During this lecture course we have discussed propaganda and persuasion . In today's lecture I intend to provide the first of two practical guides to running an active educational campaign both for the general public and within the community itself.
This lecture is an adaptation of an article entitled ORGANIZING A HASBARA CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANTISEMITISM - that was written in 1992 together with Gila Ansell Brauner in Hasbara Digest No. 6 and produced by The Joint Authority For Jewish Zionist Education.
Propaganda is directed, it is neither vague nor general. It is important to decide who is your target audience. This will enable you to define their interests, their perspectives and their concerns. Your target audience maybe:
Activists: Students, community activists, teachers, social workers, participants in youth organizations.
- Wider public and media.
- What is My Agenda?
- Goal and Message.
Propaganda has purpose. It seeks to influence, to direct and activate. Decide which educational message should be central to their campaign.
Starting the Campaign
The Steering Committee - for propaganda to be successful it needs to be organized.
Find a nucleus of people who are really motivated to work on the issue, preferably across the board at community level with the agreement of their organizations (as relevant).
Before you start working with them, ensure your mandate by taking the issue to the community decision making body. Once you are on the agenda, lobby the organizations involved and come to the meeting with written or other materials to back up your presentation.
At the first meeting of the Steering committee, ensure that everyone understands why they are there and the general concept of a campaign before proceeding to the printed agenda.
The first object is to set your target populations, which we outline here and describe in detail further along (see:outreach):
a. The General Public - institutions, special interest targets (ethnic and rights groups), people in the street;
b. The Media - press, radio, TV;
c. The Opinion Makers - friendship, rotary, interfaith, local and national political figures etc.;
Before you get tied down in the practicalities, brainstorm your overall approach and all your ideas from the bizarre to the obvious.
Ask participants to prepare an assessment of resources for the next meeting if time is short. You can use the following categories:
a. Educational materials
b. Human resources - voluntary and skilled manpower, classified according to skills;
c. Allies - include Jewish organizations, friendship organizations, ethnic and other interest groups, media circles;
d.Physical resources - facilities, equipment, professional services;
e. Finance - contributions sought from participant organizations, discount possibilities,
donations or ethnic media budgets.
8.Return to your ideas.
Initially, reassess them and create subcategorizes, then slot them into a progressive timetable which should correspond to the needs of the various target populations and organizations you hope will respond to your call (some of which are on the steering committee).
Define areas of responsibility between the organizations - leaving the media to the professionals.
Review the steering committee's timetable for its own meetings and decide whether your campaign (excluding run-up work) is going to last for a day, a week or a month (also dependent on budget).
Building an Infrastructure
9. Participating organization will require their own campaign committee, so the next stage is to approach them individually or in sub-categories (or return to them), with the proposed campaign outline. Bear in mind that student campuses are often a parallel, but separate, field of operation.
10. All participant organizations require a sub-timetable and tie-in meetings as well as general back-up and updating on what all the others are doing. This may slow down the run-up timetable, but it pays off.
11. At this point, review the structure media contacts.
The media will require calendars, background materials, up-dates, regular communiqués or bulletins, write-ups, etc., since you cannot expect ongoing live coverage or interviews all the time.
I The General Public
Many Jewish groups in the community are capable of organizing good programs for their non-Jewish counterparts: schools, clubs, libraries, and scouts.
Use: presentations with audio-visual, a film, music; competitions (painting, drama, essay); quizzes.
2.Special Interest Targets
These are organizations which can be approached at higher levels (see: Opinion Makers) and for whom programs can be organized at grass roots level.
Ethnic rights organizations could be approached within the coordinated framework for joint presentations, encounters, etc., similar to those described above. These should be preceded by informative activities for their leaders.
3.In the Street
Media-wise, the person-in-the-street is one of your prime target audiences, even if the educational impact is lower in proportion to the investment. This is also an exciting proposition for Jewish community groups who will learn and enjoy the experience. You will need to plan these events for well into the educational time frame, but prior to any major crowd event also targeted at the media.
Some ideas - all of which require investment, local permission etc.:
- street theater
- art and music in the streets or shopping mall
- billboard P.R.
- stickers and gimmicks
- PR stalls in shopping malls
- travel agency material
- sign-up campaigns
II The Media
1. The Press
Ideas which can be utilized are:
- syndicated specialist articles
- events calendars
- press conferences
- paying for PR!!
- regular press handouts on events
- syndicating personal stories (with photos)
- reporting (don't rely on it!)
