Israel launches more bikini diplomacy

Forget about Bombs Over Baghdad. The latest shock-and-awe campaign might as well be titled Jugs Over Jerusalem. Back in June, Passport told you about how the Israeli consulate in New York wanted to improve the country’s image overseas, and particularly among young American men. So it partnered with the laddie magazine Maxim on a pictorial of women from the Israeli Defense ...

599285_070919_israel_05.jpg
599285_070919_israel_05.jpg

Forget about Bombs Over Baghdad. The latest shock-and-awe campaign might as well be titled Jugs Over Jerusalem. Back in June, Passport told you about how the Israeli consulate in New York wanted to improve the country's image overseas, and particularly among young American men. So it partnered with the laddie magazine Maxim on a pictorial of women from the Israeli Defense Forces, even going so far as to throw a launch party at a Manhattan nightclub.

"We suffer from a problem of perception," explains Aviv Shir-On, deputy director of the Israeli foreign ministry. "People outside Israel associate this place above all with the conflict. What we are trying to do with this campaign is to use a number of different media to show people there is a much greater range to Israel beyond merely the conflict."

Now the government is launching a $4 million promotional campaign featuring a series of Web-based videos showing bikini-clad models frolicking on Israeli beaches as drooling, foul-mouthed men look on. For a taste (WARNING: explicit language), check out the third video from the top here.

Forget about Bombs Over Baghdad. The latest shock-and-awe campaign might as well be titled Jugs Over Jerusalem. Back in June, Passport told you about how the Israeli consulate in New York wanted to improve the country’s image overseas, and particularly among young American men. So it partnered with the laddie magazine Maxim on a pictorial of women from the Israeli Defense Forces, even going so far as to throw a launch party at a Manhattan nightclub.

“We suffer from a problem of perception,” explains Aviv Shir-On, deputy director of the Israeli foreign ministry. “People outside Israel associate this place above all with the conflict. What we are trying to do with this campaign is to use a number of different media to show people there is a much greater range to Israel beyond merely the conflict.”

Now the government is launching a $4 million promotional campaign featuring a series of Web-based videos showing bikini-clad models frolicking on Israeli beaches as drooling, foul-mouthed men look on. For a taste (WARNING: explicit language), check out the third video from the top here.

The Israeli government apparently hopes this and other videos will go viral on the Web, and in the process break the image of the Holy Land as a sterile, uptight, and dangerous place. Shir-On glibly defends the videos on the basis of accuracy: “You only have to go to the beach in Tel Aviv in the summer to see how this is very much a reality of life in Israel.” That might be taking things a bit too far. But I can’t argue with the fact that the videos are mildly entertaining. Of course, they will only feed Israel’s negative image within the Arab world, where such forms of blasphemy are strictly condemned.

Or will they?

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