Josh Nass: PR maven for the Jewish community and beyond

Meet a born-and-bred New Yorker, whose first of five languages was Russian.

Dr. Henry Kissinger, Dr. Herb London and Nass (photo credit: ANDREA EDELMAN PHOTOGRAPHY)
Dr. Henry Kissinger, Dr. Herb London and Nass
(photo credit: ANDREA EDELMAN PHOTOGRAPHY)
EVER SINCE he was a young student, Josh Nass has always valued positive public relations for Zionist causes. PR is an important asset for both breaking into the news cycle and staying out of it. Nass believes that good publicity is of great benefit to Israel and the Jewish people, which is why he feels so strongly about using his skills to help shine a favorable light on the country and organizations that support it.
Nass, 28, is a born-and-bred New Yorker, whose first of five languages was Russian.
Charismatic and assertive, Nass says the lessons he has learned while advocating for Israel should be taught to every student, every Jewish organization, and every Israeli company. He learned some techniques out of necessity; as a student at Brandeis University he realized that while many people were maligning Israel in the news, disappointingly few were defending it. He felt he had to do something, so he reached out to the news media and became an unofficial campus spokesperson for Israel, speaking out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and what had become a popular event at Brandeis, “Israel Apartheid Week.”
A tactic he has found effective is to bring supporters of Israel together so they can col- laborate, playing to each person’s strengths, to benefit the Jewish state. As a college student, Nass was able to get Sheldon Adelson to support a pro-Israel project he was working on. Additionally, he believes Israel supporters should be contributing funds to help train students to combat anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment, both in person and in the media. “There’s a certain level of media savvy that college students today have, and that fluency should be used to help advance pro-Israel interests on campus,” says Nass.
Social media is another area in which he believes college students have an edge.
“They are not only comfortable, but they are adept,” he notes. What some may not know is that social media is an important medium of PR; half of public relations is getting the word out and making people aware.
“Students need to know they can use digital media to put Israel in a good light and right the many wrongs being done in the media,” Nass says. “The average college student has hundreds of ‘friends’ on social media. Moreover, when there is clear, intellectual dishonesty about Israel taking place inside or outside of the classroom – take to Facebook and Twitter: spread the word. Israel’s detractors on campus should know that we are putting them on notice; if they do engage in intellectual dishonesty, their misconduct will be brought to light,” he continues.
Sadly, many of Israel’s harshest critics place their intellectual dishonesty on display not only in social media but in academia.
In 2014, the American Studies Association passed a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions – and even the professors who teach there. In Nass’s view, this motion harkened back to discriminatory tactics in Nazi Germany; and he felt compelled to speak out. Along with former ambassador Michael Oren, Nass was granted a national television interview on the subject.
“That was not at all a function of my depth of knowledge on the issues, but instead my willingness to pitch myself from the comfort of my college dormitory on an issue that directly affected me as a student on campus,” Nass says.
Brandeis was the first school to denounce the ASA’s decision and even severed ties with the group. Emboldened by his school’s strong stance, Nass called on all universities not only to condemn the ASA decision, but to terminate every instructor who voted for the bigoted measure. Nass remains uncompromising in his support of Israel.
By the time he graduated from Brandeis, Nass had appeared on multiple television media networks 39 times, including networks such as Fox News and MSNBC. He notes that he did not have a promoter working with him; he made the calls himself and he did all the legwork to secure these appearances, ultimately appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” and Megyn Kelly’s primetime show.
Nass with billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson / Josh Nass Nass with billionaire philanthropist Sheldon Adelson / Josh Nass
NASS BELIEVES he has an enduring responsibility to be true to the people he hires.
He hires staff who share in his passion for Israel and the Jewish people. “Everyone who works for me is on the same page as I am,” he says. “They are as passionate as I am when they talk to a producer of a show or an editor of a newspaper or magazine when pitching a pro-Israel client.”
One critical mistake that pro-Israel organizations sometimes make, Nass points out, is the tendency to cut back on public relations when funds are tight. “This is problematic, since it is at a low point or during a crisis when it is the most important to invest in PR,” he says.
Unfortunately, from a PR standpoint, according to Nass, Israel’s enemies have done a great job creating and spreading anti-Israel narratives. “PR is about telling a story, and unfortunately Israel has not done as good a job as it could in putting forth its version.
The Israeli government has been doing better over the years, but it has taken too long and Israel’s image has suffered for it,” Nass believes.
Israel, in his opinion, also lacks the advantage of a world-class news service. Perhaps a bit grudgingly, Nass suggests that Israel’s supporters look to Al Jazeera with a bit of envy, considering how effectively it serves as a positive propaganda tool for the Arab world.
“A businessman can go into a hotel room in almost any city in Europe and turn on Al Jazeera, and not even realize he is watching a network with a bias, because it is so well concealed,” says Nass. “Many of their shows are well-produced, they have studios all over the world and the viewer often is unaware he or she is being told an anti-Israel narrative.”
“The pro-Israel and Jewish side has i24,” he continued, “which is broadcast in the US and some countries in Europe, but its budget is much less than Al Jazeera’s, and it does not yet compare in its production value and reach.”
