Haven’t we been down this road before?
We do a very terrible job at promoting our tiny nation, in fact to use the vernacular, our PR (Public Relations for the novice, uninitiated reader…) SUCKS. This is nothing new. We can win campaign after campaign. We can defend ourselves against the most incredible odds. Again, and again. Our Israeli history is filled with many of these chapters.
We can invent energy-saving irrigation equipment. We can invent the most technologically advanced items that help the entire world communicate faster, better. We can advance science and medicine to save countless lives. Across the globe. For all nations.
And yet, when it comes to promoting our desire to live in peace in a tough, I mean really tough neighborhood, with thugs, murderers and criminals out to destroy us, annihilate us, “wipe us off the face of the map”, we fall FLAT ON OUR FACES.
I have often wondered why.
A while ago, Israel built small villages, created farms, developed modern agricultural methods to grow flowers, strawberries, tomatoes and many more fruits and vegetables. Many were grown in greenhouses, using the latest hydroponic methods. When the Israeli government led by the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon left the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Palestinian folks living there decided to take action. They bulldozed everything, EVERYTHING! into the ground. Nothing remained. As if what had been created, and could benefit so many Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, was tainted. Poison. Verboten. Did you read about that? Did Israel’s sophisticated PR machine cry that to the world? Of course not.
Humanitarian aid provided to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Medical procedures done for Hamas leaders’ children and for Palestinians alike. In Israel. Israeli Arab doctors and nurses working side by side in Israeli hospitals to perform these and other medical miracles rarely, if ever make the front pages of the New York Times and other worldwide publications and media outlets.
During the Syrian civil war, which, by the way is still ongoing, Israel created emergency medical teams next to the border fences marking the difference between a butcher murdering his own people and a small nation declaring that it sees no enemy when it comes to saving human lives. I fought against the Syrian military when they attacked us on Yom Kippur, on October 6, 1973, but I was so proud of our tiny nation that we saved the wounded, the poisoned, the harmed civilians of Syria. Of course, that too made all the headlines, front-page news, on all of the major world publications, the networks, social media. NOT…
I fully agree that the Palestinians living in the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, Yehuda v’Shomron, are entitled, no, more than entitled to their own nation. They have been since the UN created two states back in 1947. And I will try to forget that countless Arab nations summarily attacked the tiny newly created Israel, wishing to drive us into the sea. That part is “ancient” history, which no one wants to play any longer. History is not a favorite topic for those playing the blame game. I want the Palestinians to have their own nation. I want the people living in the Gaza Strip to have their own nation, a Palestine living in peace and harmony with the Israeli neighbor on its borders. Side by side. In harmony. Trading. Sharing. Visiting. Helping one another. Like good neighbors.
Do we have solipsistic leaders on both sides? Of course, we do. Leaders who cannot see beyond their own greedy ambitions. Leaders who care not ONE OUNCE for the suffering and poverty of their own people, and would rather use them as human sacrifices in their efforts to kill, to murder as many Jews as possible. Leaders who can see only their seat in the government, power-hungry, insatiable.
We lost the last of the great peacemakers on November 4, 1995. Prime Minister Rabin, like President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, paid with his life for promoting peace.
I want my small tiny Israel to get its Public Relations act together. I want to hear about how we are doing everything possible to prevent the loss of human life when conflicts do arise. In fact, I want to read and hear that we are doing everything possible to prevent any conflict that ends in the loss of life. And don’t get me wrong, I am heavily invested in Israel’s safety with children and grandchildren living there. Within missile and rocket and mortar range. Dangerously so.
We have the most sophisticated military in the region, and yet, our Public Relations is something to be ashamed of. Because we can’t promote our WHY and our WHAT, because we are constantly perceived as the Goliath, the aggressor, the monster who murders innocents (which we are NOT!) Jews around the world suffer as well. The hate for Jews has spilled over onto the streets of London, New York, Paris, Chicago, Melbourne to name but a few. Crimes of hate against Jews in the USA have risen dramatically. Remember Tree of Life in Pittsburgh?
We need to get our PR act into high gear. I’m not one to whitewash our history or our mistakes, you can rest assured. After almost twenty years of military service in front-line units of the IDF I have a few stories of my own. But, I am a lone voice here in the US. I can talk to my friends (the few I have) and with my work associates, but I often feel as if I’m “preaching to the choir”.
The support for Israel, highest among Evangelical Christian Americans who await the “End of Days” is lowest among American minorities, immigrants from Somalia, supporters of Black Lives Matter, Palestinians living in the US and so many more. The US Congress is now populated with members who need lessons in history when it comes to Israel. Visits to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and to Yad V’Shem in Jerusalem. It would be worth our while to pay these members of Congress the price of the entrance ticket.
So, in summing up, and apologizing for my long-windedness, I am NOT afraid. I have my Israeli Flag, my Magen David in Blue and White prominently displayed in the rear window of my car. I am NOT afraid to speak out for Israel, both the good and the not so good. However, I do feel more and more ISOLATED.
Government of Israel: Get your Public Relations act into HIGH GEAR. Now.