web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘business’

False Advertising, Jewish Morality and the Tobacco Industry

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Advertising and marketing are everywhere we look: on billboards and blimps, on television and film, in our newspapers and magazines, on the food boxes we eat from, even on the clothes we wear. This is a far cry from our society 50 years ago – have you ever seen an old film or television show with product placement? These advertisements often increase and shift our desire and even tell us how we might feel and act. Consumer behavior shifts based not on personal needs, economic considerations, or ethical concerns, but on the power of gimmicks and social branding.

For better or worse, the United States has become the advertising capital of the world. Total U.S. advertising expenditures reached nearly $140 billion in 2012, more than a quarter of world advertising expenditures. These can range from the sponsorship of valuable cultural activities or messages urging a more healthful living style to deceptive ads from businesses that endlessly claim to be going out of business and holding one final sale.

One example of an industry full of deceptive advertising is big tobacco, which promotes one of the most addictive and life-threatening substances known to humanity. From top to bottom, it issues false propaganda. For example, in 1994, executives of seven tobacco companies testified before Congress and lied by saying that smoking tobacco was not addictive. Significantly, however, when pressed, the executives added that they hoped that their children would not become smokers.

Tobacco advertisers have proven extraordinarily resilient and successful in promoting their products. While tobacco ads have been banned from radio and television for more than a generation, they have discovered other ways to advertise. They have learned to increase their messaging through sponsoring sports and social events where people cannot avoid exposure to their logos. In addition, cigarette companies target specific populations using various tactics:

Fortunately, society can take steps against such harmful advertisements and promotions, and we can resist false messages. We no longer have to contend with smoke-filled restaurants and theaters, or feel obligated to have ashtrays in our home ready for anyone who chooses to come in and smoke at will. Also, the percentage of American smokers has declined from about 42 percent in 1965 to 19 percent in 2011. In addition, the federal government passed legislation in 2009 that empowered the FDA to regulate tobacco products and gave states the right to restrict cigarette advertising and promotion through means such as restricting the time and place where these activities could occur. Thus far, 20 states now restrict or prohibit places where free tobacco samples can be distributed. Still, today nearly 44 million Americans smoke tobacco, and in 2011 cigarette companies spent $8.37 billion on advertising and promotional activities in the United States. Advertising has the power to persuade, and to deceive.

As religious Jews, one pertinent question about advertising and its relationship to deception and promoting harmful decisions and habits is, what is halacha’s view of this?

In “The Impact of Jewish Values on Marketing and Business Practices,” Hershey Friedman, a professor at Brooklyn College, argues that while Jewish law may not explicitly forbid the influencing of consumers, it clearly violates the spirit of the law. (Specifically, it is geneivat data, deception, which is a Biblical prohibition).

The Talmud (Chullin 94a) gives an example of how business must not include any deception, towards Jews or non-Jews: “A person should not sell shoes made of the leather of an animal that died of natural causes (which is inherently weaker) under the pretense that it was made from the leather of an animal that was slaughtered.” The Shulchan Aruch bring this as halachah (CM 228:6).

Businesses need to compete, and advertising is the norm in commercial life. It is not an option to stop advertising. Further, Jewish law does embrace the notion that a reasonable person’s expectation can be assumed. One Talmudic passage gives an example:

Mar Zutra was once going from Sikara to Mahoza, while Rava and R. Safra were going to Sikara; and they met on the way. Believing that they had come to meet him, he said, “Why did you take the trouble to come so far to meet me?” R. Safra replied, “We did not know that you were coming; had we known, we would have done more than this.” Rava said to him, “Why did you say that to him? Now you have upset him.” He replied, “But we would be deceiving him otherwise.” “No, he would be deceiving himself” (Chullin 94b).

Rav Safra argues that one may not gain from the false perception of another. Rather one must proactively correct that misunderstanding to ensure an unfair moral debt is not created. Rava, on the other hand, believes there is responsibility from the other not to be self-deceived. Aaron Levine, author of “Case Studies in Jewish Business Ethics,” explains that one must not only avoid wrong but proactively assure consumers of the truth. “The seller’s disclosure obligation consists not only of a duty not to mislead in an affirmative manner but also of a requirement to disabuse the customer of his reasonable misperception about the product.”

We see from these sources that Jewish law demands that we be extremely cautious in protecting and promoting the truth. We should take note of and observe these principles in our daily interactions with our fellows on the street, in the beit midrash, in workplace, and in the voting booth and when we talk about creating regulations for advertising.

Google Analytics, Strategy, and You

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

How can you make your online business a success in today’s world of SEO and social media? In the first part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt podcast, listen to Doug’s interview with Daniel Waisberg, an Analytics advocate at Google, to find out the tactics of building a business on line and how to make the Google search engine process work for you.

A Worried Wife And Mother

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

I was pleased to see the letter from a reader titled “Not of This Generation” in your July 12 column, as well as your reply to her over the following two weeks.

