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August 2, 2016 2:52 pm

Israel Must Appeal to Feelings, Not Just Present Facts, Says Newly Appointed Public Diplomacy Chief Michael Oren (INTERVIEW)

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Former Israeli ambassador and Kulanu MK Michael Oren. Photo: Wikipedia.

Newly appointed Israeli public diplomacy chief Michael Oren. Photo: Wikipedia.

Israel must improve its efforts to defend its narrative by seeking to connect emotionally with people, particularly millennials, the Jewish state’s newly appointed head of public diplomacy told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

Member of Knesset Michael Oren of the centrist Kulanu Party, who was appointed on Monday as a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office tasked with making Israel’s case abroad, said that because the country “faces several unprecedented foreign-affairs challenges, such as threats to its legitimacy, the ability to defend itself and its right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state,” it must change its tactics or risk facing continued defamation.

Hinting at strategies he may seek to employ in his new role, Oren highlighted the importance of focusing on appealing to feelings, not just stating facts. “Israel and a great number of courageous organizations abroad have been fighting in the media and on campuses against those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state by educating people about the facts,” he said. “And in this realm, we can defend ourselves very well, because the facts are on our side.”

However, he said, “We need to strengthen the emotional aspect. I’ve often said we’ve been fighting feelings with facts, and feelings usually triumph over facts. We have a profoundly moving story to tell, and we have to learn to tell it better.”

Oren, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the US and the author of Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, nevertheless expressed optimism. Since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948, he said, “Israel has never been less isolated in the world as it is today.”

“There are opportunities opening up today which are extraordinary,” he told The Algemeiner, pointing to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent trip to East Africa, which, he said, “opened up tremendous diplomatic and economic opportunities.” These, he added, will be especially important at the United Nations, where the African bloc is comprised of 54 countries.

“I am very excited at the possibility to tap into and maximize those opportunities,” he stated.

While Oren said he was not yet familiar with the specific functions of his new position, he confirmed that he will be “working in close coordination with the prime minister and will remain a member of Kulanu.”

Of this role he said, “This is a fulfillment of a very long journey. I spent about 40 years in the field of foreign policy and diplomacy, as a scholar and practitioner, and I feel deeply privileged to serve Israel at a unique juncture in its diplomatic history.” 

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  • Steve

    Uh, you aren’t supposed to reveal your public relations strategies in newspapers and on websites.

    You are supposed to keep them private, and then just… do it.

    Israelis are the only people in the world who seem to constantly reveal strategies that should be kept private to the entire world.

  • Steve Katz

    I have to disagree with Mr. Oren. The only way to deal with the emotional positions of people is with the facts. Most of their opinions and emotions are irrational, based on invalid suppositions.

    While fighting or countering fire with fire is often a valid strategy, in this case, since irrational positions are at the fore, FACTS are the only antidote.

    • Peter

      Try talking in front of a church audience and see how far “Just the facts” get you. Many non -Jews and younger adults respond emotionally to images and tales of human suffering. Facts bore them silly and are seen as being defensive. Oren has it exactly correct.

  • Rabbi Binyomin Schlanger

    Final Border Status. Part 3 of 4.
    Quote: Lubavitcher Rebbe.

    There is absolutely no need to seek advice, come to any compromises, conspiracies, or deals as to where our borders ought to be and which territories belongs to them [the Arabs]!

    G-d Himself delineated and set the borders of the Land of Israel! “This is the Land ….her borders” [Leviticus 34.2].

