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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘PR’

Win Friends and Influence People with Emotional Appeals

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

On Monday, I attended several events here in Fresno with the regional Consul General of Israel, Dr. Andy David.

He discussed various topics, including one very close to my heart, the ongoing information war against Israel (my words, not his). In response to a question about how American friends of Israel can help, he said  that we should do what we can to change the way people envision Israel, from a site of conflict to a “normal country.”

It’s better for people to think of Israel as a beautiful country with a high-tech economy and a cultured population than as a target of terrorism and war. Americans are simply not interested in things that they can’t relate to their everyday lives, so we should stop talking about rockets and start talking about how much fun it would be to spend a few weeks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We should send our kids on Birthright trips, etc.

There is no doubt that he has a point. For example, a college student tells me that he supports BDS (boycott-divestment-sanctions) against Israel because “they stole the Palestinians’ land.” I respond, “no, let me explain about the Mandate, Arab immigration into Palestine in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Mufti, resolution 242 … instant glazed eyes.

But if he had visited Israel, perhaps studied there, if he knew Israelis and understood that they are normal people with normal aspirations, it would be harder for him to accept that these people were actually vicious oppressors and thieves; he would perhaps be more prepared to listen to their side of the story.

It doesn’t help to bombard Americans with stories about terrorist atrocities, said David. They don’t relate to them, and the other side is doing the same. They are lying and we are not, but the listener doesn’t care. He tunes out.

As I said, he has a point. Nothing is more important than letting our young people see Israel for themselves, because, as he said, for a Jew or a Christian it is a powerful, sometimes life-changing, experience.

But there is another point of view. Not exactly a contradictory one, but perhaps another aspect. Orit Arfa starts with a similar premise — that Israel is losing the information war — but has a different prescription:

At almost every pro-Israel lecture I attend, someone feels compelled to ask an unrelated question at the end: “Why does Israel have such bad PR”?

Part of the problem with Israel’s PR is the fact that we even refer to an intellectual defense of Israel as “public relations.”It’s not a matter of mere PR or image. It’s a matter of our core values and our willingness to stand up for what we believe and know is right and true, no matter what the cost. We could have exponentially more effective PR if we spent less money, but tapped into our other hidden treasures: our conviction, passion, honesty, and fearlessness.

Israel’s enemies are good because they offer “black and white” messages, using humanitarian language that makes Israel’s enemies sound like the oppressed and downtrodden. They do not sugarcoat their lies. They say:

* Israel is an apartheid State

* Israel is an occupying power

* IDF soldiers are war criminals

And how do Israel’s spokespeople—both in and out of the Israeli government–fight these lies?

* They give long, arduous facts to debunk those claims

* They assert that Israel simply wants peace * They assert that “it’s complicated/complex”

* They boast that Israel is a leader in hi-tech. (Without Israel, you wouldn’t have cell phones!)

I’ll tell you why these strategies rarely make a dent. The general population doesn’t care about drawn-out facts, especially in this television/Facebook obsessed, fast food/fast consumption culture. We need to answer such claims with strong messages as simple and pure as the ones that Israel’s enemies use - except ours will be honest. You can’t fight lies with “it’s complicated.” You have to throw the intellectual attacks back in their court, with statements like:

* The Arab world consists of apartheid states

* “Palestine”is a made-up nation and the “Palestinians” are a made-up people

* Palestinian leaders are war criminals

Hit them hard, don’t be afraid of being called an ‘extremist’, and above all, be consistent, she says. People are not influenced by rational argument, but rather by emotion, so make your appeals powerful and emotional.

Finding the Jewish Billy Graham, the Israeli Martin Luther King

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The Jewish people can be characterized as a noble and distinguished nation who have excelled in nearly every area but sports and messaging. We can cite but a handful of Jews who have won an Olympic medal, caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl, or hit a home run in the World Series. And we can cite even fewer who have succeeded in countering the prevailing notion of the Jews as Christ-killing political subversives who have cynically sucked the economic life out of the nations that have been gracious enough to host them.

The failure at sports is forgivable. If the Jews do not hoist the Vince Lombardy trophy their peoplehood might yet survive. The failure at PR, however, is fatal. The catalogue of accusations that have been hurled against the Jews without a proper riposte boggles the imagination and has led to mounds of dead Jews.

