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September 19, 2011 2:14 pm

Top Ten PR Books for Israeli and Jewish Leaders

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Cover of How To Win Friends and Influence People.

The next few weeks with be tough for Israel as the upcoming UN sessions loom. Therefore, I composed a list of must-read public relations books, concerned with Israel’s case in the media:

I.            The Torah: The Jewish Bible is the bedrock of the entirety of Judaism’s legal and ethical tests. The Torah encompasses the Five Books of Moses and is the Jewish mandate for the State of Israel and the Jewish people’s reason for being.  It’s a must- read for anyone doing public relations/marketing for Israel and the Jews – to know the foundation of Jewish faith and law and the essence of Judaism.

II.             The Case for Israel, by Alan Dershowitz: The famed Harvard law professor offers “a proactive defense of Israel,” and presents a passionate insight into unfair attacks on the only democracy in the Middle East. Each of the chapters begins with an accusation against Israel, followed by “The Reality” as Dershowitz sees it, and “The Proof.” Its rationale is based on excellent logical explanations, which can help reasoning in arguments, debates and media situations.

III.             The War Against the Jews, by Lucy Dawidowicz:  The definitive history of the Holocaust, which clearly chronicles the magnitude of its atrocities. It’s necessary for all to remember that not so long ago when many tried to destroy the Jewish people, the rest of the world stood by.  Read it and remember it as today, too, there are many who strive to destroy the Jews. It’s necessary to know and be very aware of when dealing with media.

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IV.            The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership, by Yehuda Avner: This book by a former senior government official details at great length and with fascinating insider’s  experiences working side-by-side with five Israeli prime ministers and countless senior players in government. The book provides insight into the intricate inner workings and details of politics; it names  governments and people worldwide that pressure the Jewish State. This book enables one a view of  the pressures on Israeli government officials – and a mirror into what pressures to expect.

V.            How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie: This book has been called the “public relations bible.” After its initial publication in 1937, the book sold over 15 million copies. Carnegie states, “Success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” Israel often assumes that being right is enough;-that’s not the case. Those speaking out for Israel need to know and understand that in today’s world being right isn’t enough; selling it will change the dynamic.

VI.            Crystallizing Public Opinion, by Edward L. Bernays, Sigmud Freud’s nephew: Bernays wisely analyzes how to focus and win over crowd psychology. He sought to become the first thinker to explain how PR could thrive by managing public opinion. As the book states quite clearly: “Perhaps the most significant social, political, and industrial fact about the present century is the increased attention which is paid to public opinion.” While Israel can’t always win, at least it can do a better job communicating in a way that resonates more readily.

VII.            Media Training 101, by Sally Stewart: A well-written guide to handling media – something that relevant Israeli/Jewish voices do not always remember.  Preparation and practice are key, and from reading this one can learn how to stick to talking points, how to communicate effectively with the media and some media control mechanisms.

VIII.            Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julian Smith: The traditional media is often anti-Israel. Agreed and case closed, but in today’s new digital media world it’s possible to control much more of the message than ever before. From blogging (which allows you to reach the public without a “filter”) to twitter, digital media videos and the like, this book offers viewpoints, which can be exploited to tap into the power of social networks to build influence and reputation. Israel and the entire Jewish community PR people need to do a better job of reaching the publi without a filter; understanding social media is key to that

IX.            Start up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer:  No discussion about Israel’s PR today can be complete without understanding what Israel accomplishes. A country of 7.1 million, only 63-years- old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state-of- war since its founding, with no natural resources– produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations.  Despite all her challenges, Israel is a remarkably resilient country, and the Jewish state’s PR folks should emphasize the positives of this great story.

X.            For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, by Ronn Torossian:   it’s the first book by the owner of a top 25 US PR Agency. The book details how valuable public relations is – and with discussion of the State of Israel’s PR shortcomings, as well as the importance of effective PR and frontline stories replete with case studies.

And there you have it – 10 must-read PR books.

I’ll end with a quote from the great Zionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s biblically-themed novel, Samson, “Tell them three things in my name, and not two: they must get iron (weapons); they must choose a king; and they must learn to laugh.” What Jabotinsky meant in part by “learn to laugh” was the necessary development of confidence on a national level. While PR is vital for Israel, so too is confidence and awareness that Israel won’t always be loved by the world. It’s vital to better understand PR, as it’s a part of combat in 2011.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest US PR Firms.

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