Moses, Israel and Public Relations

This week The Jerusalem Post had a story with the title: The real problem behind Israel’s dismal PR.  I found the first paragraph amusing:

Israel’s public image today is dismal. As Elie Wiesel once joked, “Jews excel in just about every profession except public relations, but this should not surprise us: When God wanted to free the Jews from Egypt, he sent Moses, who stuttered.”

This struck my fancy because our agency handled the public relations for the Chosen People Ministries’ Inside the Middle East Crisis. Chosen People Ministires did a great job of promoting the event and attracted more than 1,500 people from around the country to attend a conference. They helped the audience consider currents events in the Middle East with a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other. While Elie Wiesel is one of my hero’s, he should know that there are some very talented Jewish public relations professionals, as evident by the success of Chosen People Ministries event.

And to serve and Moses’ advocate, here are a few things this sea-parting Jew did very well as a public relations pro:

  1. He knew his role as representing his client and giving Him the credit: OK, Moses had a big client, God. And God needed the job done. Moses followed God’s orders, got millions of people out of bondage, showed them where God provided food and water in the desert, and even when God wanted to wipe out His people, Moses was willing to take the hit for them.
  2. Moses Stayed the Course: While it took the Jews 40 years to get from Egypt to the promised land of Israel, biblical scholars believe it could have been done in less than a year. There was a lot of wandering at the direction of God. However, even when his client took him on a difficult path, Moses stayed with God’s direction. Now, God has never give me this type of assignment. However, there is value in having a relationship with a trustworthy client and sticking with him, even when you don’t always understand the logic. Unless the client asks you to do something unethical.
  3. Moses worked to get clear directions from his client: When Moses went up the mountain to get the 10 commendments from God, he managed to get what every public relations person wants from their clients: a clear understanding of the rules of engagement. While many people may not know what all is in the Bible, most have heard of the 10 commandments. Good PR job, Moses.

Now back to the present. The Jerusalem Post article goes on to trash Netanyahu’s leadership in Israel and his poor PR skills when it said:

The combination of the public’s disillusionment that peace efforts will ever improve its global image and the disunity within the government further exacerbates historic public relations woes across the globe. But Israel is also inept at PR at home.

While I am not a Middle East expert, I see a country that is surrounded by enemies, surviving and thriving even after coming back to life in 1948, when the world thought that Moses’ Israel would never be restored to the Jews. At the end of the day, Israel still stands despite attacks from outside and inside the country.