As stated in a previous blog post, I am spending next semester in Tel Aviv, Israel. As I prepare to go abroad I try to keep up with the political situation in the Middle East. Israel is in a very delicate situation because it has territory disputes, among other political issues, with all of the countries that surround it.
That being said, Israel is a tiny country, roughly the size of New Jersey. Israel wants peace but peace sometimes does not seem inevitable. Many Israel’s are tired of fighting and look for creative ways to reach peace. Just like the United States, there is an upcoming election in Israel and there is a campaign called Vote Peace which urges Israeli’s to convince Israel to Vote For Peace in the coming election.
The campaign uses techniques such as grassroots advertising and social media to impact Israeli’s. In one Youtube video, the campaign filmed Israeli’s telling their Iranian neighbors that they do not hate them and they are looking for dialogue about peace. Many people in the video say, “I don’t hate you, I don’t even know you. We mean you no harm.” Techniques like this humanize both parties involved and makes is a step in the right direction.
Next month the campaign is launching a mass media campaign, which will feature the faces of the faces of people from the Middle East (Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians, Turkish, Egyptians) on billboards, busses and television commercials with advertisements saying to the Israeli people, “We love you, we want peace with you.”
As a public relations student, I think this campaign is a brilliant idea. Appealing to people’s emotions is a successful campaign tactic. All Israeli’s must train for the army and therefore many all Israeli’s has had a loved one hurt or killed due to the conflict in the Middle East. Peace is very dear to Israeli’s yet many are not willing to compromise territory to achieve peace, which one reason Isreali’s may hate their neighbors.
On my first visit to Israel, I was shocked on how much the typical educated, army trained Israeli hate the people in their neighboring countries. Rascism is completely taboo and unacceptable in the United States, but in Israel Israelis have no shame in saying how much contempt they have for their neighboring countries.
Hopefully this campaign for peace will get Israeli’s to realize that their dream for peace can become a reality. While in Israel I hope to also spread this message of peace.