Tags: israel | boycott | pr | campaign

Israel Responds to Boycotts with PR campaign

Image: Israel Responds to Boycotts with PR campaign
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference. (Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Sunday, 02 Nov 2014 11:07 AM

Israel is attempting to improve its image to other nations, as there have been multiple calls for boycotts against the nation by people who believe Israel’s policies violate the civil rights of Palestinian people near their borders.

In 2010, Israel’s Ministry of Information and the Diaspora decided the best way to fight the growing global negativity was to launch a PR campaign called Masbirim Israel, which focused on citizens creating a positive image for the country.

“It was the first time a well-organized campaign was launched, systematically employing new-media tools and calling on Israeli citizens to independently take part in improving their country’s international image — all at the behest of a government ministry,” Shay Hershkovitz, a researcher at Sapir Academic College in Tel Aviv, said.

The campaign was not broadly successful as the boycott continued. As a result, the Ministry was shut down in 2013 and became a division of the Prime Minister’s office.

In 2013, Israel started to rely on the head of state for spreading a positive message. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became a regular guest on U.S. news shows, talking about the country’s goals for peace. In a November 4, 2013 issue of The Nation, writer Max Blumenthal noted that Israel had stepped up its “hasbara,” which is the Hebrew word for “explanation.”

“The more the State of Israel relies on force to manage the occupation, the more it feels compelled to deploy hasbara” Blumenthal wrote. “And the more Western media consumers encounter hasbara, the more likely they are to measure Israel’s grandiose talking points against the routine and petty violence, shocking acts of humiliation and repression that define its treatment of the Palestinians.” 

After hostilities broke out in summer 2014, Israel boycott efforts spiked, particularly in response to the death of civilians in Palestine. Some said that the country’s previous efforts at better PR had backfired. Others focused on how the country can do better PR even during war.

According to an August 2014 article in “Israel Today,” the company GNS Digital decided to take on the PR delimma in Israel on its own.  

The company produced a series of “headless” pictures of famous landmarks in response to the ISIS beheadings. PR expert Gil Samsanov explained the campaign as a way for people to draw connections between what’s happening in Israel and what Western citizens fear.
The GNS Digital campaign was “meant to explain that Hamas and ISIS are the same, and that Israel is the only thing standing against this insane wave of Islamic terror that will eventually reach Europe.”

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Israel is attempting to improve its image to other nations, as there have been multiple calls for boycotts against the nation by people who believe Israel’s policies violate the civil rights of Palestinian people near their borders.
israel, boycott, pr, campaign
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2014-07-02
Sunday, 02 Nov 2014 11:07 AM
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