Experts Weigh In: Why Is Israel Losing The PR War And How Can We Save Ourselves?



It doesn’t take a genius to know that Israeli PR has much to be desired, that slowly but surely the world is being won over by Hamas and Fatah and their smear campaign.

It is not a particularly brilliant smear campaign. Anyone with a third grade education could see through the smoke and mirrors and understand their strategy to lie their way into the hearts and minds of the influencers of the younger generation.

It is almost as if people want to believe the smears. It is almost as if it makes them feel good to see Jews as perpetrators of oppression, in the same way that when Jews were powerless and their ancestors were in power, they perpetrated violence against Jews.

I was talking to my friend Virag Gulyas, a Hungarian non-Jewish Hasbara powerhouse, and we were griping yet again about what a disaster Israeli PR is, how sometimes it seems they feed right into the hand of the enemy.

The reason for that may be that Israel haters come from all kinds of people – the right, the left, the uber religious, the uber secular. Like classic antisemitism, to the communist we are capitalists and to the capitalists we are communists, to the left we are right and to the right we are left, to the poor we are rich and greedy and to the rich we are nouveau-riche in all the worst, tackiest ways. To white people, we are people of color, and to people of color we are white colonizers. As a result we cannot have a one-size fits all message, and what works for one group will often alienate another.

It dawned on me that Israeli PR caters to the lowest common denominator. It tries to cater to everybody to such an extent that it dilutes its message and turns out superficial and flimsy. It also completely avoids the more difficult issues, causing them to appear as if they have something to hide.

I realized that we can complain about Israeli PR all we want, that won’t fix it. Offering solutions will.

I decided to go on a hunt for solutions, to ask all kinds of experts – politicians, authors, thought leaders, marketing executives, journalists, and more – across the political spectrum, encompassing Jews, non-Jews, not only what they think is dafka wrong with our PR (if anything) but how they feel we can best fix it. Some said things similar to me, others were a direct contradiction. Could all of us be right, or none of us, or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

Lex is a trained comedy actor who is Montreal's second-favourite export aside from poutine.