Two thousand years ago we were accused of murdering the man Christians believe was the creator’s son. A thousand years later we were drinking the blood of all Christian sons. A few hundred years and we were now poisoning the wells of Europe. And in modern times we are bombing innocent Palestinian children, cutting down their olive gardens, and evicting them from their homes.

My recent Congressional race was against an opponent who had signed a letter accusing Israel of collective punishment against the Palestinians in Gaza. Many pro-Israel groups said they would support him nonetheless because words did not matter so much as actions and Bill Pascrell had repeatedly voted to support Israel aid. The same is now being said of Chuck Hagel whose accusations against the Jews run the gamut from intimidation to “keeping Palestinians caged up like animals.” But he is kosher because he voted for American military aid to Israel. The rest is but commentary.

But of what use are American helicopter gunships that were given to Israel as a result of these votes if they cannot even be deployed because of the deligitimization that resulted from harmful words hurled by lawmakers? You can have the strongest army on earth. But if it can’t be used because a CNN camera is trained on it amid false accusations of atrocities over legitimate defense then that military force may as well not exist.

What I’m really saying is that PR is nearly the whole ball game and we Jews have lost the battle not just in modern times with Israel but throughout a long and tragic history. A nation charged with being a light unto the nations has singularly failed to communicate the humanity of its character, the generosity of its lifestyle, and the holiness of its ways.

In mid-century America evangelical Christianity was seen as extreme, fundamentalist, unsophisticated, and backward. Evangelicals believed in a faith-filled revival but the results were dismal. Then, a great charismatic spokesman arose in the son of a dairy farmer named Billy Graham. The focus on communication, messaging, and mass-market public relations turned the tide. Today, an astonishing one out of every five Americans calls themselves a born-again Christian.

Charismatic spokesmen likewise turned the tide of the civil rights movement. In 1955 black men and women were required to move to the back of the bus in many cities of the South, including Birmingham, Alabama. A black child kicking a soccer ball in the oppressive summer heat of Selma could not drink water from a white fountain. Rising to the occasion to protest this humiliating injustice, Martin Luther King, Jr., all of 25 years old, found the words to combat the monstrous prejudice and convince the masses to march. His stirring words haunt us still today. “There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair.”

But one searches in vein for the Jewish Billy Graham or the Jewish Martin Luther King. Where are the great spokesmen of our people to teach the world of Jewish charity, Jewish education, and Jewish values? Why are we not training a generation of media and press Ambassadors to expose and reverse the fraudulent accusations against Israel that are daily occurrences at the U.N., the BBC, and the Arab press?

Why Jews Are So Bad at PR

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The biggest question surrounding the State of Israel is why it is so hated. The conventional wisdom is that the world remains hopelessly anti-Semitic and is therefore deeply biased against the Jewish State. No doubt there is some truth to this assertion.

But to absolve Israel and the Jewish people of any involvement in this monumental failure to communicate strikes me as convenient and allows us to blame others for our shortcomings.

In truth, while the State of Israel was asleep the Arabs pulled off one of the great propaganda coups in global history. They somehow convinced the nations of the world that six million embattled Jews, with a deep commitment to democracy, human rights, and religious pluralism were the aggressors in a war with hundreds of millions of oil-rich Arabs, whose governmental commitment to women’s and religious rights is tenuous at best and appalling at worst. The Palestinians in particular demonstrated a black belt in PR by convincing the world that amid their rejection of every peace deal ever offered to them, including the 1947 UN Partition plan, that it is Israel that has no interest in peace.

More than anything else ours is an age of media. Those who master media rise to great heights while those with contempt for PR most often fall. In 2000 Barack Obama lost in his run for Congress. Eight years later he was the most powerful man on earth. Why? Because in that time he mastered the media, wooed radio and TV producers, and won over op-ed columnists with his vision for America. Agree or disagree with this policies, his meteoric rise is a demonstration of how mastery over the organs of communication ultimately leads to mastery over the opinions of the people.

Yet here we are, a nation with a Biblical charge of serving as a light unto the Nations, that is simply terrible at communication. Perhaps we Jews feel that we will never be understood anyway, so why try. Or perhaps it’s that Israel’s cause seems so self-evidently just that it requires no explanation. Or maybe it’s that we find PR to be trite and superficial, all form with little substance. No matter the explanation, we have ceded the PR ground to Israel’s enemies.

