In 2005, the Israeli Foreign and Finance Ministry and Prime Ministers Office agreed to embark on a plan to “re-brand” Israel, to improve Israel’s image abroad. By not mentioning the conflict with the Palestinians and instead to focus on the “positive” side of Israel.
This has involved emphasis on Israel’s agricultural achievements and environmentalism. This has a specific term given to it by anti-Israel activists called “Green washing” – Using environmentalism as a means of white-washing all the allegations anti-Israel haters like to accuse Israel of.
Another has been to focus on Israel’s open and tolerant policies towards the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The anti-Israel haters as above have coined this “Pink-washing” – another tactic for diverting attention away from Israel’s alleged “war crimes.”
There is another word used to describe traditional Zionist arguments for Israel’s right to exist based on the Jewish historic connection to the Land of Israel and its role in Judaism, this is now referred to as “Faith-washing.”
All of Israel’s arguments have now very nicely been organised into settings on a washing machine.
What is the problem with Brand Israel and its strategy?
Well, essentially it reminds us of Theresienstadt. The Nazi’s sought to fool the world through propaganda films of Jews in one ghetto that the Jews had simply been relocated from the German population to somewhere else and that their lives then resumed as normal as a way of keeping the German public and the world in the dark about the horrors of the death and concentration camps.
It is as if rumours of the Holocaust were circulating during WW2 and rather than what the Nazi’s did with Theresienstadt, instead they launch a campaign about the “other side” of Nazi Germany. How beautiful their blonds are, their vegetarianism, their green policies and social welfare.
The Israeli response to its vilification is in fact shocking. If you are being accused of conducting massacre’s against civilians, apartheid, slow genocide through ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism, that Zionism = Racism and more, the fact that we invented some cool technology, like to plant trees and have popular gay night life in Tel Aviv is irrelevant to an audience who is convinced that you are as bad as if not worse than Hitlers Germany. In fact many of these things the Nazis had as well, i.e. they were very technologically advanced and “civilised.”
Unlike Nazi Germany, the majority of the allegations against Israel are false. The way to respond is through addressing them head on through demonstrating affectively that their claims are based on lies and propaganda through simply making the suppressed facts more easily available to the public.
It must also go on the offensive and show that the anti-Israel camp is itself guilty of white-washing and this is what has recruited many to support the anti-Israel agenda. Their propaganda turns the Israelis into Nazi like aggressors and turns the Palestinians into innocent victims by white-washing the Palestinians of any responsibility for their actions, wrong doing, incitement, violence or rejection of peace offers.
Therefore misrepresenting regrettable but necessary Israeli security measures such as its operations in Gaza – launched to fight Hamas rocket fire into Israel as genocide against the civilian population and the erecting of the security barrier due to years of suicide bombings on buses, cafes and schools as an apartheid wall built to separate people based on an ideology of race supremacy.
Israel does not need “advocacy”it just has to present the facts that defeat the lies.