How can Israel change the way it's perceived - opinion

As someone who has worked for years in large corporations and organizations, building and positioning brands by enhancing their business activities.

 Flags are seen ahead of "The Negev Summit", hosted by Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt, in Sde Boker, Israel, March 27, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Flags are seen ahead of "The Negev Summit", hosted by Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt, in Sde Boker, Israel, March 27, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

In the age of the digital revolution, when social networks echo to us only the things we want to hear, can negative communication be influenced at all? Is it possible to influence the opinions of those who are convinced of their righteous position?

As someone who has worked for years in large corporations and organizations, building and positioning brands by enhancing their business activities, I believe that trying to confront and convince those who think negatively is a doomed approach.

Instead, it is vital to attempt to emphasize the positive story by trying to produce two parallel narratives – maximizing the positive, thus minimizing the negative – it sounds trivial, logical, and even super simple, but the reality is far more complex.

Israel also has two parallel lines, or should I say perspectives, in the eyes of the world – this is for better or worse our brand. As a proud Israeli, it is unnecessary for me to say what I think about the issue and which perspective I believe in, but there are those in the world who think differently. Quite a few of them.

Last week in Morocco, we at Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit that promotes Israeli innovation around the world, took Israel’s best story, the story of Israeli innovation, to new heights. By doing so we helped usher in a new era in the business relations between Morocco and Israel. We helped maximize Israel’s positive story.

A general view shows the ancient city of Fez, Morocco October 17, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/SHEREEN TALAAT)A general view shows the ancient city of Fez, Morocco October 17, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/SHEREEN TALAAT)

During the three-day Connect to Innovate event we held in Casablanca with our Moroccan partners – the elite of the local private and public sector – we established a new discourse based on innovation, creativity, joint business initiatives, co-creating value and tackling shared challenges together.

It would not have been possible without diplomacy and the renewal of official relations between the countries but the rest is up to people. People in both countries want to develop their economies, lead to action and create value by overcoming shared challenges together through finding out how each side can benefit from cooperation. We call it innovation diplomacy.

Alongside the extensive business activities that emerged from the conference, there was another impact: the media. There were hundreds of articles in the Moroccan, African, Arab, and international press that covered the conference and Israel in a positive way, telling the story of innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and cooperation. This was the narrative and the main framing around Start-Up Nation this week. For me this was no small achievement; they usually cover Israel very differently.

Does this mean that tomorrow we will not see negative communication about Israel? Probably, we will – this is our reality. But in the last week we managed to create a new tone and a new prism – it is a huge step in a long journey and it is one that boosts me full of optimism.

The new partners and the new opportunities introduced in this event are only the beginning, this is where the hard work of realizing the potential and maximizing the positive begins. For us at Start-Up Nation Central, the work in Morocco has just begun but we are up for the journey.

In the campaign building up toward the conference, we wrote “Innovation Knows No Boundaries.” This week, those words were transformed into facts.

The writer is director of Global Communication and Brand at Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit that promotes the Israeli innovation ecosystem around the world, and was previously head of media relations at Israel Aerospace Industries.