Featured Post

Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

(this is a featured post and will stay at the top for the foreseeable future.. scroll down for new posts) -------------------------------...

Aug 24, 2008

heckling at the bloggers conference

A number of bloggers pointed out, as a low point, the "braindead Right Wing blogger" who heckled Zavi Apfelbaum, the Foreign Ministry's director of Branding, during her presentation at the NBN jbloggers conference this past Wednesday night.

To provide some background for those of you who did not see it or read about it elsewhere, Apfelbaum is leading a project within the Foreign Ministry to decide on a brand with which to present Israel to the world. Something that when you would mention the word "Israel" to somebody, specifically a non-Jew anywhere in the world, would cause them to think about specific images and think of Israel in a specific manner.

Apfelbaum was talking about the research they are conducting, and it was a very interesting presentation, even though she spoke to us slowly with a lot of repetition as if we were fifth graders. Apfelbaum was describing ideas of images and concepts to be used, such as women in bikinis n the beaches of Eilat and Tel Aviv, discos full of frolicking youth, and the like, that would portray Israel as a fun place to be.

She also mentioned portraying Israel's multi-cultured aspects of being holy to three religions. At that point my friend, the "braindead right-wing blogger", Moshe started heckling and screaming that Israel is a Jewish State. He kept repeating that phrase and disrupted Apfelbaums speech. She got pretty flustered. After a moment of composing herself, she continued her presentation and concluded it quickly.

At first it seemed Moshe was acting pretty much like an insensitive person who is in denial that we have minorities living among us. But after speaking to Moshe about it, I have come to understand his point, and I think it is a good one. Even though Moshe did not express it well at the time.

Moshe was pointing out that the government, via the Foreign Ministry is presenting various ideas to be used in branding Israel. Not a single idea pointed out was one that portrayed Israel as a Jewish State. Not one included an image of anything Jewish. They were images of fun things and minorities. Nothing unique to Israel - all things that one can find in any other country in the world.

It was almost as if the Foreign Ministry is embarrassed by the fact that Israel is a Jewish State and refuses to point it out in its branding of Israel. They will use every concept, and every image, except anything that says Israel is Jewish.

Moshe has no problem with using fun ideas, and he has no problem with portraying Israel's minority cultures in its marketing packages. But only after showing the world that we are first and foremost a Jewish state, using Jewish concepts and Jewish images. Then it would be ok to also describe the fun that can be had here and the cultures of our embedded minorities.

To read Moshe's full explanation, check out his blog, The Sin of the Expulsion blog. he wrote his explanation of the incident in two parts.


  1. So much of the government's take on our country is a desparate attempt to escape world-wide anti-Semitism by denying the "Jewish" half of "Jewish State," as if someone can support Israel while hating Jews.

    One example: the post-modernist history curriculum presented in the secular school system. The religious education system, so encouraging of separatism, is not helping either.

    Funny how, after so many years, we still haven't figured out how to "sell" our country to the world without selling out. Perhaps the answer lies in presenting different faces of the country to different populations... after all, even the Torah has 70 faces.

    Thanks for trying to bring some balance back into the conversation.


  2. Rafi, the point Zavi made was that the world thinks of us in religious terms already. Strict, Orthodox, no women, etc. Granted, this is a distorted vision of what religion is, but still. The point is that they want to brand Israel with what OTHER people find positive.

    In addition, the way he voiced his opinion was just plain RUDE. If you want to make a point about being Jewish, doing it in a way that is completely lacking in Derech Eretz undermines the message. I, for one, was very embarrassed.

  3. Good post. And good comments from ALN and westbankmama. (from someone who wonders about how to present Israel to the planet in my blog, since the place is pretty special to me, too, even if I live here in chutz l'aretz)


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...