Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Judah Maccabee and Israel’s Visual Hammer

December 6, 2012 7:21 pm 0 comments

Israel's 5th Iron Dome battery. Photo: MOD.

Oh those wacky ancient Greeks and their short little, flimsy togas. They tried bullying us Jews through their surrogates, the Syrian Greeks, back in 168 B.C.E., but our big bad Judah Maccabee beat them to a pulp.

Outnumbered and outgunned The Hebrew Hammer (Judah) outsmarted them with a rallying cry that united and inspired thousands to take up arms in the battle to save Judaism by out-maneuvering the bigger, better equipped Greek army. In what could have been the end of Judaism it was saved by one man and his family who made a difference to the future of the world. After capturing Jerusalem and rededicating the Temple, the miracle of light that’s Chanukah, was lit and lasts into the present.

Today’s Israel still carries the torch lit by Judah and protects itself militarily with both brawn and brains via advanced weapons systems like the Iron Dome and David’s Sling to blast rockets out of the sky. Their names even harken back to the ancient biblical stories. At the same time, high-tech ingenuity brings innovations in science and healthcare to the global environment creating a stronger, smarter planet for all humanity.

With Operation Pillar of Defense עמוד ענן (“Amud Anan,” or “Pillar of Cloud”) it too has an etymology from the bible (Exodus), referencing the cloud that guided the Israelites in the desert and shielding them from enemies who might do them harm.

Yet much of today’s air war is fought on the airwaves where Israel gets bashed on the mainstream news networks, newspapers and of course cable news from CNN to MSNBC to thousands of blogs.

As powerful and as strong as Israel’s muscular military hammers are, it’s their visual hammer that – in a sick/twisted way – brands them as the bully. It’s what writer Melanie Philips made clear in her book, “The World Turned Upside Down.” As it pertains to Israel she writes…

“What is unique about the treatment of Israel is that a conflict subjected to an unprecedented level of scrutiny should be presented in such a way as to drive out truth and rationality. History is turned on its head; facts and falsehoods, victims and victimizers are reversed; logic is suspended, and a fictional narrative is now widely accepted as incontrovertible truth.”

But what can help this? Israel clearly is in possession of the more powerful military hammer. No, the problem is one of “narrative.” And that’s quite a different battle – one of the mind.

In today’s fractured, multimedia landscape with millions of verbal messages flying around, it’s the visual image that possesses the greater firepower. The image of an Arab holding a dead baby, will whip ’round the world several hundred times, before a word is typed explaining that it’s a fake.

In the world of marketing, where owing a share in the mind is key, the visual hammer is one of the most powerful branding weapons ever devised. A long time ago, branding was about owning a word in the mind. The best way into the mind today, as Laura Ries espouses, is with visuals. Visuals carry an emotional power that words today can’t compete with. Here are a few examples from the world of brands that effectively use a visual hammer.

The Marlboro Cowboy: The world’s bestselling cigarette owns 43% of the U.S. Market. But it’s not just the cowboy.  He’s the emotional hammer hitting the verbal nail (the first masculine cigarette.)

Coca – Cola: The verbal nail is that it’s “The Real Thing”. But it’s the classic contoured bottle that is emblazoned on everything, including cans of Coke, that hits home the idea making it the world’s most powerful brand.

Aflac: Before the duck, Aflac had a 12% name recognition. After the duck – 94%. Pretty big jump for an insurance company!

Or what about Susan G. Komen? Where would it be without the pink ribbon? Today because of that visual hammer, it’s the world’s largest non-profit.

You get the idea.

Of course, it goes far beyond just a logo. It’s also the bigger idea that the visual is hammering. What was the one idea (or nail) that Israel was trying to hammer home? And what was the main visual it used to hammer it through the mediasphere?

If you say Iron Dome, you are probably right. Yet, was that intended? Or did it just happen? And as was asked in a Jpost Op-Ed, did it send the right message?

We can take a lesson this Chanukah from Judas Maccabeus, which means “The Hammer” in Aramaic, and learn how a powerful visual image can conjure and unite an army around a very big important idea.

Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at abebuzz.com.

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 Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →