israeli PM's spokesman [photo credit: screenshot]

Defending the Israeli prime minister on the world's TV stations is no easy job, which is why the departure of Mark Regev - renowned for his bulldog-like buttressing of Binyamin Netanyahu - has certainly left some big shoes to be filled.

Yet, it seems that the Israeli PM is not looking for a like-for-like replacement, as he turns to Internet prankster David Keyes for the solution.

Such a tough role may seem beyond the capabilities of an Internet prankster, however Keyes has also made his name as an online 'freedom activist' as executive director of the New York based group Advancing Human Rights.

Adding to his resume is also his running of Cyberdissidents.org, a website that publicises the work of Middle Eastern activists, or provides state intelligence services with a one-stop shop for identifying dissidents - depending on which way you look at it.

Indeed, Cyberdissidents.org has in the past been criticised for publicising the names and details of Arab activists without their permission, including that of imprisoned Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fatah.

It seems that the Israeli PM has seen some hidden potential in the man who recently 'punked' Iranian diplomats on a visit to Washington.


Whether Keyes' work has done more harm than good, it seems that the Israeli PM has seen some hidden potential in the man who recently 'punked' Iranian diplomats on a visit to Washington.

The appointment is still awaiting confirmation, however several Israeli news outlets have already reported that he will succeed Regev for the role of spokesman.

Replacing Regev was always going to be difficult. However maybe, just maybe, some parallels can be drawn from the careers of these two men.

Keyes remains forthright in his role as a human rights activist, despite potentially endangering the lives of those he seeks to help.

Similarly, Regev was a stalwart defender of Israeli foreign policy, even when it seemed to do more harm than good. Or perhaps we are just grasping at straws here.

For a man who has styled himself as an advocate of online freedom, working for a government that has imprisoned Palestinian dissidents for Facebook posts is not the most logical progression.

You could say that to justify this move would be a defence of the indefensible - but is that not what the role of prime minister's spokesman is all about?