The First Pillar of Effective PR – BLAME

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How to place the blame for the conflict where it belongs

1/   The root cause and driving force of the conflict is the Palestinian claim to the whole territory of Israel – from the river to the sea (see the Two-State Solution box).  Unless the Palestinians abandon their intention to destroy Israel and jettison the Palestinian National Charter, which proclaims this aim, there is no prospect whatever of a peaceful solution to the conflict.

2/   The huge problem for Israel is that this is largely invisible to the international public.  Yet without far wider understanding of these key points, it is impossible to generate the international political support that Israel needs.  This is why a major project of Israeli public diplomacy is required to make this visible.  Yet instead of this we have staggering levels of international ignorance, including in those countries where it matters most.  This is dangerous for Israel and also for pro-Israel advocates abroad, many of whom rely on Israeli leadership for their advocacy of Israel but are left without the support they need.

3/   The absence of international understanding also provides fertile soil for anti-Semitism, BDS, accusations of genocide, colonialism, apartheid, and an underlying sense that Israel gets what it deserves.  Sadly, such moral views are largely oblivious to the real factors that drive the conflict and prevent its solution (see Two-State Solution box).  The anti-Israel bias of much of the international mass media bases itself on these issues.

To blame is to attack

4/   The prime task of Israeli PR is to turn this around to make visible to the international public what is kept from it.  Instead, Israeli PR spends an inordinate amount of time and energy attempting to answer and correct an endless stream of accusations and misinformation.  Buried in an endless stream of events, this leaves the international public no wiser on the cause or solution of the conflict.  Therefore, a much better approach is to answer a direct question and immediately note that situation did not arise in a vacuum but from a war caused by the Palestinian refusal to accept the Jewish state.

5/   This directs blame where it belongs.  Accusations of responsibility for violence generate a strong emotional response.  Blame and guilt are powerful.  Therefore, in every interview on foreign TV stations and every article in the foreign press, our spokespersons need to blame the Palestinians for causing and continuing the conflict (see Two-State Solution box).

6/   In doing this, it is helpful to keep in mind the distinction between what can be called event-facts and causal-facts.  Israeli PR should focus on causal facts that explain the cause and continuation of the conflict.  On the other hand, the mainstream media is mainly interested in event-facts.  These are events within the conflict and consist largely of human-interest stories.  They may fuel the conflict but do not cause it.

Audiences of hundreds of millions squandered

7/   Without focus on causal factors, the international public will remain forever misinformed.  Fortunately for Israel, PR opportunities are enormous.  In emergencies, when the need is greatest, demand for Israeli spokespersons soars.  This provides amazing opportunities for Israel to address audiences of hundreds of millions daily – at practically no cost.  Sadly, these opportunities are largely squandered.

8/   This is because our spokespersons on foreign TV, consisting mainly of professors, major-generals, ambassadors, and other experts, seem to think they can conduct media interviews with scarcely any preparation or supporting material.  Nor do they have a primary message which focuses attention on either blame for the conflict or its solution.  This is not a good plan.  In fact, it’s not a plan at all – as shown by the ease with which they are wrong-footed by interviewers who keep them entrenched in media-driven event-facts, which assume Israeli guilt, and away from causal-facts which really explain the conflict.

 

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