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Thursday, September 25, 2008
Weekly Commentary: Girls in bikinis can't take place of serious work in arguing Israel's case

Weekly Commentary: Girls in bikinis can't take place of serious work in
arguing Israel's case

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 25 September 2008

While the Israeli Government's PR campaign overseas devotes its seriously
limited budget to "branding" Israel by showing how its a nice place with
girls in bikinis, homosexuals and high tech (the three element PR firms
typically recommend we highlight), the Left is pouring resources into
trashing Israel overseas on policy related matters.

Problem:

- The most eye catching girl in a bikini can't do damage control when Israel
looks bad in the news.

- Advertising that Israel has a fantastic homosexual community doesn't
explain why Israel needs to enforce so-called "humiliating" security
measures in the West Bank or control the flow of people and goods between
the Gaza Strip and the outside world.

- Highlighting Israel's high tech achievements can certainly get foreigners
to admire our smarts, but that won't convince them of the dangerous and
unworkable nature of the proposition that Israel should just "give peace a
chance" and withdrawal from the last inch of the West Bank (including
eastern Jerusalem) and the Golan Heights and welcome "home" the '48
Palestinian refugees.

That's not to say that there isn't a place for letting the world see the
pretty and favorable side of Israel that has nothing to do with the
Arab-Israeli conflict. Just that such projects in no way free the Jewish
State from the very serous and critical job of explaining and defending
Israel's policies and interests before the world.

Why then is the "branding" campaign favored by FM Livni and others?

Well, for one thing, it is a lot easier to photograph a model in a bikini
than argue policy or defend Israel in the face of breaking news items.

Defending Israel against some NGO press release slamming the IDF for doing
"X" against "Y" in a timely fashion requires not only tremendous cooperation
and resources within the IDF and elsewhere but also critical decision making
weighing the benefits of publishing evidence that proves the NGO was wrong
against the costs of releasing the information (for example, photographs and
videos whose release would provide our enemies insight into our surveillance
capabilities or other sensitive information).

And while managing damage control is more a question of resources than
ideology, explaining why proposal "X" is dangerous and unacceptable opens a
Pandora's Box that many of the senior staff at the Foreign Ministry really
don't want to touch.

First: Because those who faithfully embrace the secular messianic proposal
that withdrawing from every last inch of the West Bank and Golan Heights
will miraculously herald an era of utopian peace don't personally believe
that proposal "X" is dangerous and unacceptable

Second: Because while Israel today may reject proposal "X", it may accept it
tomorrow, so why supply opponents of proposal "X" with ammunition that can
be used against it in the future?

Again. It is a great thing for the world to know we have beautiful scantily
dressed girls, homosexuals and high tech. But all that good "branding" won't
help if we fail to convincingly make our case on matters relating to the
Arab-Israeli conflict.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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