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February 14, 2012 5:46 pm

PR Agency CEO Musings: Israel & Jewish Publicity

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Bet Lid immigrant camp in 1949 absorbed refugees from Arab lands. Photo: Zoltan Kluger.

I wanted to share some interesting observations regarding articles I came across this week – in my capacity as CEO of 5WPR, a New York based PR Agency:

  • This article from the Jerusalem Post, deals with the issue of Jewish refugees. While ‘Peace Talks,’ and discussions in the arena of international politics focus on the “Palestinian Refugee Problem,” why is it that governments “suffer from a blind spot when it comes to the mass dispossession of a greater number of Jews across 10 Arab countries?” As this article states, the Israeli government, and the Jewish public should focus more on the Jews who were driven from Arab countries in 1948- Egypt, Syria, and Morocco – and demand compensation for the Jewish State as part of peace talks. Why is it that Israel is expected to give and give some more, and is never treated as an equal? The article goes on to say that Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s is “launching an official PR campaign and will be instructing Israeli embassies around the world to bring up the issue with their counterparts.” All those interested in equality and fairness should watch this issue closely.
  • This nationally-syndicated AP article discusses how Israel is one of the world’s top destinations for gay tourism – “one of the few places in the Middle East where gays feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public.” “We are trying to create a model for openness, pluralism and tolerance,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told AP. “Live and let live — this is the city of Tel Aviv.” Amazingly, Israel’s opponents even use this issue to attack Israel – as if it has something to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict – one wonders where  in the Muslim world homosexuals are free to go about their way of life. James Kirchick, (who is gay), contributing editor at The New Republic, said of critics “So consumed are they by hatred of Israel that they are willing to distort the truth about the horrible repression of homosexuals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” It’s simply amazing that no matter what happens, the media – and critics of Israel — must raise condemnation.
  • As I have written previously in this space, and also in my book, Chabad, the largest Jewish organization in the world, is one of the few groups to understand and succeed at Public Relations and marketing.  Leave it to Chabad’s video site, Jewish.TV, and my friend,  head of  PR for Chabad.org, Rabbi Motti Seligson, to score the rare, exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey. As she will soon air a program about the Chabad community, she said her experience has “…really confirmed and affirmed what I truly believe as one of my deep, spiritual principles and that is that we are all more alike than we are different. There’s more Hasidic Jew in me than I knew!” To get one of the world’s most influential women to break down barriers and speak positively about the Jewish people – is major win and a Public Relations bonanza.

I thought the articles above were worth sharing through the prism of one who sees the media through a different lens.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a top 25 US PR Agency, and author of “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.”

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