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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.