The Wonderful World Of Public Relations

July 25th, 2014 § 0 comments

“If it bleeds it leads.” That’s the operating principle of local TV (and most national) news programs and newspapers. On that basis, Israel is losing the public relations war with Hamas. In Gaza, there are actual dead children, weeping women and maimed and bloody men. Newsworthy and capable of arousing profound emotion. On the Israeli side, there is only footage of a few destroyed buildings. But, very few dead and shattered civilian bodies. Daily fear and disruption is not visual. Yes, there is coverage of the funerals of Israeli soldiers. But, these lack impact. The horrific wars in Vietnam and Iraq have deadened emotions concerning military death. And, there’s an angry Netananyu behind a microphone. Not a big PR plus. Of course, it is not for lack of trying that Hamas isn’t giving Israel PR opportunities. By sheer luck (and Israeli anti-rocket technology) hundreds of Hamas’ rockets haven’t exploded in heavily populated areas. Israel had a better world image when the Hamas military wing, Izz ad-Din-al-Quassan, managed successful suicide bombings that littered Tel Aviv’s streets with Jewish body parts. Hamas has two public relations objectives. For the Arab world (and rival Fatah), Hamas wishes to appear “resolute” and able to “stand up” against Israel For the rest of the world, Hamas wishes to appear as the brutalized victim of Israel (the killer of women and children.) In any case, Hamas is achieving these objectives and winning the PR war. (Curiously, defying logic the suffering population of Gaza does not seem to blame Hamas and its policies for their role in their bloody predicament). The benefits to Hamas from its “victory” seem negligible and the cost in terms of bloodshed is huge. For Israel, punishing Hamas (and the Gaza civilian population) militarily will, in HG’s view, not bring security but only a temporary respite from violence. Is there a solution? Doubtful. There are too many ideologues, religious fanatics, political power seekers involved. The madness will continue since the human capacity for wasteful violence seems limitless. However, we have all been taught that miracles have occurred in this part of the world: Seas have parted and the dead have risen to new life. Time for the miraculous to again make an appearance.

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