The price paid is steep. What good is having Apache helicopter gunships, or Merkava tanks, to defend your citizens against attack if you can’t even use them because the world thinks you’re always the aggressor? Indeed, in the recent war in Gaza Israel did well in the PR battle precisely because it was using a defensive weapon – Iron Dome – which the world, amid its bias, could not possibly construe as an offensive instrument.

But the people paying the biggest price for Israel’s often deplorable PR efforts are Jewish students on campus the world over. It is at universities which are, for the most part, great bastions of liberalism that PR attacks against Israel are the most strategically coordinated and most effective. I remember as Rabbi at Oxford how well funded the Arab student organizations were while we struggled to convince donors of the importance of influencing impressionable young minds with pro-Israel advocates. Inevitably, the haphazard Jewish response by mostly volunteer activists on the world’s campuses is no match for the well-coordinated and well-funded efforts of anti-Israel campaigns that have become de rigueur on campuses throughout the world.

It is for this reason that at universities, more than anywhere else, there must be an effort to galvanize Jewish student leaders who are naturals at PR. And they must be cultivated from an early age.

The news stories this week that Ron Dermer, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s senior adviser, may be tapped to be Israel’s next Ambassador to the United States, is a case in point. If the news is accurate then American Jewry can look forward to an electrifying few years of pro-Israel arguments on the American airwaves with little previous parallel. Michael Oren, Israel’s current Ambassador, is already one of the greatest communicators ever to occupy the role. As a world class historian prior to taking the post, he has further distinguished himself as an eloquent and magisterial defender of the Jewish State.

Cut from the same cloth, Dermer will take this to the next level. In my experience, Ron is quite simply the most capable and erudite advocate for Israel alive anywhere in the world today. From the time that he arrived at Oxford in the mid-1990s as a brilliant political science superstar from the University of Pennsylvania, he shone as a leader and as one of the University’s most charismatic students. At the time, the battles we faced in making the case for Israel at one of the world’s premier universities was intense. Oxford receives a great deal of Arab philanthropy and each year graduates the sons and daughters of the leading Arab families of the Middle East. In addition, the University has long had a romantic history of Arabism and Lawrence of Arabia was one of Oxford’s greatest twentieth century products.

Gimme Five

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

This is U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sarah Baker with a group of children during a security halt in Qalat City, Afghanistan. Baker is assigned to the Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul’s security force and is deployed from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.

It is a staged picture, obviously, directed by the photographer, or, worse, by headquarters’ PR person. They called the kids over and asked them to slap five, or worse, bussed the kids over from their neighborhood, or, worse yet, hired the kids and the soldier from Central Casting – we have no idea.

So that, strangely, this image of a female U.S. soldier joshing with a group of Afghani children represents bot a reality but a kind of visual wishful thinking. Because we know there aren’t in the world Afghani children joshing with U.S. soldiers, not in the wild, anyway. Because Afghanistan is quickly retreating into what it has always been, a backwards, mountainous, harsh land, with a warlike people who grow poppy and kill each other for sport.

Somehow, the U.S. leadership figured it could succeed in “civilizing” the Afghani, save their women from a life of slavery, educate their children, improve their hospitals – after the Soviet Union and the British Empire and half a dozen other invaders have failed.

Or maybe it just gave us something to do to while away the time and the budget. Folks got rich, nothing to scoff at.

So we’re looking at a soldier and some children pretending to be having some cross-cultural fun together, as dreamed up by a PR team in a conquered country soon to be left to its own devices at the whopping cost of many billions of dollars.

Your tax dollars at make-work?

Zionism 2.0

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

As a child in the 1970s and ‘80s in the United States, I used to define Zionism in blunt, simple terms.

If you wore a white shirt with blue pants on Yom Ha’atzmaut, you were behaving like a Zionist. If you had pictures hanging in your home with Israel themes, such as the famous June 1967 photo of the three soldiers standing by the Western Wall or the one of Begin, Carter and Sadat shaking hands at Camp David, that made you a Zionist.

And if your family ever visited Israel (which mine never did), that was the ultimate illustration of Zionism – especially if you returned to the U.S. wearing sandals and/or a particularly colorful kippah.

Of course, time goes by. We and our definitions evolve. My first visit to Israel was at 26, and it was only seven years later, in December 2004, that my wife and I became Israelis, as did our children, when we made aliyah.

And as Israelis, we all know that one person’s Zionism (see: Jeremy Ben-Ami) may not be another’s (see: Aryeh Eldad). And while it is important for each of us to be clear on what Zionism is to us, it is also important for us to respect Zionism as it is defined by others.

As the PR/marketing advisory board member of Tmura – the Israel Public Service Venture Fund, I have spent significant time with founder Yadin Kaufmann and executive director Baruch Lipner discussing how to move the organization’s marketing efforts forward on a consistent basis.

And with now almost 250 high-tech companies contributing stock options to Tmura and more than 24 million shekels being donated by Tmura to youth and education initiatives in Israel, it is clear that Tmura’s model works. But it is equally clear – and important – for us to celebrate what Tmura has accomplished in Zionistic terms, as it celebrates this year its 10th anniversary, given the organization’s focus on the next generation.

We all know about the sacrifice of Israel’s founding fathers (and mothers) for the sake of making Israel a reality. But let’s face it. Herzl, Jabotinsky, Rav Kook – they were gone before Israel even existed. David Ben-Gurion was 61 when he proclaimed Israel’s independence. Chaim Weizmann was 73 at the time. They all knew they were not fighting, plowing, fundraising and praying for their own benefit. They were doing so for future generations of Jews.

In general, when we look at who is impressive, whether in the world of high-tech, science, education, finance or art, it is those who build. Warren Buffett is not amazing because he is rich. He is amazing because he has built something unique and successful by having a vision for the future decades ago.

Sometimes, as a PR executive who generally focuses on helping Israeli high-tech companies communicate their products or services to the world outside Israel, it is easy to focus on the day to day and not appreciate the long-term impact on the state of Israel from the work I do.

But it is up to each of us to remind ourselves that the work we do is not about all of us being fat and happy today. It’s about us continuing to work hard to ensure a better tomorrow for our children.

In fact, when leaders demonstrate that all they care about is today (see: Moshe Dayan stealing archeological artifacts or Dan Halutz selling his personal stock portfolio when the Second Lebanon War broke out), that’s when we find them truly repulsive.

Yes, people like Ben-Gurion, Herzl, Jabotinsky and Rav Kook had us in mind during their lives. And that’s how I would hope our leaders think today.

I look at my children today and wonder what their definition of Zionism will be. Will it be finding a way for high-tech entrepreneurs to contribute in a new way to Israel’s future, like Tmura 2.0? Will it be focused on helping all Jews to love one another?

I don’t know. Ultimately, our children will define Zionism in a way that will make sense to them.

But today we should have the following in mind as we go about our business, whatever that business may be: Is what we are doing playing a role in building a stronger future for our children and grandchildren as Jews here in Israel?

Sheldon Adelson’s Umbrella

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Sheldon Adelson is again under attack in the media. This time the billionaire is being criticized for his effort to target Jewish voters in swing states including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Why are the media so infatuated with an established self-made man who is doing what any active political advocate does – educating voters to see his point of view?

In today’s world, money affects politics on both the left and the right. It happens all over the world, not just in the United States, and maybe, just maybe, liberals are nervous because finally there’s someone on the right standing up to them with the force to be heard.

Like many Jews, Adelson votes on a variety of issues, not just Israel. He grew up with modest means as the son of immigrants. He dropped out of City College of New York and built a successful business. As his wealth increased, he turned to the Republican Party after realizing it was not fair to pay a higher percentage of taxes just because he worked to become a success.

I see it as he does. I am a product of the New York City public school system, have worked hard for my money and, according to government classifications, am “rich.” But I have also made many sacrifices to get where I am.

Adelson is surely reflective of changing Jewish demographics that show the Jewish community becoming more observant and traditional. He is reflective of a Jewish community that feels government is putting more strain on the hardworking entrepreneur. Government, local and national, is taxing energetic people who work every day to create opportunities for themselves and others.

Much of the mainstream media’s fascination with Adelson stems from the fact that he is a rarity – a tough Jew, a “Republican Conservative” putting his money where his mouth is, standing up and saying, “I am Jewish, proud and don’t give a damn what anyone has to say about it.”

It is refreshing and great to see. Many in the media are so accustomed to Jewish influence on the left that Adelson surprises and even frightens them.

Adelson is simply doing what his longtime friend Fred Zeidman said months ago he would: “…devote his energy and money to the overriding issue, which is beating Barack Obama.”

In a world where so many wealthy Jews follow the “Torah of Liberalism,” as Norman Podhoretz calls it, what is better than a man working for a strong America as he believes it should be? Adelson and others, like Dr. Irving Moskowitz, are working to make the world better for all who believe in an economically, physically and intellectually strong America – and using their money to help get the message out.

Every other socioeconomic group in the country moved rightward as their socioeconomic position improved – every group but the Jews. As the late Milton Himmelfarb wrote many years ago, “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” Himmelfarb meant that Jews earn like the rich establishment but vote like poor recent immigrants. This too will change.

The philosopher Max Nordau has been quoted as telling the Jewish leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky that “the Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won’t buy an umbrella merely because he sees clouds in the sky. He waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia.”

America is certainly in a catastrophic situation and it is pouring rain. Sheldon Adelson should be lauded for doing what he is doing.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of the largest U.S. PR agencies. He is an active Jewish philanthropist via the Ronn Torossian Foundation.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 9/09/11

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Changing Winds Among Genders

 

Dear Rachel,

I’d love to have your take on the various aspects of women in the workplace today, and the changing roles and attitudes of the genders.

For instance, I’ve noticed that many of the women in fields like business and law have become more stressed and somewhat masculine, i.e., more aggressive and less gentle, while those women who work in traditionally female fields, such as teaching and occupational therapy, have retained their femininity and Jewish warmth.

In the secular world, more and more fathers have become the primary/stay-at-home caregivers to their children because the mothers are making a better salary. I’ve now seen a number of men in the frum community do this. It also seems to me that some men develop self-esteem issues when women do better in the workplace, and some men find it hard to find their desired jobs because of the many women who now fill the job market.

Yet I’ve also read about how some women respect men who have more income than they do. This is even when the women are professionals, setting up a scenario where some single women will only consider such men, even though they may not be what each really needs, and even though this limits the number of potential partners.

On a similar note, though not as big a deal, I now see frum married women using hyphens to connect their maiden names to their husbands’ last names.

Just Observing

 

Dear Observing,

Are you simply a keen observer or do I detect more than a hint of nostalgia for the days when man was the sole breadwinner and woman retained her femininity and was adept at homemaking?

In actuality, this scene may have been more prevalent in the secular world than in ours, where women – especially the wives of Torah scholars or those involved in chinuch at minimal pay  – actually earned a livelihood or supplemented the family income by using their skills in various ways without having to leave the home.

Fast forward to today: although many wives/mothers do double duty by assuming a job outside of the home, a good number contend that the juggling is well worth it — not only for its financial benefit, but in helping them maintain their sanity. As one young working mother, who recently had a couple of days off and looked forward to spending quality time with her 3-year old, sheepishly confessed: when the gig was up her nerves were more frayed than when she needed to rush through the breakfast routine, get her toddler off to school, rush out to make it to work on time and rush home to bond with her little one before his bedtime.

Besides having grown accustomed to her daily routine, she feels that getting out and immersing herself in a whole different environment offers her a fresher perspective of the home front and makes coping with her duties at home much more manageable.

As for woman’s femininity vis-à-vis her vocation, does the latter really influence her womanliness? Or is it vice-versa — her particular nature ultimately determining her career choice? The attorney-in-the-making, for example, has habitually shown him/herself to be the assertive kind; the occupational therapist was always known as gentle, patient and loving, etc., etc.

Respect is a huge factor in any relationship; respect is earned; yet it can unfortunately be allowed to disintegrate. Needless to say, maturity and growth (in the right direction) ensure a deepening of respect, whereas a lack of maturity can have the opposite effect. Take the struggling husband who is unable to bear his wife’s out-earning him; he gripes and sulks until he succeeds in losing her respect; or the lazy hubby who takes full advantage of his wife’s career success and makes no effort to pull his own weight. Her respect for him will corrode (unless a mutually satisfying arrangement defining their respective roles is negotiated; e.g., he takes on the role of Mr. Mom while she plays the part of breadwinner).

