Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ministry of Foreign Despairs

Sometimes humor is the best tool to get a point across. Hopefully, you're not so full of yourself that you'll take on a dumb mission like attempting to communicate your message in another language.

What kind of organization publishes content in English when English is not the writer's mother tongue? What goes through these people's minds is a mystery; but it makes for some good entertainment.

Here are some classics. Feel free to add your own:

"Jew Accomplishments in Israel" -

I appreciate what this gentleman was trying to accomplish, but the execution is rather sub-par. It comes across as a bit, shall we say, anti-Semitic. Probably not the intention of the author.

This news agency's slogan should be, "All the news not fit for print." Oy vey.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Israel has been the focus of lopsided international criticism, and I always maintained that this was in no small part due to utter ignorance of public relations management. Government officials take the "moral high ground" by refusing to respond to what they considered patent libels and propaganda. Any student of media studies knows that the more you seed a lie, the more it becomes accepted as fact. It's the theory of "memes."

The cultural myopia was one example of how very out of touch the Israeli leaders were with world opinion. Many false accusations are simply de facto truths because no defense or alternative perspective was ever voiced or presented. The distinct exception to this rule was Binyamin Netanyahu, an intellect who understood the importance of good PR. As a side note, rumor has it that Mr. Netanyahu has a 180 IQ. Not too shabby.

Along with some peers, we leveraged some channels and proposed a new and progressive PR approach undertaken by Anglo-Saxons. These are the people who look outside the fishbowl and see the way the world interprets the country's actions; moreover, they would be capable of putting things into digestible terms for Westerners. Instead, the government in power at the time decided to wrangle an all Israeli team -- each member of which had English skills inversely proportional to his/her position as spokesperson. It could not have been more horrible--a total disasterpiece. In a fateful diplay of sheer stupidity, they decided to engage in public debate with masters of spin including the likes of Saeb Erakat and Hanan Ashrawi. These two propagandists have a high command of English, and disperse their lopsided rhetoric using every meme in the book. The Israeli response was so horrible, that it will go down in the annals of PR disasters.

In particular I recall one allegation by the Ashrawi camp which accused the Israelis of genocide, ethnic cleansing or some other absurdity that would have been shot out of the sky by anybody with the poise, language skills and knowledge of the facts. Amazingly (or not), the uncomfortable Israeli acted like a deer in the headlights, gracefully acknowledging the canard as truth by retorting something in the order of , "Ehhhh.... yes.... you also make terror." Nice one, Hotshot.

Of course, it goes both ways.

No comments: