Earlier this week the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Absorption Ministry pulled the plug on an arrogant, ill –conceived, disgusting and demeaning billboard campaign to bring the estimated 750,000 Israelis living in America home. The campaign was heavily criticized by American Jewish groups as well as American government officials in Washington. First off, I am in totally agreement that Israel needs to reach out to their expatriates to get them to return. However, insulting Americans and American Jews was not the way to do it.
The campaign using billboards in heavily Israeli neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Miami and New York as well as magazine advertisements and YouTube videos in Hebrew, implored Israelis to return to Israel before “aba becomes daddy” and “Chanukah becomes Christmas”. The arrogance of the Absorption Ministry to put billboards up in a foreign country America, telling Israelis to basically “keep away from American Jews and Americans because your children will assimilate”. Imagine the State Department putting up billboards in China, Mexico or Nigeria and telling the Americans there not to associate with the people of those countries. The YouTube video of Israeli grandparents rolling their eyes at the thought of Christmas was downright insulting to every American.
The campaign was lambasted by the ADL and other Jewish leaders and caught the attention of some members of Congress and was featured on CNN. The $650,000 campaign was the epitome of Israeli arrogance and chutzpah. The government of Israel quickly disassociated itself from it and blamed the absorption ministry. It is hard to believe that the Foreign Ministry had no knowledge of this campaign. More of the blame game.
The $650,000 could have been better spent on Israeli education, affordable housing for young Israeli families and newly released soldiers than on this fiasco. Why is everything the Israeli Foreign Ministry touches a PR nightmare? How incompetent are they? Having been the Director of Media at the Consulate in Los Angeles I will give no comment, suffice to say that when they are ready to call me to come back to work my agent will tell them “that they can’t afford me”.
Neither myself, or any of my friends after seeing these ads are packing our bags because of these ads so if there is an El Al jet waiting for us, it needs to keep its engines running a bit longer because we won’t be coming home for Christmas.