‘We have girls in bikinis, we have beaches, we have beer and bars – come to us!’
Israel’s efforts to use “girls in bikinis” and Nazi genocide to sell itself abroad are not working, a secret conference of the country’s hasbara – or propaganda – chiefs has been told.
The conference was convened in Jerusalem last weekend by Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister currently in charge of government efforts to combat the global movement for Palestinian rights.
According to Israel’s NRG news site, 150 “Jewish leaders” from around the world took part in the meeting, which “dealt with the fight against BDS” – the Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel.
Journalists were not invited and participants were asked to maintain secrecy, NRG reported.
Erdan’s office supposedly insisted on secrecy because “exposing the information about the conference participants could be life endangering” – a smear against the BDS movement, which is avowedly committed to nonviolence.
Jewish students turned offThe conference heard from Frank Luntz, the prominent US Republican pollster, that Israel’s propaganda messaging was failing even among American Jewish students.
According to Luntz’s findings, only 42 percent of Jewish students believe that Israel wants peace, just 39 percent view Israel as a “civilized and Western country” and a mere 31 percent consider Israel to be a democracy.
As many as one fifth of Jewish students believe the US should support the Palestinian side and a similar proportion sees Israel as racist.
One of the conference participants told NRG that Israel’s tourism ministry “came out very badly.”
The participant characterized Israel’s marketing in these terms: “ ‘we have girls in bikinis, we have beaches, we have beer and bars – come to us,’ and this does not work.”
Indeed, Israel’s tourism industry went into freefall as a result of Israel’s summer 2014 attack on Gaza that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children, and has still not recovered.