Israel supporters do not always need a large budget to get their point across, as Nass himself proved when he stood up for Israel as a college student. They need drive and conviction; two things Nass knows they already have. “They just need to display it,” he says.
“Too often on the news, we see a panel or a point/counterpoint featuring an articulate Palestinian academic debating a monotone, unsympathetic Israeli official,” Nass says.
“As a result, for many viewers the Palestinian side wins the day.”
To combat this, Nass implores non-governmental Israel supporters to speak out.
Viewers will believe the truth about Israel more when it comes from a seemingly impartial surrogate. Of course, not everyone has the capability to book him- or herself on television. This is where an adept PR firm comes in.
“PR for Israel is, very often, just as much about the country as it is about the speaker,” says Nass. “Israel is an incredible nation with incredible accomplishments. Private-sector individuals should be proud to talk about Israel and to set the record straight.”
High-profile criminal defense attorney and pro-Israel advocate, Ben Brafman, had this to say about Nass: “Although Josh is relatively new on the PR scene, he is rapidly becoming a household name. He is aggressive and knowledgeable. I have every reason to believe he will become a powerhouse in the industry.
Nass acknowledges that many pro-Israel speakers and events are already held in the Jewish community, but he cautions that these events “preach to the choir” and do little to stem the Palestinian narrative prevalent on mainstream liberal-leaning media.
The skewed, one-sided storylines repeated again and again through the press have succeeded in isolating Israel.
“Correcting the view of Israel held by the general public is a matter of survival,” Nass says. This all comes down to good PR. Israeli and Jewish organizations must deepen their ties with influencers who can ably state their causes to the general public. “This is a PR fight, and, in order for us to win, the Jewish community needs a greater appreciation for what good PR can bring – and invest in it as they would for staff and resources.”
Members of the press have learned to rely on Nass’s firm to proffer clients who can speak knowledgeably and eloquently in defense of Israel or the Jewish community. According to Nass, he and his staff will some- times receive an email from a producer late at night after an Israel-related story breaks, asking if he has a client who can appear on camera the next morning.
According to a front-page story in The New York Times from March 2017, Nass brokered a meeting between Jason Greenblatt, who was the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer and now is a special representative for international negotiations at the White House, and Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia. With Nass’s help, Rabbi Lazar and Greenblatt had the opportunity to speak in 2016 about Russian Jews, antisemitism, and Russian Jews in Israel.
AS REPORTED by the New York Post, connections in high places were also on display in January, when he took part in an exclusive reception with under 30 guests for Henry Kissinger that his client moderated.
He has represented pro-Israel clients and interests over time, including the Zionist Organization of America, American Friends of Likud, and the London Center for Policy Research, whose chairman, Herb London, is the author of “The BDS War Against Israel.”
According to London, “Josh is a wonderful young man; he has extraordinary verve.
I have enormous respect for him. He is well-connected, understands networking, and for such a young man has a terrific work ethic and understands the client’s needs. He has done amazing work for me.”
His firm has a diverse roster of clients, which covers health care, financial services, media, real estate, nonprofits, and also manages campaigns for crisis and reputation management on behalf of its clients. Above all, though, Nass feels it is of utmost importance to represent his own community. “Our Jewish community is filled with so many wonderful people – humanitarians, innovators, leaders in every field – and for some reason they do not get the respect they deserve,” Nass explained. He believes that too few people know about Israeli innovation in technology, medicine, and the arts.
From the Kushner family-owned Observer Media and the former president of Brandeis University, Frederick M. Lawrence, to the leading health-care magnate and ultra-Orthodox philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz, Nass has built a reputation as someone who cares deeply about his clients and who will go the extra mile for them.
Nass advocating for Israel while he was a student at Brandeis on the Fox News Channel’s ‘Kelly File’ with Megyn Kelly / Courtesy of Josh Nass Nass advocating for Israel while he was a student at Brandeis on the Fox News Channel’s ‘Kelly File’ with Megyn Kelly / Courtesy of Josh Nass
He graduated from Brandeis University magna cum laude and holds a JD degree from Brooklyn Law School, where he finished in only two years while building his business. He says his college experience helped him get to where he is today.
At Brandeis he became an activist, getting himself on television news and in print media for his views on Israel and Jewish issues. Not only did he educate others, but he also spoke out against those who publicly chastised Israel. His campus activities were more than enough to inspire Lawrence, the then-president of Brandeis, to become one of his first clients. Asked about Nass, Lawrence says, “Josh is one of those rare individuals whose determination and intelligence are informed by an uncanny intuition and understanding of the time in which we live.”
Nass “is at the cutting edge of our fast-changing media landscape. I trust his judgment because I know it comes from a rare combination of insight, wisdom, loyalty, and decency,” adds Lawrence.
For his part, Nass observes that “too few major Jewish organizations see PR as a necessity; and it shows.”
“For less than the cost of a full-page ad in The New York Times, you can engage a PR firm for one year,” Nass points out. “It is about credibility, and people are natural skeptics – we discount paid information. We do, however, sit up and take notice when an independent expert speaks.”
“Third-party validation is what PR delivers, and it reinforces precisely the credibility that Jewish organizations require to shape their own narrative, fulfill their mission, and propel themselves forward,” he adds.
Jeremy Frankel is a frequent contributor to The Daily Wire, NOQ Report and the Resurgent