I’m also one of those people who are “Not of This Generation.” My friends and I thought your response to the letter writer was perfect, so I thought you might just be the one to help my husband and I resolve our conflict.

We have five children who are all married with lovely families of their own. I know that is a great blessing. My friends always tell me how lucky I am, and I thank Hashem every day. But still have problems.

My husband has his own business. He worked very hard on building it and making it what it is today. In our younger years there were days he never came home. He actually slept in the office. Four years ago my husband started to turn over the business to our children. Two of my sons are professionals so they weren’t interested; our three other children – two sons and one son-in-law – became very much involved and are in the business today.

As you might imagine, there has been some sibling rivalry but my husband managed to smooth it all out. I just hope that (after 120, as we say) there won’t be any split in our family. I’m always frightened of that and my husband to some extent shares my sentiment; however, he does not think there is anything to really worry about. I think he is deluding himself because he doesn’t want to face such a possibility.

In one of our family conferences we pointed out to the children that there is room for everyone if they chose to live in peace but if they opt for acrimony and contention, not only will the business collapse but the entire family will be in jeopardy as well. They all nodded their heads and assured us it won’t happen. But I could see from their expressions that our words hadn’t penetrated.

When I mentioned this to my husband, he said I was getting carried away. Rebbetzin, I have seen families where cousins, aunts and uncles are not even invited to one another’s weddings. Several of my friends have this very problem and tell me that jealousy destroyed their families and businesses.

I have another problem. My husband is 69 and thinking of retiring and moving to Florida. I ask him, “What will you do there?” He replies, “I’ll do what other people do. I’ll play some golf. Maybe I’ll take on a hobby. I always wanted to paint but never had time for it. I’ll to the gym. I’ll play cards. I’ll go boating. I just want to relax and live my life without pressure.”

To make me feel better he tells me, “You can have a wonderful relaxing life. You’ll find many friends. You can learn new hobbies. And then there are things we can do together. We can go out to dinner, to lunch – you won’t even have to cook. There are so many great restaurants in Florida. The weather is good. We can join other friends and have a good time.”

It all sounds wonderful and under normal circumstances I’d love to move to Florida. My sister lives in Boca Raton and I could take a place right near her. Additionally, I have many friends in the area and I know I could have a nice social life. But I’m just so concerned about our children. Perhaps “children” is the wrong word because they are adults, but they will always be my children. My husband tells me I’m being ridiculous, that we can’t watch them forever.

We are not all that observant. We are not fully shomer Shabbos but we are traditional, keep a kosher home and go to synagogue. We support Israel. And we are regular readers of The Jewish Press who very much respect your views and opinions.

My husband is convinced you will agree with him. If that’s the case, I’ll accept it. My husband acknowledges that many families have become divided because of money but he assures me this won’t happen with our children. They come from a good home. Their parents and grandparents (maternal and paternal) imbued them with love and family responsibility.

The children are encouraging my husband to retire. “Dad, Mom,” they say, “just go; we’ll be okay. We won’t do anything radical without discussing it with you. And we’ll come down to Florida a few times a year and you’ll come visit us here.” And then they turn to me. “It’s not like you’re moving to a different country Mom. It’s no big deal. It’s only a two-and-a-half hour flight.”

And yet I’m still very nervous, Rebbetzin. I do hope you can address my problem and that you’ll do so sooner rather than later because my husband is ready to go ahead with his plans.

I wish you a happy and a healthy new year. Your column and books have been blessings in my life.

PA Entrepreneurs Shun Politics in Cisco Systems Training

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Palestinian Authority entrepreneurs are not interested in politics and concentrate on business in a Cisco-Israel training program, Forbes business magazine reported. Israeli Jewish high-tech experts coach PA CEOs and middle-level managers in the sessions.

Cisco CEO John Chambers began thinking about the program after meeting with  chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2008.

“I personally went to Cisco and said, ‘Forget about donating; allocate part of the money and help us create jobs,” according to  Tariq Maayah, a top Palestinian entrepreneur and business leader who spoke with Forbes.

Jews are carrying out the training because Cisco could not find any qualified PA Arabs.

“We didn’t find any Palestinian experts with the kind of credentials or backgrounds we needed,  and to bring them from the [United] States would be too expensive, so we have to use the Israeli Jews. Because we have plenty of those in Israel,” explained Gai Hetzroni, a top Cisco R&D executive. “

PA Arabs May Have to Go Hungry and Naked to Boycott Israel

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Israel’s Fox clothing store chain plans to open a branch in Ramallah, the heart of the Palestinian Authority, may put a feather in the cap of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s economic hopes for the PA but also may unwittingly kill Kerry’s “peace process” efforts.

It also might bring Arabs and Jews closer to peace.

As reported on Monday, Palestinian Authority activists are outraged over the idea of Fox moving into Ramallah because it has committed the ultimate sin of operating stores in Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria.