    They [the government of Israel] have tried all formulas both openly and by secret agreements. Yet, this is the only formula they have not yet attempted with which to go public. This is the only wording which gentiles understand since they study the T’nach [Bible] with the very same verses and same interpretations!

    for full talk go to

  • Overdependence on the US is Israelis doom
    Migrants especially from Poland have scant knowledge of the Middle East people and their attitudes and cultures

  • There is only 1 way to put our case
    to quote the statements by Abbas that he will never recognize a Jewish state, from the constitutions of Hamas and hitzbollah that Israel will never be recognized irrespective of the UN resolution, passage of time,meaningless discussions etc.
    Why do we never use these convincing arguments, well documented and not known to the world
    What are we frightened of ?
    Bernhard Lazarus

  • Media accuracy and unbiased reporting must be enforced r3
    It seems the Media cannot regulate itself to present a true and honest reporting.
    Responsible and honest reporting has been replaced with ambiguous confusing and illusory news reports, with no regard to the consequences. Facts and sources are not properly verified and an inaccurate unsubstantiated news story gets released to the public, and that may cause substantial harm.
    Why is the Media not charged with incitement?
    Why is the Media not punished for staging a scene?
    They pay some individuals to throw stones at soldiers in order to film a reaction and sensationalize the episode with distorted fabricated reports. There are numerous staging of events by the Media that incite hatred and violence. Should the reporters and their management not be charged with incitement?
    Where is the professionalism, neutral and unbiased reporting?
    What has happened to ethics in Journalism?
    Has Social Media added a new dimension to honest reporting?
    Can we overcome distorted Social Media for accuracy?
    How can we verify instant Social Media images from being
    Can we impose responsible Social Media without affecting the freedom of speech?
    Whether we like it or not, the masses are influenced by the Media, could you imagine how children and young adults absorb the Media hype, regardless weather it is truth or illusion. The damage is long term and may not be reversible.
    Children are very impressionable, they think what they see on TV emulate real life, which we know is distorted and make believe, they carry these illusions as reality which affects their future adversely.
    The Media reporting must be neutral, unbiased, balanced, objective and impartial. Violators should be subject to fines and criminal charges if people suffer due to intentional distortion of reports or intentionally slanted news to deceive or promote favoritism that escalates into violence and or cause harm and or financial loss.
    When a Media outlet intentionally distorts and misinforms the news and events, it should forfeit the right to free speech and free press and face the music. It is a form of incitement.
    In the past decades Media outlets have expanded the creation of sensationalism to promote readership and revenues. These types of reports are many times intentionally distort the facts and true dimension of the report. Thus, it creates more unwarranted dissension and crisis that leads to violence and death.
    It seems that the Media today has no emotion, no compassion. Much of the news is choreographed for the sake of sensationalism and rating. Which comes down to increased revenues and financial gain? Society today is so hungry for money, power, instant gratification and glamour, that it crosses the line of honesty and integrity on a regular basis.
    Is there a chance of going back to honor, honesty, integrity and fighting for truth and justice the old American way?
    Can the Media Overcome false showmanship, artificial presentation and insincerity.
    Broadcasting truth and reality, thereby regaining public trust in the Media?
    This very same rebuke and standards must be applied to our elected government officials, who will promise you anything to get elected. Getting them to live up to their promises is another thing altogether.
    A change for the better must be initiated and it must start at the top.
    YJ Draiman
    P.S. “The biases the media has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They’re about getting ratings not informing the public about the true facts; it’s about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover and keeping us in an uproar.”

  • nat cheiman

    Israel first and the rest are irrelevant

  • Michael Dar

    Mr. Oren is right of course, appeal to emotions could be a plus in certain cercles and circumstances. I would however not exaggerate its importance or the real impact it could have. There is a awful lot of anti-Semitism in the world and I wonder how many of those anti-Semites would be moved by any Israeli charm offensive. Facts remain essential and an aggressive pro-active policy and propaganda is needed. We must denounce the lies and the false-fake narratives who have been around much to long. We should attack on all fronts, make use of the courts, we must not let a single initiative or narrative by our enemies and there supporters unanswered. We should for instance force the UN to explain UNWRA, ask why they do not stick to article 80 of its own obligations (towards the League of Nations previous irrevocable resolutions) regarding “Palestine” etc. We need to expose the UN for not observing the fundamental rules for which it was created in the first place. I could go further and further…

