Learning from the Anti Israel Marketing Machine

  • 13 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • September 5, 2022


  • A population 100 times our size with tons of oil money and the story of an ancient Palestinian population has brought the Anti-Israel PR to the next level, but the following strategies pushed it to the mainstream.
  • One of the strategies for the anti-Israel Marketing Machine is to take words and phrases out of context. There is not much you can do about that tactic other than just trying to be careful.
  • Many Anti-Israel advocates tend to be so convinced of their point of view. There is no apology, there is no “we are partially to blame.” It’s time for Zionists to learn a thing or two from the other side.
  • The haters managed to sprinkle Anti-Israel propaganda into many progressive causes for the past few decades. It’s time for us to sprinkle some of our own magic dust and start associating the Anti-Israel movement with violence and human sacrifice. All in the name of marketing.
  • The haters try very hard to get leaders to submit to their language. We should call out BDS leadership the same way.
  • The Anti-Israel Marketing Machine puts a lot of emphasis on university environments, specifically professors. The movement promotes Anti-Israel advocates and invests in educating new opponents of Israel.
  • They implement clear and consistent messages that anyone can repeat confidently.

Long Version:

Learning from the Palestinians

The Anti-Israel advocates are winning. There are quite a few physical and historical reasons why this is happening. The fact that Palestinian leadership cares more about marketing their cause than their own people is a huge advantage.

There is nothing more powerful than committing a human sacrifice and blaming it on the enemy. You can see how one dead Syrian kid changed the entire perspective on the war and refugee statutes in Syria, and the Palestinian leadership is perfectly happy to sacrifice kids to achieve great PR propaganda.

There is also the reality that Arab oil money and a population 100 times our size have something to do with how people view this small country. For example, France in the 70s turned from one of Israel’s best allies and biggest suppliers of weapons to one of Israel’s biggest critics within a few years. That’s simply because they perceived an alliance with Arab nations to be more beneficial. Nations don’t have friends, they have interests.

There are also many more Middle Eastern voters in France today, further skewing local opinion. Yet the Palestinians’ biggest marketing tool is the fact that the name and identity of the Palestinian people is associated with what the region was called before 1948, which gives a perception that they are some ancient ethnicity that has a lot more connection than the Jews. These physical and historical realities are only half the story of why Anti-Israel PR is so impactful.

There exists a strong and highly sophisticated PR movement outside of the Middle East, which I call the Anti-Israel Marketing Machine. I would like to explore the machine’s PR strategies more deeply, because by truly understanding what these critics are doing, we will be better able to defend ourselves effectively and even replicate a few of their best tactics.

Repetition of Loaded Keywords and Catchphrases 

In marketing, there is a rule of seven that says that you must repeat an idea at least seven times to lock it into your brain. When it comes to the Palestinian conflict, we have heard the same few keywords and catchphrases repeated so many times, that we don’t know any better. These words have integrated so deeply into our political conversations that even perfectly unapologetic Zionists unintentionally use these words just as much.

If you ever used the word Occupied Territories or Occupation, you have been using a language that was integrated into our lexicon from massive repetition. The name of the region is Judea and Samaria, or the Arabs would call it the West Bank if you are Arab. You can even call it disputed territories, but whether you believe that this region is occupied or not there is no reason to call it the occupied territories. But somehow, the power of repetition made the choice for most of us.

Other terms such as apartheid which is painful for me to see how the Anti-Israel Marketing Machine has hijacked an important part of African history. Terms such as Neo-Colonialism and imperialism were introduced to add sophistication with no backing to the propaganda.

The Anti-Israel Marketing Machine even invents completely made-up words such as “pinkwashing.” I guess instead of taking responsibility for Human Rights violations against the LGTBQIA+ community, it is so much easier to dismiss everything good that Israel does as some kind of marketing ploy.

All these terms, while once completely absurd, have been accepted as part of our language or at least as topics worth debating.

If you don’t believe me, because these labels have already been absorbed and accepted, let’s take a new topic that the Anti-Israel Marketing Machine is pulling off these days. That Jesus was a Palestinian. This is the new thing, I swear. Suddenly this 2000-year-old practicing rabbi has stopped being a Jew and officially become a Palestinian. Even if Jesus was around 500 years before the first Caliphate and 100 years before the Romans renamed Judah, Philistea Syria. Any sane person would think it’s a joke, but here it is.

Now, people like Linda Sarsour are tweeting it:


Even worse, US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar retweeted this:


And besides the Jewish community, no one was horrified by this.

But when you think, “hey, you know, these people are just posting, but they can’t turn it into a legitimate discussion”, I just read this post on Quora:


I really hope that in 10 years, when people see this post, they won’t go and say, “C’mon, what’s his problem? This is a legitimate discussion! Jesus could be Palestinian!”

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In all of these cases, the tactic is simple: Repeat these nonsensical phrases and words often enough, and people will start believing your ridiculous and false arguments.

