Israel’s 60th Birthday

Ignorance is Bliss for Israel by Dave
March 31, 2008, 8:35 am
Filed under: Israel, Israel's 60th Birthday, Public Relations, Ron Prosor, Video | Tags: ,

It would seem no-one in the UK knows very much about Israel (lucky them) and by extension the Middle East. Although the article in the Jewish Chronicle suggests this is a bad thing its actually only bad for Palestine justice activists.

You see justice activists rely on educating people about Israel-Palestine – which takes time. Israel relies on propaganda which works very quickly and can just ‘give positive feelings’ towards the country. Therefore having a nation of blank slates is perfect for them. They also know these blank slates are likely to be passive in the face of their on-going crimes – so long as they can continue to shape the media perception as them ‘retaliating’ to ‘terrorists’.  As they said in their PR conference following the Lebanon 2006 War – “you need to shoot a picture before you shoot them” (Dr Ra’anan Gissin).

If only it were all true. Londoners — well, some Londoners, anyway — believe that “Israelians”, part of a whopping population of 450 million, are getting ready to celebrate their 2,000th anniversary in their capital city. Which is, of course, Iran… or possibly Afghanistan.

Some enterprising researchers from Bicom, the pro-Israel advocacy group, took a video camera out into the streets of London to discover what people did or did not know about Israel. The results, which will be posted on YouTube, were collated to highlight Bicom’s first Israel advocacy training conference, which is being held on April 6 on the JFS school’s campus in Kenton, North-West London.

If these random responses are typical of the population as a whole, then pro-Israel groups may need to re-think their entire approach to outreach education. Beyond the chattering classes, it is not so much a learning curve as a learning flatline, a black hole of fairly good-humoured ignorance about the Middle East. From young professionals to single mothers, from people hanging out on park benches to cheerful fruiterers on London street markets, the responses — often uttered with considered authority — bear little resemblance to the truth.

What are the Golan Heights, Bicom asked. One woman confidently explained: “They’re those buildings with tops, that look gold in certain weathers.” Who is this, the Bicom staffers said, showing respondents a picture of Israeli premier Ehud Olmert.

“Bob Marley,” said one man. (We know the reggae icon sang about “Iron, Lion, Zion”, but that’s pushing it a bit.)

Respondents were on safer ground when asked if they could name three famous Israelis. Two went for Eurovision winner Dana International, while one opted for Chelsea coach Avram Grant. But neither “Arafat” nor “Bin Laden” has ever been a famous Israeli.

Geography was similarly dodgy: Israel’s capital was given as Iran or Afghanistan, while, when asked what countries bordered Israel, one woman riposted brightly: “Vietnam”.

Lorna Fitzsimons, Bicom’s chief executive, said: “Perception is reality when it comes to most things. The video vox-pops we did for our conference, although for fun, show how little people actually know about Israel. There is a danger that we presume too much knowledge when we communicate messages about Israel to UK audiences. The conference is about stripping away these assumptions and getting down to the real view of Israel in Britain and how best to communicate with people accordingly.”

The JC’s media commentator, Alex Brummer, will join — among others — the Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor; John Spellar MP; DJ Collins, head of corporate communications for Google; Michael Prescott, managing director for the communications consultancy Weber Shandwick; and Rick Nye, managing director of pollster Populus, in running sessions during the advocacy day.

The event is designed to give members of the community the skills and confidence to promote or defend Israel either in the media or in daily life and at work.

See the Bicom video

Details of the Bicom advocacy conference


3 Comments so far
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Pingback by THE ISRAEL QUIZ « Desertpeace

I took the liberty of reposting this info on my page…it seems that “Never Again!” only counts for Zionists and neoCONS, and not anyone else…talk about chutzpah.

Comment by hANOVER fIST

Feel free to copy anything I put up if you think its useful 😉

neoCONs 😀 I like it!

Reminds me of a pi8cture I saw recently with the words “CONservative governMENt.” Tried to find it for you but its lost on the WWW somewhere! 😀

Comment by Dave

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