Op-Ed: Bad PR Move: Graffiti are Not Bus Bombings
Another day, another dumb Public Relations move for the State of Israel.
Words and image matter in policy and diplomacy.
As readers will remember, a few months ago, The New York Times Magazine published a cover story “If There is a Third Intifada, We Want to be the Ones who Started It” celebrating Palestinian-Arabs who are “non-violent,” defining them as “peaceful protestors”.. who throw stones.
Naturally, the world regards them as heroic – quite different from terrorists, of course. And this message resonates worldwide.
And similarly, it resonates when the Internal Security Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Aharonovich, labels anti-Arab graffiti as “terrorism.” Words and labels matter – and for the democratic nation of Israel, which is already maligned by the world’s media, it is a mistake to call these so-called “price tag” attacks terrorism.
Are not terrorists set to be hunted and killed? Should foolish teenagers be shot for spray-painting a wall?
Diplomatically, this label and language allows the world and Israel’s countless enemies to equate “Arab” and “Jewish” terrorists. Naturally, this ignores the sub-text that Arab terrorists attack Israeli buses, children and innocents.
These so-called Jewish attacks - non of them have been caught or indicted as yet - are rowdy teenagers who use paint on walls – it may be wrong, but it shouldn’t be called terror.
These actions by an Israeli Minister are a major mistake – as Prime Minister Netanyahu rightfully said these words “..damage Israel’s international standing, increase its delegitimization and encourage international groups to compare price tag attacks to rocket fire or Hamas suicide attacks”
Israel is the underdog in the Middle East, and the Arabs the real power, a fact which the media misses. So what do we have? An Israeli cabinet member who condemns graffiti on a wall as "Jewish Terror.” And the bombed-out buses and rocket attacks are "Arab Terror" – which most Arab leaders celebrate.
Equating graffiti and damage of property to bombings of buses, wanton rocket attacks, and the slitting of infants necks is repugnant – and plays into the hands of Israel’s enemies.
Ronn Torossian is the New-York based CEO of 5WPR, which has been named as PR Agency of the Year by the American Business Awards.