Organization sets up Google ad campaign to counter Israel boycott calls

Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine says in the first four days, the advertisement was shown 1,085,231 times.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT IN LONDON
July 16, 2009 21:22
2 minute read.
Organization sets up Google ad campaign to counter Israel boycott calls

durban II palestinian woman 248 88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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A movement set up to fight "boycott Israel" initiatives has launched an audacious advertising campaign on Google. Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP), which unites trade unions and nongovernmental organizations fighting the boycott of Israel, has initiated a series of keyword-based advertisements on the Internet search engine. Someone searching for terms such as "boycott Israel" will see a link to the TULIP Web site appear above the campaigns for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the Jewish state. The advertisement says: "Should we boycott Israel? Learn how you can help promote real peace in the Middle East." It has already resulted in a huge surge of traffic to the TULIP site, www.tuliponline.org. In just the first four days, the advertisement was shown 1,085,231 times, TULIP said. It appears when searching in Google for any of the following terms: Zionism; academic boycott; boycott Israel; BDS [boycott, divestment, sanctions]; Histadrut; PGFTU [Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions]; TUFI [Trade Union friends of Israel]; divestment; sanctions; Jewish Labor Committee; Labor Friends of Israel; and Palestine Solidarity Campaign. However, not all the search terms are active at all times. TULIP said it started the advertising offensive both to raise its profile and to challenge the boycotters. "Google's Adwords program can be incredibly effective in that way, what we've essentially done is add a doubting voice where previously none was heard," said Eric Lee from TULIP. "Someone searching for information on the boycott of Israeli goods would, until recently, only have found anti-Israel sites. Now they'll quickly find an alternative. Lee said he has used Google Adwords for several years to promote various human rights causes and campaigns in support of trade unions. "We have found it to be an incredibly effective, low-cost way to get one's message out. In the political arena, where the voices of those who support Hamas and Hizbullah are loud and drown out the voices of reason, it's important to find a way to be heard. This is one way." The organization said its target audiences were the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Readers in Israel will probably not see the ad because they are not searching from one of the target countries. TULIP was set up in April to "challenge the apologists for Hamas and Hizbullah in the labor movement" and to fight for "genuine peace, justice and reconciliation." It is led by trade union leaders from three continents - Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (US), and Michael Leahy, general secretary of Community (UK). The new organization said it would work together with Israeli and Palestinian trade unionists, and associated NGOs, to find ways to provide practical on-the-ground assistance, "rather than empty slogans," to fight the boycott calls.

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