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October 21, 2016 3:54 pm

Israel Advocate Wants to Change Views About Jewish State, One Tattoo at a Time

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An Israeli receiving a free tattoo as part of the Healing Ink Israel project. Photo: Courtesy.

An Israeli receiving a free tattoo as part of the Healing Ink Israel project. Photo: Courtesy.

“Low-brow” art forms can be a powerful advocacy tool, the head of a pro-Israel artists group told The Algemeiner on Friday.

Craig Dershowitz — the executive director of Artists 4 Israel — was referring to his group’s Healing Ink Israel project, which is underway this week in cities across the Jewish state.

“We and Bishop Tattoo have brought a group of the world’s absolute best, most famous and most talented tattoo artists to the country and they’re giving free tattoos to Israelis who were either injured in combat or in terrorist attacks,” Dershowitz said. “The idea is, as much as possible, to tattoo over or near scars, to help these people reclaim their bodies and feel better about what they see when they look at themselves and give themselves a further sense of wholeness.”

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Furthermore, Dershowitz said, the artists — including Luke Wessman, Joe Capobianco and Steve Soto, among others — are being “exposed to the truth about Israel.”

“These artists represent a true intersectionality of cultures,” Dershowitz said. “We have African-Americans, first-generation Mexican-Americans and Italians — the height of the liberal, progressive art world. And this is a community where no one has really told them about Israel. Artists 4 Israel brought them here before the ignorant, anti-Israel forces could ply them with misinformation.”

“To counteract the BDS movement, we have to stay ahead of the game,” he continued. “And we’re working with the absolute top influencers in urban culture. Our artists with their over 5 million followers in social media are the ones that other brands look to for credibility. Tommy Hilfiger, Chevy, EA video games and other companies reach out to these artists to sell products — and Israel is the best product.”

According to Dershowitz, a new approach is needed to better Israel’s image around the world.

“Our advocacy community is focused on decision makers without understanding that decision makers are slaves to the opinions of you and I,” he said. “There is a reason that politicians consult opinion polls before taking positions. If you look at the most recent, powerful political movements — Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter and Marriage Equality — you can see that the change came from bottom up.”

An Israeli receiving a free tattoo as part of the Healing Ink Israel project. Photo: Courtesy.

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