Positively Israel! Changing the world for the better.
This was the title of Consul General of Israel in New York, Ambassador Ido Aharoni’s address to the students and community members assembled at UCLA Hillel on Tuesday night, December 4.
Elderly Jews in sweaters and coats sat dispersed among the students, whose backpacks were stuffed under their seats next to discarded dinner plates. Around 50 people gathered on the second floor of Hillel at UCLA, eager to hear Ambassador Aharoni’s message.
In partnership with the Jewish National Fund, Aharoni toured 10 campuses in three-and-a-half days, spreading his message of positivity to the students. Thanks to the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies Student Leadership Council, Hillel at UCLA, and Bruins for Israel, he was able to come to UCLA.
Ambassador Aharoni advocated that Israel is more than the sum of its bad news. Most people who hear about Israel associate it with conflict, which is a tragedy after all of the difficult journeys and personal struggles Jews had to endure in order to end up in Israel. Each Jew has a uniquely beautiful story, but the media, and common conceptions of Israel, focus on the negative.
In order to change the conversation and sway public opinion in favor of Israel, advocates should elaborate on Israel’s rich culture in order to help paint Israel as a deeply personal and relatable place.
The way we brand ourselves is important to the way others see us, so why not brand Israel favorably? Make the associations positive.
It’s bad news when a country has to hold an event to point out that there are positive things associated with it. Even worse when that goal is stated right in the title of the event. Israel needs to start watching Mad Men.