Fox spokesperson Merav Stav said that the Ramallah store will be run by a PA franchise owner, but that does not calm those who want a boycott of any Israeli firm that deals with Jews in Judea and Samaria.

“The public rejects the opening of the Zionist clothing chain in Ramallah,” wrote one activist on an Internet site.

The news of Fox’s expansion into Ramallah has reached around the world, from Europe to China as well as the United States.

Fox runs 135 stores in Israel and another 245 outside the country, and CEO Harel Wizel plans another 60 branches in two years.

Large billboards already are posted in Ramallah to advertise the new store to be opened later this year.

Fox’s plans are an untended slap in the face of the European Union, which last week declared a boycott of any firm that has operations in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and areas of Jerusalem that were occupied by Jordan before 1967.

Now we will see if the EU is prepared to put an “x” on Fox’s stores in Europe.

The world already has learned that boycotting all of Israel does not work, unless the idealists want to give up their computers with made-in-Israel Intel chips, generic drugs and the Copaxone drug against Muscular Sclerosis made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, Waze, and all sorts of high-tech gadgets.

But there is a bigger problem for Arabs in the Palestinian Authority who promote the boycott of “anyone who deals with “settlers,” except, perhaps, terrorists who do their best to end the need for a boycott by trying to put an end to Jews living there.

There are businesses besides Fox that serve Arabs in the Palestinian Authority, even if not in Arab-dominated cities.

Rami Levi’s supermarkets chains employ hundreds of Arabs and serves thousands of them in his stores in Judea and Samaria as well as in areas of Jerusalem claimed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

And Israel’s Burger Ranch franchise owner Eli Orgad already has announced he will open a branch in Ariel, in central Samaria, next year, where nearby Arabs undoubtedly will be shopping.

The mall is being developed by none other than Rami Levy.

Jobs and comfortable shipping are not worth the misery of having to enjoy a decent life that also helps the profits of Israelis “supporting the occupation.” In the blind eyes of hard-core activists.

It “inconceivable that while the Europeans have decided to boycott settler products, Palestinians are helping an Israeli company do business in Ramallah,” Palestinian Authority activist Zeid al-Shuaibi told the Jerusalem Post this week.

Without the Jews, either by war or through Kerry’s peace process, the PA would be left without the economic engine that has kept the Palestinian Authority alive.

If the boycotters want to be honest, they should be avoiding Osem cookies, Elite chocolates and coffee, Tnuva milk products and Strauss ice cream, because all of those products are sold in stores operated by those pesky “settlers.”

With Fox’s entry into Ramallah, PA activists, the International Solidarity Movement’s paid protesters living in Judea and Samaria, and European Union officials are welcome to stand fast and back the boycott, do without Fox clothes and stick to a diet of Arab-made pita.

Fox, Rami Levi and Orgad are making mincemeat out of the idea of the PA ideology of an Arab apartheid state.

When Kerry eventually realizes that the Arab leaders are not interested in any peace process, the Palestinian Authority likely will return to where it was before the days of the Intifada in the late 1980s, when Jews shopped freely in Gaza and hired Arabs, when Jews toured and shopped in Arab villages in Judea and Samaria, and when peace never was closer.

Bennett Says China to Study Free Trade Proposal

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Minister of the Economy Naftali Bennett announced during his visit to China that Beijing officials have agreed to carry out a survey to determine the value of a free trade policy.

China previously has rejected approaches from Israel that it conduct a study, and this week’s agreement, a pre-condition for a trade agreement,  was unexpected.

It probably will take one to two years to complete the survey, which will be the basis for a free-trade agreement with Israel if the results are positive.

Bennett told Globes, “Trade between Israel and China totals about $8 billion annually, and forecasts are that such an agreement would considerably increase the amount so that more and more small and medium Israeli companies could become involved in bilateral economic activities with China.”

Israel’s exports to China in 2012 rose 0.9% to $2.74 billion, with a large part attributed to  exports from Intel and Israel Chemicals.

“The Chinese pay major attention to Israel. The Chinese government has taken a strategic decision to strengthen economic relations with Israel and good things are happening between the two countries in this sphere” an official accompanying Bennett told Globes.

Israeli-Founded Traffic Safety ‘Mobileye’ Firm Raises $400 Million

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The Israeli-founded Mobileye firm, which develops camera-based program for the auto industry to assist drivers, has raised $400 million through five investors, including Enterprise Rent A Car, to raise the company’s value to $1.5 billion.

“This successful transaction is a testament to the strength of our business and the company’s future prospects. We are excited to have such world-class investors joining forces with us as we move into the next growth phase of our company,” said Mobileye CEO and co-founder Ziv Aviram.

The company plans an IPO, probably in New York, by the end of 2014 to help it introduce more products and reach out to more international markets.

The New York Times reported that the new investors are three of the largest asset management firms in the United States – BlackRock, Fidelity Management and Wellington Management, the Chinese investment company Sailing Capital, and Enterprise.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-founded-traffic-safety-mobileye-firm-raises-400-million/2013/07/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: