Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

In God We Trust, Not the Media

January 7, 2012 7:23 pm 2 comments

An Israeli flag at the Western Wall. Photo: Caleb Zahnd.

The following excerpt is from the best-seller PR book, For Immediate Release, by Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR:

I lived in Israel for nearly two years after graduating from college. Along with two friends, I formed an organization called Yerushalayim Shelanu (Our Jerusalem). My two co-founders are today among the youngest members of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) and rapidly rising political stars: Danny Danon (current Knesset Deputy Speaker) and Yoel Hasson. In 1997 one of the first activities we undertook was participating in an action where Jews moved into a home that had been purchased legally in an area of eastern Jerusalem.

The neighborhood’s construction provoked an international storm in September 1997, and the U.S. pressured Israel not to go ahead with the plan. The pressure was rebuffed by then (and current) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and backed by then Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert. I conducted hundreds of worldwide media interviews at the homes of the new Jewish residents of the area. All of them were done as I held an Israeli flag, with the Temple Mount (where the recognizable Dome of the Rock is located) in the background. That way, no matter how reporters editorialized about this “disputed” area of Jerusalem, viewers could see just how close this territory was to the Jerusalem they recognized. No matter what the reporters said, the pictures didn’t lie. As of 2011, more than 70 Jewish families live there and conditions on the ground in that area of Jerusalem have changed, with Israeli schools, bus service to the Western Wall, and other benefits making the area connected to western Jerusalem.

This effort, while effective, was a drop in the bucket. Israel is a young country and it often learns things painfully. 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. Having worked with and for the Likud Party, the mayors of Jerusalem and of Tel Aviv, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel Ministry of Tourism, and a slew of other Israeli government officials and offices for many years, I know that Israel has so much rich history and many incredible attractions, from the Bible to its beaches. It needs to put them to use actively and to employ a comprehensive, systematic “PR machine” that generates regular positive content.

Israel also needs to make its own case, because that case is not being made widely, often, or clearly enough. The advice I have for Israel stands for any organization or group with an “underdog” status or that is suffering the consequences of being misunderstood. The following points are useful for any brand or business:

  • Make your own case. Be proactive and passionate in educational PR efforts. In Israel’s case, for instance, there should be a concerted PR effort to continually refute “moral equivalency” myths that are perpetuated in many corners of the press. It shouldn’t be saved only for a crisis.
  • Argue on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Harmful framing by the media or others can be handled effectively only with counter-framing—presenting your narrative without debating the negative frame (thereby giving it credibility) or trying to justify yourself against it. Israel needs to talk about how it made “the desert bloom.” From its founding in 1948, it transformed a land that is 65 percent desert into a country rich in diversity and teeming with technology—Intel, Microsoft, and IBM have all developed robust, profitable, and innovative businesses in the country.
  • Consistent and united PR. There is nothing more counterproductive and irritating to a spokesperson than having to compete with a colleague who is operating with a different message. This is the case with Israel—spokespeople for the state often speak at cross-purposes with the press and contradict each other.
  • Act with rapidity. Israel is agile and dynamic. It can use this to its advantage. In PR terms, Israel can change key messages quickly and deftly when necessary. The ability to respond quickly has many benefits.
  • Use social media frequently. Social media shouldn’t be used only as an emergency channel or to impart pearls of wisdom a few times a year. Social media should be used on a daily basis, and in a positive way. In the long run, it is the daily actions of a brand that determine its overall image.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a Top 25 PR Agency and author of Amazon best-selling PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations,“ which is available for purchase here. The book was referred to by Israeli MK Danny Danon as the “best book ever written regarding Israel’s PR.”

2 Comments

  • frania kryszpel block

    G-d made the mountains ,the valleys,the beaches ,all the beauty and splenfor that is Israel. The media only speaks when calamities happen. When quick explanations are needed . The beautiful forests of trees only spoken about when fire destroys them. Why is there no mention and pictures of the beautiful aspects of Israel. Show what those forests looked like BEFORE. We cab trust that what G-d created in his infinite wisdom will stand. We cannot trust the media to make a relationship between Israel and the rest of the world. All its parts, people from every nation, beautiful people of every color, forests of trees BEFORE they are burned down, the winding roads of Zefat, the bakery in Nazareth the new shopping malls, the sun going down over the hills and valleys after a day at the baths in Tiberias…..these all are G-d given. The media only plays to what is negative or dangerous. Why? It is hard to trust when it does not make a relationship with the world..

  • So… don’t trust the media unless of course they listen to a PR firm first?

    And what does a god have to do with any of it?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Some punk rockers integrate their Jewish identity into their music through food, the author of a new book on the topic told The Algemeiner on Wednesday. Michael Croland, author of Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk, described the way different musicians express this connection. “One band is known for throwing gefilte fish in the mosh pit, and people at its concert slide around on it while dancing,” he recounted. “Another used to drink Manischewitz [sweet kosher] wine out of a shofar [the ram […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    The manager of Scotland’s Celtic soccer club lauded Israel, after his team won a match against the Jewish state’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night. Brendan Rodgers said at a post-match press conference: On behalf of the players, the people of Celtic and Scotland, Israel’s been fantastic for us. We came out here on Sunday, [and from] the hotel, the staff, we’ve been very, very warmly received. The atmosphere at the game was amazing and, obviously, one team has to lose, but you have a wonderful team here, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    For the second time, Israel will host the Jaffa Jazz Festival, according to Broadwayworld.com. The festival will unite 43 Israeli musicians and eight international artists for a three-day event. The program will include a special performance by an ensemble of top jazz students studying at Belgium’s Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Belgrade Music Academy in Serbia, Israel’s Rimon School of Music and the jazz program of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. There will also be a jazz show for children led by Israeli saxophonist […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    JNS.org – As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 13. “Driving a race car is not like any other sport,” Day told JNS.org. “You are actually almost flying […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    The writer of a popular children’s television series will premiere an off-Broadway solo show called “Not That Jewish,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written and performed by Monica Piper — the Emmy Award-winning showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” — the show is described as “the autobiographical telling of a Jew…’ish’ girl’s life.” “Not That Jewish” explores Piper’s Bronx upbringing in a show-business family, her comedy-club debut and her “almost” night with former Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. “Audiences can expect to leave laughed-out, a little teary-eyed and […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scotland’s Celtic soccer club will fly to Israel with the same private jet Madonna used while on tour, The Scotsman reported on Monday. According to the report, the team is heading for the Jewish state to compete against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night, and will be transported in the customized, luxurious Boeing 757-200 that the pop icon used in New Zealand for her six-month Rebel Heart tour, which wrapped up in March. The plane is on loan from Greece-based GainJet Aviation and can accommodate 62 passengers. The […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Jewish actor Jonah Hill revealed on Wednesday morning that he had officiated the wedding of good friend and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. The “War Dogs” actor, 32, was a guest on Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Show when the conversation turned to Levine’s July 2014 wedding to Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo. Hill said that after he was asked to officiate the nuptials, he started getting worried about the type of speech he was going to deliver. “I’m writing all these things, and then I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Music Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish indie singer Ezra Furman released a song on Wednesday that he said was dedicated to his grandfather, who escaped Nazi persecution. Furman told the website Consequence of Sound that the new track, called “The Refugee,” is his “first song entirely concerned with my Jewish background and present, a song dedicated to my grandfather who fled the Nazis, as well as to all of the refugees desperate for a home today.” He added, “May all the wanderers find the homes they seek, and […]

    Read more →