Friday, February 3rd | 12 Shevat 5783

February 23, 2012 10:48 am

Dumb and Dumber is Israel’s Public Relations

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avatar by Ronn Torossian

Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber. Photo: ScriptShadow.

Owning one of the 25 largest public relations agencies in the US, I watch Israel’s PR machine and media reports with a close eye. Same random musings:

  • The French Supreme Court acquittal of Dr. Yehuda David, an Israeli physician who was accused of slandering a Palestinian man who claimed he was injured by the Israeli Defense Forces was largely ignored by the mainstream media – the same mainstream media who championed the claims of the Palestinian man, Jamal al-Dura, and his 12-year-old son Mohammed who were the symbol of the second intifada. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Dr. David’s victory in court is an Israeli victory over “Palestinian propaganda’s long tale of lies” – now wouldn’t it be great if mainstream media would actually recognize it? Netanyahu celebrated this PR hero at yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting and thanked him for what he said was his noble fight “on the public diplomacy battlefield in the great battle for the truth.” Netanyahu also called David, a French immigrant, an “Israeli hero.”
  • Media reports in Israel proudly had Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein proclaim that his Ministry plans to send 100 Israelis from different sectors in society abroad to represent and defend the state during Israel Apartheid Week. The participants of the “Faces of Israel” mission have “undergone several weeks of training in the Public Diplomacy Ministry.” WOW – a few whole weeks? Could one imagine Israel sending lawyers, doctors or IT experts who have a few weeks of training? Israel is in a war – and communications today is a part of that war, and Israel needs to do a much better job of managing crisis public relations to be effective.  A few weeks doesn’t make a PR expert who can defend, or speak for a country. Absurd.
  • Excellent commentary on Israel’s PR on a Christian blog – “there are few reasons why Israel or Israelis should have to apologize or be embarrassed for anything. Except their PR!” I agree.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency, and author of PR book “For Immediate Release.”

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