Public Relations and the Art of War: Israel Public Relations

Book excerpt from PR book by: Ronn Torossian: “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations”.

My PR agency has been active in political and issues-based work.: The state of Israel is, for me, a personal and professional passion,: and with love I will say that Israel does a horrible job when it: comes to PR. The simple message that Israel is a tiny, democraticcountry surrounded by murderous despots doesn’t get through–: not to governments, the media, or the public.

Israel’s Prime Minister,: Benjamin Netanyahu, said it so clearly on May 24, 2011,: in his address to the joint session of Congress: “Of 300 million: Arabs in the Middle East, the only ones who are truly free and: live in a democratic country are the Arabs who live in Israel.Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East, Israel is what: is right about the Middle East.”

It doesn’t really matter what you personally think about Israel.: My point is that the state of Israel should be forcefully communicating: sympathetic messages to the world but isn’t. Case in point:: many people don’t understand the difference in size between: all of the Arab states and the Jewish state. The total area of the: state of Israel is 7,951.6 square miles and is surrounded by Arab: nations–Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan–and the Mediterranean: Sea. Egypt alone covers an area of 386,659 square miles.: Israel has a population of about 7.5 million people, and the Arab: nations surrounding her total 300-plus million people.

Everyone can relate to concepts about distance and size, such: as the fact that Israel is the size of New Jersey and is completely: surrounded by much larger countries with huge swaths of land: and bigger populations who would like to see the tiny country: destroyed. Still, the media worldwide writes of the “Jewish settlements”: and “West Bank” as key conflicts between the Arabs: and Israel. Leaving aside the perspective of just how tiny these: areas actually are, or that Israel won them in a defensive war, is: like blaming a flea for a pit bull’s aggressive behavior.

The state of Israel is in real danger, partially because of its: flawed public relations and communications work. In contrast,: terrorist organizations Hamas, Hezbollah, and certain Arab: nations have hired PR agencies to lobby for them in the press: and on the world stage. Terror groups have engaged reporters: and journalists, share meals with them, drink with them, and: win their favor. In 2009, Fenton Communications, a New York: City—based: PR firm, signed two contracts with the Arab state: of Qatar to develop an 18-month campaign to essentially delegitimize: Israel by orchestrating an international anti-Israel: campaign aimed at breaking the blockade of the Gaza Strip.: Israel doesn’t use PR agencies in the United States. It doesn’t: even pay for its diplomatic employees to use cell phones after: hours or on weekends because of archaic and bureaucratic: rules–a necessity in today’s 24/7 media world.

Israel’s PR does a poor job of framing the debate–its spokespeople: are ineffective and have a poor grasp of the English language.: (Israel regularly sends diplomats to countries where the: diplomat doesn’t speak the native language.) There is a lot that: can be done to fight and influence. It’s a question of shaping: concepts and of speaking in terms and metaphors that the: world understands. Look at what happens when private investorslegally buy property in eastern Jerusalem and legally build: homes for Jews. An Internet search reveals that the media see: such construction as evidence of Jewish “occupation” and a primary: reason why there will never be peace in the Middle East.

Why not create messaging about how a Jewish person can: legally build a home and live anywhere in the world–except: Israel? A Jew can buy and build in Harlem or East Los Angeles,: Paris, or Moscow, but not in Jerusalem. They can buy real estate: and coexist elsewhere–why not there? That is the message they: should be sending.

A justified cause is not enough to be right these days, either in: politics or in business. Anyway, being right does not help you: frame the debate nor does it keep you from being constantly on: the defense. It’s not enough to simply convey a message–you: need people to listen. Preparation for war includes a PR battle: plan because PR is a crucial element of any war today.

“For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” by: Ronn Torossian: is an Amazon best selling: Public Relations: book and available for purchase at:: http://www.amazon.com/Immediate-Release-Deliver-Game-Changing-Relations/dp/1936661160

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