The lesson here (besides no longer using these terms when discussing Israel) is that we should deploy a few catchphrases ourselves to sway people toward our cause. I summarize some of these phrases in the fundamental section.

Things Out of Context 

This one is so annoying because it makes people – especially public figures – have to watch everything they say. But the reality is that taking words out of context is an effective propaganda tool. It happens a lot when people have a technical discussion.

Let me offer an example: While I do feel that the majority of Arab villagers in Palestine made a conscious decision to leave, I also believe that Prime Minister David Ben Gurion authorized the Haganah to expel Arabs in the southern region of Haifa after the war. I say that because, again, I don’t believe in propaganda, and I want to put all my cards on the table. Now, if one day anyone should actually be interested in what I have to say, this phrase will most certainly be taken out of context. They will simply say: “Sharon, a writer in Israel Activists, admitted that Arabs were, in fact, expelled!” – and they would show this quote as proof.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all the time. Sometimes it is not even out of context. In any complicated topic, authority figures and thought leaders give thousands of opinions. And considering that conflict has lasted for more than seven7 decades, you should expect these individuals to change their minds several times. And considering that Jjews’ favorite pastime is debating, as the joke goes:Two2 Jews, three3 opinions, we like being devil’s advocates, taking on popular ideas and directing them.

I remember a few weeks back, some Zionists debating on Facebook if Israel is technically apartheid or not. These are a bunch of individuals that want to intellectualize a specific topic, but it is also a breeding ground for haters to take advantage and bring it out of context.

If you go to any anti-Israel event, you will see random quotes taken from Israelis and Zionists leaders, all designed to show us in a bad light. Don’t be fooled, most of these require us to understand the entire context or listen to the whole speech.

Build careers and emotionally award their biggest supporters


Unapologetic Conviction 

If you follow PR and marketing strategies for speakers, they say that in order to become a successful speaker or a guru (as they like to call it in some marketing circles), you don’t necessarily need to be an expert… but you need to create a perception of being an expert. It is a sad state of affairs that, too often, the real experts don’t speak and influence people much, but that’s where we are.

So how do you create a perception of expertise and leadership? You say your message loud enough, repeat it a lot, and always sound convinced of what you’re saying. The amazing thing about Anti-Israel advocates is that they are always so sure of themselves, and make no apologies for it. The reality is that the Anti-Israel advocates outside Palestine have nothing to lose, because they are not sitting and suffering with the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians on the ground (especially in overcrowded, underserved Gaza) also have nothing to lose, because many of them are already living under dire conditions.

As a result, the entire Anti-Israel faction is overly sure of themselves, taking on a delusional sense of superior morality. It is the Zionists that continuously doubt themselves, questioning the situation and hoping that we can find common ground. The reality is that when someone looks into your eyes and tells you again and again that the other side is wrong, you have no reason to disbelieve them. During my university years, I was determined to give pro-Palestinian activists the benefit of the doubt. During any debate, I took every word at face value and tried to debate them instead of calling them out on their shit. When it comes to conviction, Zionists could learn a thing or two from the haters.

Associating Their Movement with Everything Progressive 

No one has mastered the mere exposure effect like the Anti-Israel Marketing Machine.

This is the scariest and most dangerous tactic that has been implemented against Israel. For the past few decades, Anti-Israel advocates have managed to sprinkle a little bit of Palestine into so many progressive discussions.

I still remember 15 years ago participating in the anti-Iraq war protest, and the Palestinians at my university started flying flags everywhere. No one seemed to be bothered, and many people seemed to love it. We were protesting the war in Iraq, yet a completely unrelated anti-Israel rally was diluting our cause.

Today you see it everywhere: In the Dyke March, where they prohibited the display of the Star of David; in the Women’s March, where their leader claimed that you couldn’t be a feminist and a Zionist at the same time; within Black Lives Matter, where some of the movement’s leaders keep associating Israel with “genocide” and calling it an “apartheid state.” These days it feels like every progressive initiative gets saddled with Palestinian initiatives as if these were the only human rights issues in the world right now.

That trend started with just a few barely noticeable mentions at progressive events, and snowballed from there. To reverse this trend, we must understand the reality of the situation.

We must then call out those who seek to hijack other progressive causes by fixating on the unrelated Middle East debate. More than that, we need to push the undeniable truth of the matter: that the only progressive side in the Middle East is fighting for the Indigenous Jewish population in Israel.

Forcing Leadership into an Awkward Response 

One of the newest marketing techniques our friends on the Left have been implementing lately is getting leaders to admit or announce something that they don’t want and don’t agree with. They like to offer a yes or no, do or die question like, “Do you condone the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people?”.

For instance, members of an Anti-Israel group called IfNotNow confront politicians, professors, and even Holocaust survivors. The yes or no questions they use are very powerful because they try to force you out of the gray zone, and they make you look like Darth Vader if you outright deny their question. The ethnic cleansing question is the equivalent of a policymaker trying to create stricter regulatory policies for approving new cancer-treatment medications, then being asked if he is pro-cancer. Politicians are trying to tread carefully in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Completely dismissing a critic and calling him on his bullshit could sound like dismissing the suffering of the Palestinians – and no one wants to be known as the guy who appears to be pro-ethnic cleansing.

