PR tips for the IDF
PR tips for the IDF

As CEO of one of America’s leading PR Agencies, and a supporter of the State of Israel, I read with interest the recent news “The Israel Defense Forces is seeking to hire a professional who will oversee public relations campaigns on behalf of the army.”

Some tips for the head of the IDF’s PR unit:

Be Proactive:  Explain constantly and regularly that Israel is the good guys surrounded by enemies.  Everyone can understand concepts about distances and sizes.  Every day is a new day – yet Israel remains a democracy, a tiny State surrounded by despots in a very dangerous neighborhood.

Frame the debate properly. Explain that anywhere in the world when rocks are thrown, force is a natural response.  Ask what would happen if people threw rocks in Paris, New York or Moscow, how would military forces respond? Don’t allow the media to frame the debate otherwise.

Challenge Fake News: in today’s era of fake news, hold hostile news outlets responsible.  As Prime Minister Netanyahu recently demanded the BBC change their headline claiming "Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem," neglecting to mentnion the fact that the killed were terrorists, so too must the IDF challenge the rampant inaccuracies of the media.  Hold them responsible – and ban them from briefings if they insist on continuing to propagate false and dangerous news.

Create content on your own.  Release videos which explain why something is happening rather than counting on hostile media outlets to tell the truth. Don’t answer the question you are asked – tell the narrative you want.  Explain how Israel made the desert bloom and the IDF protects the people who live on the ground. Use social media to communicate directly to audiences that matter.

Expose the Violent:  Do those creating violence support a caliphate in the region? Are they hostile towards the West? The best defense is a good offense: Expose those who are violent against Israel proactively.

Recognize that the Enemy Is Good at PR:  Osama Bin-Laden, ISIS and other terrorists have succeeded at propaganda, and so too have the Palestinian Arabs had success – with the death of Mohammed al-Durra and the Gaza flotilla showing how they manipulate the truth against Israel.  Hamas’ supposed “moderation” is something which Israel must counter, while realizing the enemy is good at PR. 

Don’t rest.  Much as the fighters in the IDF cannot rest in fighting against Israel’s enemies, so too much those who fight with words and own PR for the IDF must also realize media now more than ever is a 24/7 job.  

As Ze’ev Jabotinsky said in 1932 “The work of the publicist is a legacy from the Prophets of Israel…Our passion is to speak, to proclaim—“Shouting” is what the same audience calls it, ‘we have no need for words, give us actions.’ One thing that audience forgets is that speech is also an action – Perhaps the most authentic of all other actions. Cities have been destroyed, and more will fall, but what was shouted in the wilderness thousands of years ago is alive and still relevant. The world was created by the Word. The world will be mended by the Article.”

This is a vital role, and all those who support justice must stand with Israel in their PR battle, as it’s truly one for survival. Israel is right to have demands for safety and survival above all else. 

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.