The website of popular Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv – NRG – ran a story on ISRAEL21c’s success in informing Americans about the Israel Beyond the Conflict – titled ‘The Real Ambassadors.’ It’s a play on words connected to the popular Israeli reality show – The Ambassador which is choosing a young Israeli to become a spokesman for Israel abroad. To read the NRG story in Hebrew, click here.
THE REAL AMBASSADORS
The ISRAEL21c organization is trying to show Americans another side of Israel. “In the last year, we’ve placed over 1300 articles in The New York Times, Time Magazine and Reuters,” said David Brinn the director of the organization in Israel.
By Omer Himi
Take two super-successful high tech people, a public relations person, three communications experts and a culture/nightlife consultant, add a love of Israel, and you get the most efficient hasbara body in the country. More efficient even than the candidates in the successful reality TV show ‘The Ambassador’.
Four years ago, the two senior high tech people were sitting together watching TV, and they saw what all the world was seeing – the war in Israel. Israeli Zvi Alon, founder of Netvision, and businessman Eric Benhamou, CEO of 3Com and Palm worldwide, knew that there was a different Israel, and decided to begin and explain to Americans about the real Israel.
In Silicon Valley, they established ISRAEL21c, launched an internet site and began writing about the Israel that brings advancements and developments in the fields of health, high-tech, and technology. All to show the world that there were other things in Israel besides war.
The staff in Israel finds developments in all the fields, the stories are transferred to a worldwide public relations company KCSA, based in New York. The firm approaches representatives of the media in the US, and suggests story ideas to them in the hopes of turning them into stories. “In 2003-2004, we’ve placed over 1300 articles in The New York Times, Time Magazine, AP and Reuters, and that’s only a partial list” said David Brinn the director of the organization in Israel.
A month ago, the organization decided to place an emphasis on young Americans. They recruited Daniella Doron (Channel 10, The Yacht) as a consultant for culture and nightlife, who together with Harry Rubenstein, formerly the entertainment editor at The Jerusalem Post, is trying to help the organization reach the an audience in the 16-25 age range.
“Part of the reason is to show Americans the hottest trends in Israel – from music to the latest fashions, from Israeli film to food, from nightlife to tattoos, anything that’s cool and in our minds will appeal to the American youth, that’s the story for us,” said Doron. “I hope that sources in Israel will take advantage of this opportunity that can help them and the country. In the US, there’s an erroneous image of Israel, and we’re trying to demonstrate that there’s other things happening here besides an occupation.”
The organization is not doing this for money – their funders have enough, and there’s also no political viewpoint. “We’re going to the American people and explaining to them that Israel is a strong and amazing country with discoveries in many fields, discoveries that every day affect the lives of Americans,” said Brinn. “This provides them with another reason to be supportive of Israel without entering into the argument of who’s right or not in the conflict.”