Generally, Israel’s Public Relations is very lacking, and the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters beat Israel in the PR game – in part because the media is so Anti-Israel, and in part because Israel is simply bad at PR generally.
In any crisis PR situation, the role is to limit negative coverage – and Israel should be commended for today preventing the entry of hundreds of Anti-Israel activists who the Israeli government says are “provocateurs who are intent on disturbing public order.” Many were blocked entry to the country – as airlines were given the names of 1,200 activists. “The provocateurs will be dealt with in a determined and quick way,” said Israel’s public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch. “If they arrive to Israel they will be identified, removed from the plane, their entry into Israel will be prevented and they will be moved to a detention facility until they are flown out of Israel.”
By proactively handling this situation – they are scoring an A+ in crisis PR – as the state of Israel knows that by banning these people they are minimizing negative coverage of the country. These people are coming to start trouble – and let’s face it there’s no shortage of reporters wanting to skewer Israel – so why assist these people in their mission? It is hard to imagine the New York Yankees allowing a Boston sports reporter unfettered locker room access.
In May 2010 of course, the flotilla caused tremendous damage to the State of Israel – and the PR campaign was awful. This time, Israel should be commended for a great PR campaign. The Public Relations team for Israel even provided a copy of the letter they provided to activists:
We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices.
You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives. You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world. You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.
But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear. We therefore suggest that you first solve the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience.
Have a nice flight.
Today’s wars involve media as much as tanks and military prowess – and Israel PR/Israel Publicity on this rare occasion has been very well executed.
The Author of “For Immediate Release”, Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.