CSM on the Israeli Masbirim Program: 70 ways to avoid shouting and arguing

Ilene Prusher from CSM writes, "From Israel, a plan to win friends and influence people by working on its image." She summarizes the initiative of citizen propagandists (our term) that the government launched as described on their site, Masbirim Yisrael.

See if you can pick up the not so subtle irony in the CSM story as the head of the program talks about why they have 70 workshops in place.
The government is launching a media campaign to get Israelis to "change the picture" of how they are portrayed through the global media, and dozens of workshops on how to conduct one-on-one discussions with people they meet when they travel abroad....

"In this climate, anti-Semitism is flourishing. Israeli speakers can't appear on university campuses without being heckled and booed. And some outlets will spread terrible lies, such as Israel going to Haiti to do organ harvesting, when we're busy saving lives," says Yuli Edelstein, the Benjamin Netanyahu's Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, who is in charge of the program....

"We already have 70 workshops scheduled in which we will address the issue of how to deliver the message, how to avoid shouting and arguing," Edelstein explains. "This is very important. Israelis sometimes have this image of being, you know, loud and arrogant." ...more...


Richard said...

Starting with shouting and arguing is fine, but there are number of concrete steps Israel can take to improve its image.

1. Dispel the myth that Israel is a colonial power. Israel and the Arab world achieved their independence on or about the same time - that is between the middle of the twentieth century. Let's be clear about the history. Israel is first and foremost the expression of a minority establishing its historic right to exist - much in the same way as Egypt and Greece did in the nineteenth century, Armenia did in the late twentieth century, and Kurdistan is doing today. Secondly, over 50% of Israeli Jews are of Arab origin. The major difference is that Israel did not resort to ethnic cleansing, but rather took a legalistic path.

2. Engage the Arab world to take responsibility for the Palestinian problem. It is outrageous that oil rich countries like Kuwait can deny Israel's right to exist, all while expelling Arab Palestinians from working and living in Kuwait. The Arab world must be called on the carpet for this. Israel would never let a Jewish minority in Saudi Arabia resort to suicide bombing, with financial remuneration for acts of terrorism, and deny these same Jews repatriation rights to Israel proper.

3. Emphasize Israel's working class roots. Jews who emigrated to Israel after WW2 were first and foremost factory workers and socialists. The whole international banking myth must be dispelled for what it is - an outright lie.

4. Increase international good works programs. Israel must be commended for the outstanding work it did in Haiti, it went above and beyond anything the United States did (its nearest neighbor) - not to mention the Arab world. These acts of goodwill are a currency that pays back in multiples when all is said and done.

Fawaz said...

I can add a 5th recommendation:

5. To dispel the myth that Israel is a colonial power and the anti-semitic accusations that it is a pariah state, try the following:

- withdraw from occupied Palestinian land
- give compensation to people who had their property taken from them or destroyed
- give equal rights to Palestinian israelis living in Israel

That would go a long long way in convincing people that Israel is indeed a democtratic country