By SAM SOKOL. Published by: The Jerusalem Post
AUGUST 6, 2015 07:13. Updated: AUGUST 6, 2015 07:14.
In order to bolster its public relations efforts abroad, Israel must disentangle its narrative from that of the Palestinians and show the world that there is more to the Jewish state than the Arab-Israeli conflict, Ido Aharoni, consul- general of Israel in New York, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“The common association of Israel with the Palestinians is a reflection of the fact that the conversation about Israel is historically limited to the geopolitical realities, what I call the unhappy circumstances, of life in the Middle East,” Aharoni said, speaking with reporters and editors in the Post’s newsroom.
“Israel is more than just a conflict, Israel is a real place, it’s a real country, with real people, with real achievements, real accomplishments, real aspirations, and we need to celebrate that,” he asserted.
“We can’t celebrate our success through the prism of the issues with our neighbors. We have to celebrate our success by sharing with the world what it is that we’re offering. Israel is extremely relevant to the world – everything that we do, from all the great innovation to medical breakthroughs to cyberspace all the way up to the military and the way we help the world to deal with terrorism and so on – we need to celebrate that, and we need to do it in a very proactive fashion.
”Aharoni also dismissed the economic damage caused by boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns as relatively insignificant when weighed against the Arab boycotts put in place after the establishment of the state.“
BDS is not showing any signs of success. However, the potential is very damaging, especially when it comes to Israel’s image,” he said.
Fighting BDS, especially on campus, requires “a long-term strategy in place that will allow people to connect with what Israel represents, because Israel is many things to many people… and reducing the conversation only to the hardships of life in the Middle East is a tremendous injustice to Israel and what Israel represents.”
“Therefore…the real problem to be addressed here is how we are going to help thousands of students on campus [and] off campus to connect with Israel. That’s the real task.”
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)