Israeli gov’t cancels oafish ad campaign targeting Christmas, US marriage

Is this the week that Israel, the longest running Jewish American TV show, “jumped the shark”? I wonder. Ruth Marcus getting vexed in the Washington Post that restrictions on women in Israel are a “national security” threat because they will alienate American Jews, on whom the country depends. Abe Foxman complaining about threats to civil liberties in the Knesset for the same reason.  And now that stupid ad campaign warning Israelis in the U.S. not to marry Americans, but come back home. It disturbed Jeffrey Goldberg among others. Again because it makes their job, propagandizing, impossible. 

The Netanyahu government has now cancelled the ad campaign, in embarrassment. The Washington Post rubs it in: “The Israeli government has canceled an ad campaign in which it suggested that Israeli expatriates will ‘lose their national identities’ if they marry Jewish Americans or celebrate Christmas. “

Goldberg got the scoop, from Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who said, “The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption’s campaign clearly did not take into account American Jewish sensibilities, and we regret any offense it caused.”

Maybe too late…  JTA adds:

The Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, told Haaretz the ads were “heavy-handed, and even demeaning.”

According to the Haaretz report, Israeli’s Foreign Ministry consulted with the Absorption Ministry after receiving several complaints from American Jews and was told that the feedback from Israelis who live in the United States was positive.

Notice the Israelis thought it was great. Clueless.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine

{ 17 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I think, they decided not to aggravate too much the hand that feeds them.
    The still need the hand.

  2. Sin Nombre says:

    What was very interesting was reading this Haaretz story and then this additional one talking about the modus vivendi worked out between Ben Gurion and an American jewish guy named Blaustein way back in the 50′s and etc.:

    link to haaretz.com

    Essentially, the story detail how Blaustein forced Ben Gurion to accept that American jews owed their first allegiance to the U.S.; to not say Israeli leaders spoke for all jews; to stop using the term “aliyah” even as it’s literal meaning “to ascend” implies a superiority being Israeli. In fact back in those days American jews even got Israel to refrain from calling itself “the jewish state” due to its implication that it is the only real state jews owe allegiance to.

  3. seafoid says:

    The Sephardim, the Haredim and the Russians are in charge now. Haredim and Sephardim have lower educational standards than average and the Russians think the West Bank is Chechnya. None of these groups understands geopolitics as it is going to affect Israel. They don’t speak English. They are doped out on Israeli chosenness and violence. They don’t care what American Jews think .They just take American political support and money as a given. Anyone who disagrees is an antisemite or a SHJ.

    The Diaspora has no influence over them.

    This is the Jewish prison.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Please. Calling it a prison implies that Jews are trapped in Israel. They’re not.

      • Charon says:

        To be fair, propaganda has trapped them inside their minds. A psychological prison. If I was a Zionist Jew born and raised in Israel, drinking the kool-aid right from my baby bottle about Israel’s David vs. Goliath historical narrative and all those “Arab Countries” who want to push me to the sea… I would’ve seen Saddam’s scuds, suicide bombings, and various other terror attacks. The Oslo process and all the times it failed. Military blending in with scenery, mandatory conscription. Education would be full of lies about lots of things. Boasting about all the great things Israel does better than everybody. And of course… that even though I am surrounded by my enemies who have tried to kill me since biblical times, this is the only place in the world where I’m safe and if we give them an inch, it will lead to a holocaust.

        Can you imagine what that would do to your mind? I’m not sure I would be normal after all that. I drank the kool aid served stateside and supported Israel for years because I didn’t know better. I went through a skeptical period too until I exchanged words with the Hasbarists. Their extremism and insulting remarks convinced me once and for all that something was seriously wrong.

        Israel is kinda like ‘The Matrix’ in a sense that it is a fantasy world. Most of the citizens living there are ‘sleeping’ by living a lie. It’s a mental illness. A nation full of sociopaths. And even though they are at fault for continuing to propagate the lie, part of me feels bad for them. Their minds really are a form of a prison. A prison they can escape from, just not sure that’s possible.

        • radii says:

          great exchange seafoid, charon and and chaos4700 – y’all nailed it

          israel is imploding from the corruption and hypocrisy and the israelis themselves don’t seem to notice

  4. Shmuel says:

    The prime minister deeply values the American Jewish community and is committed to deepening ties between it and the State of Israel.”

    Or in the words of the Gashashim: “does a fisherman like fish?”

  5. richb says:

    See Al Jazeera’s insightful take on this:

    link to aljazeera.com

    Yes, the Israelis are clueless in their messaging but they are not clueless in the need for the ads. At the end of the Al Jazeera piece the reporter noted the why for the ad campaign. Over the last few decades the flow of Jews is from Israel to the United States and not the other way around. The last question asked is particularly pointed:

    “… leaving many Israelis asking which place is really home.”

    Let’s compare the U.S. and Israel for a moment. One is a multi-cultural location where Jews can speak English and celebrate Christmas with their Christian friends if they chose. I celebrate Hanukkah with my Jewish friends. Respecting other religious traditions does not mean adopting other religions. Many American Jews understand this and is one reason why they were offended by the ads. Or, one where only Hebrew is spoken (but apparently read see the English-language Economist on the “abba’s” chest), and only Judaism is respected and other religions effectively banned. American Jewry has spoken with their feet on this important question and like many other issues recently the Hasbara machine is panicking.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “celebrate Christmas with their Christian friends if they chose”

      And, in fact, Christmas need not be a Christian holiday in the US. Certainly Santa, elves, flying raindeer, trees, etc., are barren of Christian symbolism. (Indeed, I saw a painting — an awful, awful piece of kitsch — that had Santa kneeling before the creche and it struck me that the two main symbols of Christmas looked completely incongruous together.) I’ve been an atheist for decades and still love Christmas. (But, of course, I come from a Catholic family, so it’s not like I just picked it up out of the blue… Although, come to think about it, maybe I should do that. I hear Diwali is a blast.)

      • Charon says:

        Most of the Jewish people I’ve been friends with or have known celebrate Christmas to some degree. Most but not all. There was one coworker who was offended by a Secret Santa gift… Why she participated in a Christmas-related exchange I’ll never know. I think she just didn’t like the “Christ” name on the gift. Christ may technically refer to Jesus but it isn’t his ‘last name’ as some people believe. It means Messiah or King. She was the only one who was picky and another Jewish co-worker thought she was a little nuts to fuss over it.

        I wasn’t exposed to religion growing up although I respected it. Became an atheist as a teen which evolved into an agnostic theist. Maybe a little bit gnostic, but not religious. I celebrate Christmas. Although when I was an atheist teen, nativity displays used to bug me for some reason.

  6. richb says:

    Note this:

    News from Goldblog Headquarters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his country’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption to immediately shut down its ridiculous Diaspora-bashing ad campaign, which was meant to guilt Israeli expatriates in America into going home. I first wrote about this campaign here; the original post prompted Israel’s Immigration Minister, Sofa Landver, to tell Shmuel Rosner that Goldblog is a know-nothing and to defend rather too vociferously the ad campaign.

    Goldblog just got off the phone with the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, who had brought the campaign to the attention of the prime minister after my first post on the subject appeared. Oren read to me the following statement:

    “The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption’s campaign clearly did not take into account American Jewish sensibilities, and we regret any offense it caused. The campaign, which aimed to encourage Israelis living abroad to return home, was a laudable one, and it was not meant to cause insult. The campaign was conducted without the knowledge or approval of the prime minister’s office or of the Israeli embassy in Washington. Prime Minister Netanyahu, once made aware of the campaign, ordered the videos immediately removed from YouTube, and he ordered that the billboards be removed as well. The prime minister deeply values the American Jewish community and is committed to deepening ties between it and the State of Israel.”

    So there you have it: Another Diaspora-Israel crisis averted. The prime minister has acted swiftly and correctly. Goldblog’s work here is done. Shabbat Shalom.

    But I just went to Klita’s channel and there was “Daddy” right on the front page:

    link to youtube.com

    I just took a screen grab just to prove it in case they pull it later. Note also that your ability to see the ad above is proof that the video wasn’t pulled. Sounds like Goldberg had a W-style “mission accomplished”.

  7. This is just completely unrelated. But it’s just too cute to pass.
    Something sweet for a change.
    Enjoy:)

  8. ardeshir says:

    This ad is criticized for being blunt and crude. I see there are dimensions which are subtle, and disturbing. I am surprised that no one has yet commented on the psychological messages that are aimed at the nearly assimilated.

    Look closely at the cover of the magazine that “Baba” is holding. “The Economist”. With a photo of an intact WTC, labled “10 Years On”. It is very clearly photographed, and its selection/inclusion, I am certain, is not accidental.

    There are so many implication to explore in this simple and purposeful element. I hardly know where to begin! The image is not “subliminal” per se, but the emotional connotations and resonance are meant to occur unconsciously. Keeping your children culturally Israeli is defending them from “terrorism”, which it is not too late to forget. It is designed to make the assimilated, foreign-living Israeli feel guilty for not defending his children from Terrorists, which cannot be accomplished without re-affirming their Israeli identity.