Singles who won’t settle for anything less than a professional or well-to-do marriage partner may or may not have a good argument for their “picky” preference. One can’t blame the professional woman (who worked hard to get to where she is) for being wary of the freeloader.

Neither can one take issue with the career woman who dreams of taking an extended hiatus down the road to devote herself to motherhood and/or sets her sights on early retirement and wants to assure the viability of her options.

The Gold Digger, on the other hand, has always been on the shidduch landscape and, one suspects, will always be.

The reasoning behind the frum married woman’s connecting her maiden name to her husband’s last name is usually purely PR-related rather than an assertion of her independence. For the accomplished woman who has earned her degree, established a career, and put her name “out there” before marrying, adopting a hyphenated surname is a no-brainer.

You mention stress as a downside to woman’s advancement in the corporate world. The fact is that demanding circumstances can produce stress in any environment, the home included, in both male and female. That said some individuals are better able to handle stress than others.

As far as women replacing men in the workplace, only a man who feels inadequate believes himself displaced by woman. The bright and quick-witted (in Yiddish geshikt) male or female is always in demand.

In summation, a mature couple revels in one another’s successes. Oh, and about those idiosyncratic singles that “limit their number of potential partners,” let’s keep in mind that after all is said and done, G-d runs the show — and He manages to catch us by surprise quite frequently.

Thanks for sending your intelligent comments our way.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

Is It Really PR? (Conclusion)

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

In last week’s column I wrote about world condemnation of Israel and, once again, she is being ostracized. This time it’s because of the Flotilla fiasco. She is even castigated by her loyal friends, including Jews, for her inept PR. Even if Israel had the most brilliant, eloquent, and articulate representatives speaking on her behalf, she would still be demonized.

Just consider that of all the “do-gooders,” who are quick to malign Israel, not one has taken the background of the Gaza blockade into account. Not one of them bothered to mention that no nation in the annals of history has ever extended such a hand of friendship to those who want to annihilate her. Against all logic, Israel uprooted her own citizens, deported them from their homes, from the land that they ploughed and sowed with tears and sacrifice – a land that for almost 2,000 years lay dormant and was a barren desert.

Incredibly Israel handed that land over to a people who have only one goal – to wipe Israel off the map. After that tragic deportation, Hamas expressed their appreciation by turning that land into a launching pad for terror, from where they rained rockets and missiles on Israel’s towns and villages, maiming and killing children and adults.

Not one of Israel’s deprecators mentioned that, nor did any of her critics bother to point out that, despite all this, Israel continued to extend humanitarian aid to Gaza. The blockade was only there to prevent lethal weapons from reaching those terrorist murderers. No one bothered to point out that, despite continuous deadly attacks from Gaza, Israel continued to supply them with electricity, water and food – something that their Muslim brothers – the Egyptians (who also share a border with Gaza) fail to do. Israel is slandered, while the barbaric murderers are celebrated as heroes – martyrs who champion the cause of the oppressed.

Perhaps Allan Dershowitz best summed it up when, in an interview with Commentary Magazine, said, “If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be peace tomorrow; if the Israelis put down their weapons, there would be genocide tomorrow.”

And now we have to deal with the world’s demand for an investigation. Should we be concerned about such a probe? Even Israel’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Binyamin Eleazer, has been quoted as stating, “We have nothing to fear. Everything is in the open… transparent. The video footage of our soldiers being attacked, the photographs can be shown to anyone who asks.”

For other nations, such evidence may be valid, but when it comes to Israel, there are different rules. We are condemned simply because we are Jews, and Israel is the Jewish State.

I do agree that there should be an investigation… but not of the Israeli commandos who boarded the ships with paintball guns only to be savagely attacked by the hooligans on board who awaited them with metal bars, pipes and knives. No matter what the video reveals, even if there is clear footage of these terrorist slicing off the ear of an Israeli commando, it will be of no avail. Even if a Jew is appointed to head this investigation, Israel will still be branded “a nation of murderers.”

I am calling for an internal investigation made by every Jew. An investigation of our history, our Torah, so that once and for all, we may understand why we are vilified, why even the most preposterous lies leveled against us are readily accepted as truth. Mind you, this acceptance is not limited to Muslims, but is endorsed by the “enlightened, freedom-loving people” of the world. Only after such probing will we know how to react and choreograph a proper response that would ensure the life of Israel.

