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Friday, January 22, 2010

Re-branding 'Brand Israel'

Remember the 'Brand Israel' nonsense that the foreign ministry wanted us to push at the bloggers' conference a year and a half ago? The idea was that instead of promoting the country the way it has traditionally been promoted, the foreign ministry wanted to promote bikini-clad women on beaches in Tel Aviv and anything that was disconnected from the fact that this is a Jewish state.

Well, Brand Israel was a huge flop. But David Hazony points out three other events over the past several weeks that have done much more to promote Israel's image abroad than Brand Israel could ever have done.

In the past few weeks, however, three major events have propelled Israel to the forefront of the public debate in a much more positive light. Following the unsuccessful undie-bomber attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, Americans effluviated about the need for improved airport security, and suddenly everyone was aware that Ben-Gurion airport has not had a security breach in a generation, despite the fact that its passengers never have to part with their favorite nail clippers or the 6-oz. bottles of perfume they picked up in Tel Aviv. The difference, it seems, is not that Israelis indulge in racial profiling, but that their security personnel are intensely trained to recognize the fact that people who know they are about to die behave differently than ordinary airline passengers (who knew!). Although that’s oversimplifying things, the fact is that Israeli airline security really does put a far greater emphasis on the human components of terror prevention: recognizing behaviors, building a network of informants, and so on.

The second event was the earthquake in Haiti. Within hours, Israel had dispatched more than 200 personnel, including rescue teams and high-level medical staff. They set up a full-fledged field hospital, the only one of its kind, complete with digital imaging, an ICU, and more. For the past couple of days, both this CNN report and this MSNBC one have been passed around the Internet, highlighting Israel’s hospital. In addition, today we learn that the Israelis also set up a global communications center, enabling journalists to use the Internet and phones via Israel’s Amos satellite. One American observer has described this as a “home run” for Israeli PR.

The third was the publication of Saul Singer and Dan Senor’s Start-Up Nation, which hit the New York Times bestseller list. Of all the pro-Israel books to come out in the past year, this one probably made the biggest splash: by highlighting what Israel is indisputably good at (business innovation), Singer and Senor succeeded in changing the subject and constructing a positive image of Israel that is not all war.

How come these recent events have been so successful at helping Israel’s image, while the “rebranding” stunt didn’t?
Read the whole thing to find out why.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I was amused to see Brooks of the NYTimes already attempt to crack a critique on Israeli technology advances. you covered this on your blog.

"The tech boom also creates a new vulnerability. As Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic has argued, these innovators are the most mobile people on earth. To destroy Israel’s economy, Iran doesn’t actually have to lob a nuclear weapon into the country. It just has to foment enough instability so the entrepreneurs decide they had better move to Palo Alto, where many of them already have contacts and homes. American Jews used to keep a foothold in Israel in case things got bad here. Now Israelis keep a foothold in the U.S."

David Brooks reveals a lot about a desire to see the Jewish community fragment and perhaps we should now understand that he is libidinally inclined to wish Jewish failure

Israel's doubters are as threatened by Israel's non war technology as they are by it's defense systems.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel doesn't need to apologize to the world. The Jewish State's character is its own witness to Israel's strength - the kind not found in technology or weapons of war but in faith in the G-d who created the Jewish people and gave them the Torah.


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