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WATCH: ELAL, Israel's national airline, now part of state PR efforts

You know a country is in serious trouble when it decides to have its national airline’s pilots and flight attendants doing its Hasbara (PR) work for them. El Al “Ambassadors” will now be “at the forefront of Israeli diplomacy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Los Angeles and Toronto,” as part of a joint initiative with the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Foreign Ministry and Stand With US. The latter group is an American organization which is considered “pro-Israel” but certainly does not represent me and what I think the countries’ interest are.

According to the Israel consulate website in New York:

Each presentation will include an introductory movie about Israel’s success in non-political related fields (such as science, culture, agriculture, assistance in humanitarian crisises around the world and medical advancements), the Ambassadors personal stories, and more.

Talk about whitewashing Israel’s occupation. I think this project calls for a new term: “Air-washing?” “Sky-washing?”

For the first time in Israeli history a private sector corporation has decided to take on an active roll in Israeli Hasbara.

And this is something to celebrate?


Hasbara: why does the world fail to understand us? 

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    1. Bryan

      It’s called “tourism”. I get the same stuff about Spain when I fly there, or France when I fly there. While I hope the occupation ends soon, not everything in Israel is about the occupation; there are many great things about the country and the culture that shouldn’t be dismissed.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Mairav Zonszein

      @Bryan. This is my home. I love many things about this place and I am deeply connected to it. But sometimes it feels impossible to not see the occupation in everything here, particularly when it is so easy to just go to the beach or a cafe.

      But “hoping” the occupation ends isn’t good enough. And when the state pumps more and more effort and resources into branding itself, instead of actually changing bad and offensive policies, it is unacceptable.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Alexandra


      you do realize that every leftist in any country says that about their country? Why do you think yours is so much worse? Come on…if that’s the worst you have to complain about things aren’t so bad.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Vicky

      “I think this project calls for a new term: ‘Air-washing?’ ‘Sky-washing?'”
      Airbrushing? 😛

      Reply to Comment
    5. sh

      “Talk about whitewashing Israel’s occupation. I think this project calls for a new term: “Air-washing?” “Sky-washing?””
      “Airbrushing” would be my choice.

      Reply to Comment
    6. sh

      Aargh, great minds think alike Vicky!

      Reply to Comment
    7. Elisabeth

      “It’s called “tourism”. I get the same stuff about Spain when I fly there, or France when I fly there.”

      That is nonsense. Show me Bryan!

      Reply to Comment
    8. XYZ

      It is interesting to analyze the psychology of those like Meirav and others whose every waking moment is devoted to “fighting the occupation” and who view every single thing that happens in Israel though that lens. There are others who are even more obsessed. Bloggers such a Richard Silverstein and Phil Weiss and others at Mondoweiss spend hours every day churning out anti-Israel propaganda. They seem to have no life outside of this. Another examples are Brant Rosen or “Jerry Haber” who don’t write quite as much but whose every single word they write about Israel is bostile. Brant is a rabbi and yet he never, ever mentions Israel is any context other that “oppressor of the Palestinians”. He and some of his congregation came for a visit with the Palestinians a couple of years and they never once mentioned even stepping foot in Israel even though they must have.
      One blogger of this type who was ranting about Israeli control of Jerusalem was asked what the statement made at the end of the Passover Seder “Next Year in Jerusalem!” means to him. He replied that as a Jew he works for the Arabs to control Jerusalem (?!).
      The conlcusion I reach from this is not that these people are obsessed with “the occupation”. All them go far beyond that in their adoption of Arab grievances against Israel. Were Israel to actually withdraw to the pre-67 lines, remove the settlers and have a Palestinian state, these peope wouldn’t bat an eyelash and would keep pouring fire and brimstone on Israel, still calling it “racist, militarist, apartheid, etc, etc”. One example is that Brant Rosen’s “Jewish Voice for Peace” of which is a “rabbinical advisor” has an article on their web site showing how Tel Aviv is an “illegal settlement”.
      This shows a very, very deep Jewish psychological aversion to Jewish self-determination. They all hold Israel to standards they don’t demand from any other country, even their own, for those who live in the US, for instance.
      How widespread is this Jewish pathology? I recently scanned Mondoweiss and although every day Weiss, Horowitz and others write one or more screeds a day, it is only a handfull of people who comment, but they will post several comments a day, all of which say the same things over and over, most of which could be considered antisemitic.
      I can only repeat what I have stated here before….most people in the world couldn’t care less about the Arab-Iraeli conflict, or the “occupation” or the settlements and it apparently greatly afflicts these radical Jewish “Left/Progressives” don’t share their pathologies.

