Far too often, those of us involved in Hasbara find ourselves in opposition to self-styled "progressives" who endorse such values as mass murder of civilians, religious repression, suppression of women's rights, and intimidation of journalists-- as long as the perpetrators of those crimes are acting against Israel and can be excused as fighting "occupation". Yet last week in the San Francisco Bay Area, ground zero for this sort of doublethink, a progressive radio station aired an interview about how Israel is a world leader in green energy. The interview aired during peak listening hour (the afternoon drive time) on KKGN "Green Radio".
Jonathan Carey is the founder of Blue Star PR ("The Jewish Ink Tank"), a nonprofit based in San Francisco that turns out a variety of pro-Israel PR materials. He was interviewed about BlueStar's latest campaign: putting up posters in kiosks in downtown San Francisco promoting Israel's role in developing renewable and greener energy sources, helping to end our dependence not only on petroleum itself, but on the repressive and undemocratic regimes that control it. Jonathan also makes a very cogent point in the interview about how Saudi Arabia might be escaping well-deserved criticism for its treatment of women and minorities because Western countries are afraid to alienate those who control the oil spigots. (Of course, given the recent history of Saudi donations to American universities with their accompanying potential for political ramifications, one also can wonder how many of the anti-Israel organizations in this country receive some of those oil profits)
There are other groups also attempting to promote "Israel beyond the conflict" (a phrase formerly used by Israel21c.org, which also promotes Israeli achievements in science, technology and culture along with politics-now they just say "A Focus Beyond"). Is this approach effective? I don't know; I'll leave that to opinion pollsters and the like. We all know that this sort of PR isn't going to convince the hard-core anti-Israel contingent, for whom even the development by Israel of endless free green energy and a cure for cancer wouldn't get them to even admit the legitimacy of the Jewish state (And there's WAY too many of that sort around!). But for those whose worldview isn't grounded into excusing any type of behavior in the name of "struggling against occupation", this sort of information can help generate positive impressions of Israel-- which are in too short supply these days.
You can listen to the entire (6 minute) clip while viewing the posters here.