Libelous accusations, scandalous outrageous lies against us are as old as our nation. It’s all documented in the Torah. It began at the very genesis of our history, when Pharaoh accused us of being a fifth column – a Trojan horse that threatened Egypt.

Amazingly, there was no outcry, no protest against Pharaoh’s venomous lies. They were more than happy to embrace Pharaoh’s propaganda and enslave us.

Alas, this same pattern has been repeated throughout history. Throughout the centuries, we built civilizations, generated prosperity, made awesome scientific contributions to the countries in which we resided, only to be rewarded with persecution. And that pattern that started in Egypt has followed us throughout the millennia.

Allow me to highlight just a few of these diabolical accusations.

During the Middle Ages, when the Bubonic Plague ravaged Europe, it was we, the Jewish people who were maligned and held responsible. Later, there were the “Blood Libels,” which accused us of slaughtering Christian children and using their blood for our Passover Sedarim.

Then let us recall the Dreyfus case, in which a loyal, decorated, assimilated Jewish officer of the French Army was tried for espionage without basis or foundation. No matter what evidence was put forth to prove his innocence, it was to no avail. His guilt was established simply because he was a Jew. It was that trial that gave birth to modern-day Zionism. Theodore Herzl, a secular journalist who covered the case, came up with the idea that the only solution for anti-Semitism was for the Jews to have their own homeland and become a nation like all other nations.

And now that Israel has been created and the Zionist dream has been realized, ironically, it is that very State of Israel that Herzl envisioned that is the cause of the “new anti-Semitism.”

Who would have imagined that? And I didn’t even mention the most catastrophic of lies slung at us in the “enlightened, civilized 20th century,” a lie that cast six million of our people into ovens. Ask how that could have happened in the 20th century? How was Hitler, yemach shemo, able to do that?

He knew history well and accomplished it all with his mouth. Make libelous accusations against the Jews and no matter how scandalous, how outrageous, how insane, how barbaric these accusations were, they would be readily accepted, because they were focused against the Jews.

So now we have arrived in the liberal 21st century and nothing has changed. Yes, our PR must change, though not in the way the average person might imagine. That will simply not work. Our Torah specifically tells us how to present our image.

Rashi, in the very first passage of Genesis explains. “Why,” he asks, “does the Torah commence with the creation of the heavens and the earth? After all, the Torah is not a book about history, but of commandments, so it should have opened with the first mitzvah. But, Rashi explains, “The day will come when we, the Jewish people, will return to our land and the nations of the world will accuse us of thievery, of taking the land by force. Then, we must point to the Torah that testifies that G-d created the heavens and the earth, the world belongs to Him, and it is He who deeded that land to us as an eternal inheritance.”

There is no other nation whose land has been assigned by G-d, whose boundaries have been designated by Him. It is only we who have been given that gift, and that is the only PR that will work for us. Perhaps you are smiling and thinking, “Rebbetzin, with all due respect, this is all naive. Will the nations really believe that?”

Absolutely, but the problem is that we don’t believe it.

“Ki Hi Chochmaschem – For this is your wisdom in the sight of the nations”

(Deut. 4:6). How simple and how tragic that even after thousands of years, we fail to comprehend.

Still, you might wonder why is this satanic hatred of our people? Why, despite all the good that we do, we are scorned and persecuted? No matter what we do, no matter how much we give; no matter how patriotic we may be, in the end, we are always vilified. What is behind all this?

Whether we like to admit it or not, our lives are dictated and guided by G-d. We sealed a covenant at Sinai – to be His people and live by His Torah. Sadly, over the centuries, too many of us have tried to escape that responsibility and disappeared in the universal melting pot. But the world never accepted us, and those among us who shed our Jewish garments were forced to don them again… and against all odds, we survived the centuries.

Today we are here, as vibrant as ever, and very soon, we will see our redemption. Everything is unfolding in accordance with G-d’s plan. Let us be strong and beseech G-d to take our hands and lead us through this terrible darkness. Let us remember the plea of G-d written by King David: “If only My people would walk in My ways, in an instant I would subdue their foes and against their tormentors I would turn My Hand” (Psalm 82).

If we will it, it will be.

Printed from: https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/is-it-really-pr-conclusion-2/2010/06/16/

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