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Israel21c

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Israel 21c falls loosely into the broad hasbara concept of Israeli world communications, but in a very different way than the usual approach of "explanation", focused on the Israel-Palestine Conflict and Arab-Israeli Conflict. It defines its mission as focusing media and public attention on the 21st century Israel that exists beyond the conflict; it uses a marketing rather than a public diplomacy model. In a 2005 workshop, Gideon Meir, director-general of the [[[Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs]] (MFA), said Israel's communication needed to broaden: "The world 'sees Israel through the helmet of an Israeli soldier. [but it is ] more than SOS -- synagogues, occupation and soldiers.” [1] It was formed by Silicon Valley entepreneurial philanthropists, and was the first part of a new MFA strategy, agreed to in an October 2, 2005 meeting among the MFA, Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Finance.[2]

This approach competes with that proposed by the Israel Project, a group formed at roughly the same time."The Israel Project has followed the more traditional path of presenting Israel’s side of the conflict with the Palestinians.. The president and founder of The Israel Project, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, said that while attention to the broader story of Israel is good, ultimately American opinion of the conflict is what will end up shaping America’s relationship with Israel. "Until there is peace we have to be dealing with the stories that the media is most interested in...There are still 400 permanently stationed reporters in Jerusalem. They didn’t come to do a story about Israel beyond the conflict. You can’t pretend that it’s otherwise."[2]

Israel21c defines its goal as "...focused on the development and dissemination of content that is used to advance the mission. The outcome of this process is increased support for Israel during difficult times and a greater appreciation of the role that Israel has in the lives of people the world over. Israel, to the extent that it is understood by Americans at all, is generally seen as a place of war; a place that is characterized by virtually nothing but the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"Two significant pieces of research, the continuing Young and Rubicam Brand Asset Valuator study of Israel’s brand in America (BAV, started in 2004), and the 2005 Brand Israel Group’s (BIG) Focus Groups on Israel’s Brand in America, conclusively support this disappointing conclusion. This has happened because, for more than 30 years, those who are engaged in pro-Israel communications have let the media’s preoccupation with conflict and politics—as well as the pro-Israel community’s own preoccupation with the same—define Israel."[3]

The group will work with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to develop collaborative content.[2]

References

  1. Israel, The Brand, United Jewish Communities, November 15, 2005
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Nathaniel Popper (October 14, 2005), Israel Aims To Improve Its Public Image, Jewish Daily Forward
  3. About Us, Israel 21c