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Tel Aviv seeks to separate itself from Israel’s image as ‘less than savory,’ ‘contentious’

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Twelve years ago Israel launched “Brand Israel” to transform its image overseas. Well it doesn’t seem to be working. Marketers for Tel Aviv have sought to disconnect the city from Israel, because the Israel brand is “contentious” and “less than savory,” a brand development site reports.

[F]or Tel Aviv, successfully appealing to its target demographic of young people and tourists is in some cases hindered by a less than savoury image of Israel that is often communicated globally.

“The challenge of the Tel Aviv brand is, of course, the national brand of Israel,” says Hila Oren, CEO of the Tel Aviv Foundation. “But today, following the lead of other global cities, Tel Aviv as a brand has succeeded in disconnecting the city from the national brand of Israel. By engaging in urban issues that are globally relevant, the city’s brand focuses on the innovation happening within Tel Aviv itself.”

The branding aims to convince students, tourists, and immigrants that Tel Aviv is “an entity almost separate to that of Israel.”

To combat its geographical challenge and elevate Tel Aviv’s status as a city powered by young minds and creative technology, the mayor’s office of Tel Aviv-Yafo launched Tel Aviv Global in 2010. Dedicated to positioning Tel Aviv as a ‘leading international business centre that specialises in innovation,’ Tel Aviv Global is combatting the country’s sometimes contentious image and portraying Tel Aviv as an entity almost separate to that of Israel. Led by Oren, the initiative focuses on economic development, tourism and reinforcing global communication networks to strengthen Tel Aviv’s positioning. This is all while encouraging the outside world to recognise Tel Aviv for its people, which Oren believes are its strongest asset…

Ongoing political tensions notwithstanding, Tel Aviv has retained its image as a centre of free living.

A historic advantage for Tel Aviv over rival cities in Israel such as Jerusalem “is its… reputation for liberalism,” Oren says. It aims to compete with Abu Dhabi, New York, London, Tokyo.

And some people say that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is not working. Of course it’s working. It’s advancing this shift in perception.

PS This opening page of Oren’s Discover Tel Aviv website mentions Israel only once (and misspells it).

H/t Israeli consulate in NY

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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13 Responses

  1. chocopie
    chocopie
    August 1, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Nope. They are part of the problem. They can’t cover their eyes and pretend they’re not part of the stinking apartheid state.

  2. annie
    annie
    August 1, 2018, 5:15 pm

    this is almost amusing.

    “The challenge of the Tel Aviv brand is, of course, the national brand of Israel,” says Hila Oren, CEO of the Tel Aviv Foundation. “But today, following the lead of other global cities, Tel Aviv as a brand has succeeded in disconnecting the city from the national brand of Israel. By engaging in urban issues that are globally relevant, the city’s brand focuses on the innovation happening within Tel Aviv itself.”

    the challenge of tel aviv is the brand, and as a brand tel aviv has succeeded? if that were the case they wouldn’t be “changing its image to promote its startup culture” (the title of the promotional article linked to in the first paragraph). tel aviv can’t “disconnect” itself from israel even if it tried. for one thing, the name. all these transliterated hebrew names, whether for a person or a place, scream hebrew and the only place it’s spoken is israel. it’s not like hmm, which european country is prague in? tel aviv doesn’t blend with beirut, damascus or amman. nor does it just segue into paris or san francisco (which have a way of segueing into eachother in a certain way). it’s kind of in it’s own category and doesn’t even blend really w/jerusalem. the only thing it “blends” with, is israel.

    unlike many other cities, one of tel aviv’s problems (and israel’s too) is there’s never been a time it wasn’t directly associated with the ethnic cleansing of palestine. if the occupation were to end i could imagine after a 50 year period people thinking of tel aviv and not mentally connecting it to the occupation.

    jerusalem isn’t like that because it has a rich history. it is not primarily associated with the gov of israel — at all, quite the contrary actually. one can think of jerusalem without thinking of israel, but that is not the case for tel aviv.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      August 1, 2018, 7:19 pm

      I’m sorry, but I can’t help laughing at the spectacle of criminals striving to “re-brand” themselves.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        August 1, 2018, 8:05 pm

        Hard to find a brandiron that can cover the Mark of Zorro.

  3. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    August 1, 2018, 5:42 pm

    @Annie
    Looking forward to Tel Aviv perhaps sueing the Israel Tourist Board for associating themelves with Jerusalem ?

    NB How Aryan/European all those actors/actresses look. Probably just a casting accident ?

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      August 1, 2018, 7:25 pm

      Sounds like a good Saturday Night Live sketch …

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        August 2, 2018, 10:48 am

        @JWalters

        The word “tacky” comes to mind. The physical appearance of the actors also further confirms that those whom they portray bear absolutely no relationship to the region’s indigenous inhabitants.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      August 2, 2018, 3:29 pm

      Ossinev / Misterioso,

      Of course the actor selection is dictated by Ashkenazi racism and a conscious exploitation by Zionists of Western racism! They are pimping for Western racists (= Ashkenazis, as they are not really expecting a lot of Goys) by displaying a fictional selection of Aryan stereotypes.

      But then the observation about “Palestinian” looks shows stereotyped expectations based on a certain ignorance of the extreme mixing and distribution of “types” in Palestine and all the Mediterranean (and the huge human mixing behind it.)

  4. annie
    annie
    August 1, 2018, 10:41 pm

    Ossinev, unreal!

  5. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    August 10, 2018, 8:44 pm

    No matter how much Philip talks up the effectiveness of BDS one cannot overlook the fact that it has proven to be a failure and the pursuit of it is not serving the Palestinian cause.
    Refer How much does BDS threaten Israel’s economy?

  6. oldgeezer
    oldgeezer
    August 10, 2018, 10:09 pm

    @mayhem

    It does not need to kill or even severley threaten Israel’s economy. That’s why it’s on a multitude of fronts many of which are not directly economic.

    The strategic implications are far beyond your pay grade but that is why Israel does get it, is worried, and is spending so much money to try to combat it.

    • Mayhem
      Mayhem
      August 11, 2018, 12:04 am

      @oldgeezer, if had bothered to go past your prejudices you would have read in the article:
      “The Israeli government is thus doing itself a disservice by paying so much attention to this movement, both through its own deeds and words, as well as through lobbying with other countries to enact anti-BDS legislation. It is only providing more fuel to a fire that is small to begin with.”

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        August 11, 2018, 8:57 am

        @mayhem

        I agree with that totally. I said a long time ago that it was a terrible strategy. One that would only backfire and increase support for bds.

        Clearly the GoI doesn’t think so and I am loving the own goal.

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