The more unusual the material, the greater the impact: publicize or advertise in the press that you are seeking interviewees with interesting stories well ahead of time.
a.Articles and communiqués can be prepared ahead of time for syndication: use regular freelance journalists or specialists for the press with a large circulation which may be interested in a good piece of journalism on a topical or specialist issue.
b.Local Israeli correspondents and the Embassy press attache as well as community leaders can be most helpful in advising how to organize these or even more complicated operations - such as a symposium of local or national journalists which would be open to the general public and attract the other media, too.
You must be prepared for live reporting of any of your events, particularly by local radio stations, so make sure your activity, specially your first one, is well organized and worth their interest.
a. Many of the above press ideas can be adapted for use on radio, such as:
- interview programs on events or for opinion:
- sports and activity reports.
Television is the most popular - and the most expensive - medium, so it should be used efficiently. It is not worth wasting efforts on bring TV cameras to every activity, but keep the news desks up-to-date with everything you do so that they do turn up for the major events.
a. If you cannot pay for prime time you will need to adapt ideas in this section to provide something newsworthy or unusual for your national, local or cable station.
b. Use programs that already exist - you will need to find negotiators to help you as TV channels schedules far in advance.
- theater, music, history, etc.
- films (see "cinema" below);
- top quality documentary programs such as "Heritage", "Pillar of Fire" (shortened version in English in 7 parts).
"By the Waters of Babylone" ("Al Naharot Tevel"), a series about different Jewish communities produced by Israel
TV in cooperation with the WZO Hasbara Department.
Cinema showings of films of Jewish or Israeli, are a way of attracting not only a Jewish but also a general audience.
a. At all showings you should have "permanent" exhibition about Israel in the foyers - this can be used for other events as well.
b. Organize a Jewish Israeli film festival if you have the financial backing
c. At universities, films should be followed by panel discussions, with specialist speakers.
d. Resource Centers have lists of films and agents; they also have 16mm projects (only cinemas use 35mm), and these are better than video or "barco" video screens for large audiences because of the image quality and the darkened hall.
Preparation and direct contact with the mass media is a field mainly for specialists, but there remain many activities in which people of all ages and from all backgrounds can be the mainstay. The target audience will be non-Jewish schools, clubs, libraries, scouts, sports and women's organizations, Parent-Teacher Associations and so forth.
The task forces will come from Jewish counterpart organizations and the campaign can be coordinated to reach thousands of young people and adults in each town.
a. Young people could take a general presentation about Israel to their counterpart organization or a non-Jewish school for a curricular or extra-curricular program.
b. Adults could organize their own outreach programs, including through their unions, and each teacher from a Jewish school could visit one non-Jewish school to speak to its staff prior to the children's programs.
6. Street Events
Some require a large outlay - others require police permission and must comply with local bylaws. If money is the problem, maybe you can obtain backing from local groups.
a. All events can be accompanied by the releasing of 40 doves or 40 balloons with dove designs and prizes for the finders.
b. Serious events include demos and public speakers, accompanied by local figures.
c. Fun events include:
- * Jewish street theater;
* guest artists and artists in theaters or outside;
* multi-cultural street dancing.
d. PR can include:
- * billboards on major highways;
* slide ads in cinemas (cheap where available);
* badge sales, stickers; simulated stamps.
Press here for pro Israel posters
e. Shopping events:
- * PR stalls;
* street theater.
f. Information and content campaigning:
- * mall events with stands for the whole week to include distribution and sign-up campaigns using some of the above ideas and coordinated with shops and local radio.
- * journalists and people in the media generally;
* rabbis and lay leaders;
* political activists including those in local and national government;
* academics and scientists;
* Rotary, friendship and interfaith organizations;
* environmentalists and other interest groups;
* international institutions.
For some of these figures, it will be necessary to develop specialist contacts, while for others money, good planning, advertisement and effective operation will be needed.
a. Events could be organized for people who have participated at some stage in a specialist conference in Israel, via a professional or interest organization.
b. Open Day activities could precede demonstrations and act as a springboard for beginning a campaign to have resolutions passed in local councils and university campuses congratulating Israel on her 45th anniversary of Independence:
Open Day in the community for young politicals (different parties at different times!) followed by a symposium;
Open Day for Rotary and friendship organizations - maybe with a dinner and guest speaker to follow. Open Days should include a film.
Propaganda is about persuasion . Utilizing the methods provided today it will be possible for you to impact your potential audience.