The Fourth Pillar of Effective PR – REPETITION

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Why Israel’s PR needs Gramsci

1/   There is widespread belief among the international public that Israel occupies and builds on land that belongs to the Palestinians.  This is seen as a brutal and unjust denial of Palestinian rights.  As a result, Palestinians are often seen as victims and Israel is widely viewed as the cause of the conflict and an obstacle to peace.

2/   This view, repeated ad infinitum and rarely challenged, naturally produces a disabling unease among Israel’s friends, potential friends, and the Jewish diaspora.  It also provides fertile soil for anti-Semitism, BDS, accusations of genocide, apartheid, and colonialism which foster an underlying hostility to Israel and a view that it deserves what it gets.  Therefore, unless reversed, the international public will remain forever misinformed.  This creates political problems for Israel.

3/   A crucial element of successful PR, or any advertising, is the need for constant repetition.  In his Prison Notebooks, written in secret while he was incarcerated by Mussolini, Antonio Gramsci said,

Repetition is the best didactive means of working on the popular mentality.

4/   It’s not clear to me how far he developed this idea, but he left at least one big hint.  He described the attempts of Marxist intellectuals from the cities to agitate amongst the peasants.  In challenging the conservative and Catholic ideas of the peasants, the university-trained intellectuals had a clear educational and theoretical superiority.  The peasants were aware of this, of course.  But they also ‘knew’ someone whose intellect was more than a match for the city-slickers.  This was the regional Bishop.  As a result, the peasants were hard or impossible to convince of new and radical ideas.

5/   As we now know, it is not just the ‘common people’ who resist changing their minds regarding long held and familiar ideas.  In fact, without big shocks and serious crises, this seems to happen to everyone.  And for good reason.  New and radical ideas are, by definition, unfamiliar.  For this reason, repetition is indispensable for making them familiar.

6/   Further, with the non-stop whirl of events that constantly compete for popular attention, it’s hardly a surprise that much inevitably fades from the memory of the international public.  This is why massive commercial advertising continues even for the most well-known items and brands.  For the same reason, Israel’s PR needs to constantly focus on and ceaselessly repeat key messages.

7/   Although there can be resistance to this idea, it is impossible to do without it in modern PR.  A first-class example is the way which the vast majority of Palestinian spokespersons never fail to blame the occupation – whatever the issue.  Of course, repetition does not make an idea true, but making it familiar helps lower resistance to its acceptance.  This is why Israel needs to focus on and repeat the right messages ad infinitum to expose the actual causes of the conflict and the actions needed to end it.

8/   Public knowledge of the actual causes of the conflict makes it harder for Israel’s interests to be ignored and distorted in diplomatic circles by international organizations and leaders such as the disgraceful UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.  For this reason, repetition must be an essential part of Israel’s PR.


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