For the politicians who skew more toward the anti-Israel side, they want people to understand that they side with the haters. So while they try to go around the question, they quickly give up and accept the narrative. Sometimes they try to make it equal by taking the ethnic cleansing argument while also admitting that there are crimes against Israelis.

But the reality is, that once they accept such inflammatory language, it doesn’t matter what else they say. The hater has gotten what he wanted, which is a quote accepting his insane statement. Why is this strategy so powerful? Because it does two things: It either accuses politicians of not sympathizing with human rights concerns, or it demonstrates that mainstream politicians are slowly taking their side, and that it’s thus OK for others to come out of the shadows and embrace Anti-Israel propaganda.

We should start using this strategy for our side too. To do so, we shouldn’t use it against politicians or mainstream individuals, because that could easily backfire on us. Organizations like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) don’t care about inviting backlash, because they are not mainstream organizations and don’t seem to worry about hurting their own credibility, so they hit high-profile speakers without fear. Mainstream Jews on the other hand cannot afford to become more alienated. So as mainstream Jews/Zionists, we need to be more precise with our arguments. What could be effective is to start calling out BDS leaders and anti-Israel groups. For example: “You know BDS leader Omar Barghouti has clearly stated that he wants all of Palestine, from the river to the sea. Do you condone the genocide of the Jewish people?”

Investing in University Professors In the book Influence

Unfortunately, one of the groups that has a really solid grasp on the power dynamics of the professor-student relationship is the anti-Israel marketing machine. Based on research by ISGAP, an organization dedicated to researching and fighting Anti-Semitism, the nation of Qatar has about funneled about $5 billion to American universities, 3 billion of which was not accounted for.

Let me give you a hint: That money isn’t being used to educate people on the joys of shawarma. The growing number of politicians who see Israel in an unfavorable light is a direct extension of the universities that employ professors with questionable agendas who groom our future leaders. So what’s the lesson here? It’s that we must invest more in teachers, provide them with lectures and seminars that show the other side of the Middle East debate, and invite them to discuss. We can also introduce them to ISGAP, a wonderful organization that certifies teachers on the perils of anti-Semitism.


Investing in universities is the most powerful tactic, but it’s so much better when there is no opposing voice.

The research shows, that the silent person becomes part of the voice of the talker. And when so many people agree with a specific message, it creates a social validation, a Consensus, which creates even more certainty and confidence in the subject. That’s why intimidating your opponents to silence is so effective.

Unfortunately, everyday Jewish students across campus feel this intimidation. They are being attacked verbally and physically. Jews are simply afraid to defend Israel and get their voice heard.

Even a bigger problem, professors are afraid to mention even a small positive statement about Israel. Just last week, I talked to a math professor who won several awards in his university for being one of the best math teachers. Once they learned about his political stand, the reviews went from best to worst, and his student load, which was always at full capacity, shrank from 200 students to 50. His last comment to me was that it is slightly painful to see how his career is turning out, but he was not too worried because he is one foot out to retirement. He is worried about all the young professors that did not have the influence and reputation that he had, and if anything positive comes out of their mouths about Israel, they could lose their 10 years. Unfortunately, this is not just on campus.

During the war between Hamas and Israel last May (2021), Jews have experienced a 75% rise in Anti-Semitic attacks. Yet it was not just the increase of attacks that was the concern, it’s that many of the attackers felt so comfortable doing it in the open.

The North American mentality of Jews has always been that while Anti Semitism is prominent everywhere, we always were able to escape to our little concentrated Jewish towns and regions, as we amusingly call Jewish ghettos.

Here in the Montreal suburbs, we have a town called Cote-Saint-Luc. During the war a bunch of men drove around shouting Anti- Semitic slogans and harassing people in that town and others. This was a new experience for many of us. While the crimes during this period were only measured at a 70% increase, the intimidation and silencing effect was far more significant.

You would think that the bullies and intimidators would look bad in the eyes of the world, but unfortunately, the world has often shown that the bully, when not confronted, does win.

The Jewish institutions must take more measures in defending our students and professors. They are on the frontline and need our support. Who knows, maybe even start a Jewish Professor Union. We also must make people understand that backing down to our ghettos will not protect us from Anti- Semitism.

Confronting these issues heads on, and implementing all the strategies mentioned on this website will.

Consistent Message

What all of the actions above have in common is consistency. Repeat and repeat and repeat the same message, with confidence, at any opportunity you get, until people start believing.

This is how companies build brands and influence you to buy their product, even when you don’t really need it. This is how politicians get your vote, even if they are not really doing anything different.

And this is how the Anti-Israel Marketing Machine gets the world to believe its propaganda. It’s up to Zionists to step up to the challenge and find some consistency of our own.

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