  • ephraim_margolin

    Long ago I was Begin’s secretary. I taught law in UC Berkeley and Hastings Law College, represented Israel as an attorney and chaired the JCRC. I wish you luck. You are correct and I do here what you discuss in your note. Ko Le’Chai! Ephraim

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    The feelings that resonate the most between Israel and a large portion of the world at large are those which focus on well-being, whether it be exchanged through Israeli innovation, resoluteness, perseverance, or spirituality. The farther down the sentient continuum, the more intuitive the feelings, the more powerful the connection between people, the more connectedness to the Divine. Perhaps Israel might be regarded as the medium by which and through which the nations of the world could aggregate, coalesce, and become united on the path to a universal oneness. I would think that many educational programs could be devised along those lines. To concretise the feelings induced by harvesting crops grown sweeter, larger, and more abundant due to Israeli irrigation systems and genetically ameliorated seeds could be a watershed moment for people living in remote agrarian enclaves in some sub-Saharan African countries, for instance.

  • stevenl

    After two thousand year of constant antisemitism, it may be difficult to show emotions!

  • Jonah

    I don’t normally follow one article with another but God is insisting. The end game for Obama is Israel. All his deceptive maneuvering is smoke and mirrors masking his true intentions. The total destruction of Israel he is doomed if he does not complete his God given destiny. The god he warships loses everything this planet…..his standing in the heavens….he will suffer eturnal judgement in hell that would be Tartarus for Fallun angels who left their first estate. Putin is trying to find rational for Obamas military build up what Putin does not understand this is a totally w spiritual war not a irrational war. logical reasons for war do not fit in any category when it comes to Obamas wars you must understand scripture, he does. Putin must understand that God has raised Russia to confront the beast at this time scripturally. Danial states that Russia and China will war against the beasts empire and believe me if God has as your destiny to be confrontational with beast I can most certainly guarantee you, you will engage the beast. So step in to your destiny and stop trying to make sense of it God foreknew you would war with America and Europe so he had Daniel give you a heads up. Read Daniel, Revelation, Amos, Jeremiah, Zachariah, and many more Old Testament prophets they described the time we are now in and it is now coming to pass. And whatever you do be very careful in your dealings with Israel because you are actually dealing with God and believe me when God draws a red line in the sand you Do Not want to cross it.

  • The award winning, “Superman’s got nothing on Israel!” was a great example of a Jewish millennial using her video to showcase Israel’s global humanitarian aid. More initiatives like the “Inspired by Israel” video contest helps Israel emotionally connect to millennials and others.

  • Max Genghis Cohen

    How about Allah Akbar? No, Jews are the rational people of facts.
    Or is this a fanciful notion in praise of Jewish ego? Jewish emotions versus Arab emotions: Who wins? Islamic numbers are greater by a thousand to one. Facts are practical so stay with them. They are all you have.

  • Jonah

    I have a brilliant idea. Let’s start with the truth, who was it that said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Tell everyone that Jesus was a Jew. A Jew? Yes he was a Jew. Now that’s a good place to start. Tell them also he died especially for the Gentiles. Why? So they could be participants in the abrahamic covenant. He is the savior for the entire gentile world and all those who call on his name. It took 4000 years of toil to deliver him as an unblemished sacrifice and of those 4000 years the Jews shed more lifes than were shed at Normandy….to deliver him….and they were Jews. All the Gentiles on this planet have been saved from hell by the actions of the Jews and the shedding of the blood of a sinless Jew. The Jews saved you from hell and Islam is attempting to send you back with the assistance of Obama. a good greeting is, Shalom Jesus is a Jew. The gates and foundation of heaven have the names of the 12 tribes of Jacob and the 12 diciples of Jesus. You could say Jesus is a Jew, an Israeli, and the son of David and all Christians know he is the Son of God. If you are not well received with this salutation kick the dust off your shoes, and remove the honor of your presence from that country…..God will curse the country as he did in Brazil. God is with the Jews, He has your back He has your lead. Use Him. Trust Him.