      Reply to Comment
    9. XYZ

      I meant to say at the end of the preceding comment that the radical Jewist Left/Progressives are infuriated that the rest of the world doesn’t share their pathologies.
      Let me make clear…it is quite legitimate for Israeli and non-Israel Jews to take positions on the future of the territories that Palestinians live on, to support removing the settlements, and to even support having Israel turn into a “state of all its citizens’. However, the Jewish Left-Progressives must realize they are a small minority and simply pouring out rage and hate against Israel AND THOSE WHO SUPPORT IT like those I mentioned above goes far beyond what civilized political discourse allows for.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Kibbutznik

      ” Aargh, great minds think alike Vicky! ”
      such a low opinion you have of yourself sh.
      you should really get into politics , start with doing some PR spin for Kadima in English of course , dont forget to mention your roots in Gush Emunim and how you think Shulamit Aloni is a liar … they will welcome you with open arms .

      Reply to Comment
    11. sh

      Talk about screeds and rants, XYZ, you’re quite a dab hand yourself although, like most of us, you don’t make much of a dent in the objects of your obsession.
      The reason I was late posting my comment above was because I was searching for proof of something I remember happening that I wished to add. What I found instead was a more recent incident that made my efforts comical. I distinctly remember being handed a map of Israel by El-Al cabin crew several years ago that was river-to-sea. There was a minor fuss over it in a newspaper or two afterwards. Nothing on the first page of google but lots of this, which happened a few months ago: a blue map was handed out by the crew on a flight to a Russian destination that completely sliced out both the West Bank and the Gaza strip. High dudgeon and complaints that this was not “Israel’s official map” ensued.
      In both cases El Al issued an apology.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Mairav Zonszein

      @Vicky and @SH: Nice! We should start a copywriting company together!

      Reply to Comment
    13. Maor

      Occupation-washing: washing away Palestinian terrorism and anti-Zionist crimes, incitement, and bigotry by presenting the Palestinians as victims of “the occupation” and by assigning negative occupation-related motivations to every act of any Israeli governmental organization.

      Reply to Comment
    14. susy

      good point mairav
      “you do realize that every leftist in any country says that about their country? Why do you think yours is so much worse?”…this is just a semplicistic and groundless generalization

      Reply to Comment
    15. Piotr Berman

      Interesting video. Is it “occupation washing” or “reflecting the occupation”? Is there anything missing among the testifying and in the testimonies?

      As a momentary digression, I read about difficulties Israel faces in generating kosher electricity for Saturday use, because there are no non-Jews working in the power stations that could assure that a user of electricity on Saturday is not using Jewish Shabbat breaking labor. Various solutions were considered except the obvious one (surely there must be non-Jews in Israel, aren’t they?)

      Is ElAl another “Jew only” company?


      Greetings our dearest passengers! We hope that you will enjoy your visit to our country, but just in case, would you be deported upon landing at Ben Gurion International, we will tell you about our country now. ….

      Reply to Comment
    16. Kibbutznik

      ” and @SH: Nice! We should start a copywriting company together! ”
      as long as sh has a superior position to you Mairav and as long as you dont question her opinions or decisions or her religion you will get on fine .
      a word of warning , the internet is deceptive as is sh , she is a control freak …trust her and you will be bitterly disappointed as I and my family learnt only to well .

      Reply to Comment
    17. Handala

      It’s very difficult (and actually impossible) to view Israel without the occupation-lens simply because the country was founded on occupation and displacement! It’s like asking to jump into a pool without getting wet…

      Reply to Comment
    18. Rehmat

      The staff of Israel’s national airline El Al is known for spying for entity’s secret police, the Shin Bet. In 2009, its former employee Jonathan Garb, a South African Jewish citizen who received his military training in Israel – admitted when South African government expelled two of El Al for spying on Blacks and Muslim passengers at Johannesburg international airport.

      Earlier, El Al staff had helped Israeli Mossad in kidnapping and smuggling Zionazi leader, Adolph Eichmann, from Argentina to Israel where he was executed in 1961 as result of a Jewish kangroo-trail.


      Reply to Comment