Israel’s PR strategy and what is wrong with it can be identified with two words – “defense only”.
We watch with frustration at what can only be identified as ineptitude the way the Israeli government, as well as the Jewish and Christian communities in all parts of the world attempts to deal with what they do not understand. Neither knows what is required to win the PR war, nor are they either willing or able to address the Islamic propaganda machine.
Our organization is best positioned, in large part due to the fact that the people we work with understand Islamic propaganda and the tactics used to win over the misinformed and uninformed public on the issues of the Middle East.
We believe we have the right strategies but we lack the necessary support from the institutions within the Jewish community and the Church. The primary reason we do not get this support is fear and political correctness, which simultaneously affects both the religious communities and the secular world in very similar ways.
To win the PR war, we need to go on offense and be unabashedly fearless of being alienated for our words and actions. In many ways the institutions of both communities can help without exposing themselves – through private support, especially in the area of finance. However, the problem here is that of “Yichas,” the Yiddish word that means credit for one’s own actions, i.e. unless your name goes on the building you do not give the donation.
An example of the weakness of Israel’s PR efforts is the recent controversy over 1600 homes to be built in East Jerusalem in which Israel “apologizes” for the timing of the announcement. The right PR would be – “It is the right of any Jew to live in the promised land of the Jews, and it is blatant racism that there should be a restriction for any Jew or Arab not to be allowed to live in a certain area. If sovereignty is the issue, that should be discussed at peace talks. America, the PA Authority, or any other country has no right to tell Jews where or where not to live.”
If I were the head of the PR department of the Israeli government I would provide secret support to every Arab who supported Israel and provide them the means with expert PR agents to make the case against Islamic fundamentalism as well as explaining Israel’s position. The Arab propaganda machine accuses “the Zionists of owning the media and of a conspiracy”. Their bluff should be called and a real “Zionist conspiracy” should then be formed – it would be the path to victory.
I would create as many controversial events on as many college campuses and at other “hot spots” as possible around the country with these brave Arab and former Muslim speakers. I would never have a Jewish or Israeli speaker. Not because they aren’t educated, knowledgeable or informed but because they have no PR value whatsoever and do not resonate with people who are already predisposed to a left wing anti Zionist perspective. They usually are not controversial unless they are an Israeli ambassador or a “Right wing Israeli politician.” When running events I would not depend on amateur students to promote the events but use paid professionals who know what they are doing. The other commodity is to have at least the courage to invite and help promote politically incorrect speakers.
We do what we can with the limited resources that we have but if the right resources were applied with some establishment leaders then the PR war can be won.
The current presidential administration is hostile toward Israel. However, the American people are currently very inclined to support Israel. That strong position needs to be maintained with strong PR programs that attack the enemies of freedom and of Israel. Stating over and over that Israel is “committed to peace” is not PR but a “guilt trip”. Israel needs to be “committed to truth and Justice for the rights of Jews to live in their own sovereign land with secure and recognized borders” and this should be a non-negotiable. Take out the word “peace” and replace with “Truth and justice” because you cannot get to peace without the truth.
A two state solution was tried in 1947, 67 and Oslo and it ended up in war or severe terrorism; another attempt at such a fantasy will only lead to another war and more dead Jews.
Jews need to be respected, not loved. In over 4000 years of our Jewish history this demand has been lacking from the majority of the Jewish nation. If we can find the leaders who believe in respect over love, the will of G-d over the will of world opinion (currently) the battle for truth and justice will be won. The other alternative would be that the Moshiach (Messiah) takes care of business. May either one come to be, as soon as possible.
Executive Director Walid Shoebat Foundation