Looking at the Israel-Hamas War Through an International PR Lens & A Lesson For Our Kids

December 14, 2023

In international public relations we work with people worldwide to share the stories of our clients. The teams are diverse — everyone comes from a different place and/or background.  

Story language (English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, etc) and distribution varies too.

We generally write our first drafts in English for the US market, and then once the messaging is approved, we thereafter translate the text into other languages with wording that enables the key messages to be received as intended by the client in the respective countries. The team member from the local market is responsible for making sure the text is respectful and includes local nuances. 

Everyone on the team brings their skill sets, perspectives, and experience to the table. In doing so, we learn from each other, and the net result is that much better. 

Though we may not all agree on every aspect, there is no room for prejudice, hatred, or close-mindedness, as these only stifle progress, excellence, and success.

APPLYING INTERNATIONAL-COOPERATION PR PRACTICES TO PARENTING

Professionals need to be confident in their skill sets and themselves to effectively contribute, and we should teach our children to have this same confidence, to begin, on a personal level — first teach them to be proud of themselves, their communities, and their talents. With this solid foundation, it’s now time to cast the net wider.

Perhaps at school or an afternoon activity your child has met another child who has a different background or religion or who looks different than your child. See this as an opportunity to teach love, encourage curiosity, and to celebrate diversity. In this case, differences are not better or worse, they are just differences, and diversity, assuming peaceful, makes the world so much more fun and wonderful. 

On to the practical — let’s look at how we can teach our kids to appreciate each other’s differences. As examples, maybe your child will be invited to attend a Friday night Shabbat dinner with a Jewish family, or Sunday afternoon lunch with a Christian family, or a Ramadan feast with a Muslim family. How exciting! Encourage them to attend, learn and respect.

Inspire your child to be the first to invite or remind them to reciprocate. Hosting gives your child the platform to share their culture, perspective, and family traditions with others.

Another approach could be attending a sports event, an arts festival, or an international fair.  Here you will likely have the pleasure of mingling with an international community showcasing their talents. 

Also, if you have friends from work, or your personal life, who come from a country other than where you are from, invite them to your home or for an outing.

All of these are great opportunities that do NOT require a passport for our kids to explore and broaden their thinking as well as adventure. 

We’ve talked about appreciating differences. Now, let’s focus on an important commonality.

No matter the background, what’s most important is to encourage our children to look for the sunshine in others and to only surround themselves with people who bring the sunshine. That’s the biggest common denominator we should all seek. 

When we are secure with who we are and are comfortable in our own skin, then we can walk into any group, with our head held high, confident in what we bring to the party, beam and attract the light in the room, and enjoy all the color and its splendor.  

WHEN DARKNESS APPEARS

The problem, as we all know, is that not everyone brings the sunshine. In fact, there are those who cast real darkness and evil. They teach hate and incite violence, as early as in the elementary schools. Click the image below to watch the chilling testimony of the lady running the schools in Gaza. Such an education leads to horrific tragedies and shattered lives, for all involved.

The most recent example: On October 7th, Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, brutally massacred more than 1200 and kidnapped 240+ Israeli civilians (from babies to seniors) and soldiers (#FreeTheHostages).  We’re talking unimaginable violent rape and gang rape of young girls, women and men, mutilation, burning to death of entire families alive, beheading and oven-baking babies, and the list goes on. Hamas has also fired thousands of rockets towards Israel since October 7th. One landed down the street from our home. It has been the worst horror movie, only it isn’t a movie, and Hamas’s barbarism continues.

Yes, I am Jewish, live in Israel and like everyone in this country, have kids who are serving or have/had been called up to the IDF to do their part in the fight against Hamas. It’s a terrible and heartbreaking situation that no one here wanted or wants.

This is not about politics and frankly, I’m not political. I stay out of all of that. This is about good vs evil. Hamas’s charter calls for the destruction of Israel and death for all the Jews, as well as anyone who doesn’t live by radical Sharia law. That means me, my family and everyone I know worldwide, including YOU. You see, this is personal, for all of us.  Click the image below to read the Hamas’s Charter.

Since 2007, when it won the election in Gaza, Hamas has also deliberately oppressed, murdered and put in harm’s way, Gazan civilians, for among other reasons, as a public relations strategy to generate international sympathy for the suffering Palestinians whom they do NOT care about, aside for how their plight can flame global anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment. The leadership considers their people collateral damage and has stated this themselves.  

You may have heard this before, but it’s true, Hamas uses its own people as human shields. Hamas’s terror tunnels and its weaponry, partially funded by the billions of dollars of international donations contributed over the years to improve civilian life in Gaza, are respectively built and stored underneath, next to and in schools, mosques, hospitals and civilian neighborhoods, even children’s beds and teddy bears. 

Hamas is also stealing and hoarding ample supplies of fuel, food and medicine contributed from abroad to help Gazan citizens. In addition, Hamas blocked the civilians in Northern Gaza from moving to the South out of harm’s way, even shot those trying to migrate and attacked the Israeli army as it set up  humanitarian corridors for safe passage and escorted civilians. There are multiple videos of the Israeli army protecting Gazan civilians as they made their way down south. Not surprising. Protecting civilian lives is part of Israeli army protocol. Does the IDF make mistakes on occasion, yes. But it’s not intentional and it does what it can to avoid it. Hamas purposely targets civilians.

What’s sad and frightening is how well the public relations strategy of Hamas’s evil has garnered widespread support and how worldwide, many, otherwise reasonably sane people, are pointing the finger at Israel rather than at Hamas, have very quickly forgotten about, or are denying, that the October 7th massacre occurred, are calling for the end of Israel and the genocide of Jews worldwide and violently acting on it, and are teaching their children to be antisemitic and/or Islamophobic. This is the exact opposite of how things should be if we want to live in a kinder and more respectful world. Where’s the sunshine?

We have an enormous responsibility as parents and teachers to set an open-minded and peaceful example. The big question: what are you teaching your kids? And what are our children’s teachers teaching them? Kindness and understanding or infliction of violence, death and destruction? 

No, we won’t always agree with each other and not everyone has to be best friends or even friends. But we must take a stand to ensure mutual respect and to understand the difference between a political battle and the quest to eradicate sheer evil. 

It is possible to be pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian and anti-Hamas. It’s called pro-humanity.

WHAT DO WE DO NEXT?

I invite you to join me in teaching our kids to take responsibility for their successes and hiccups (not to blame mishaps on others), to celebrate commonalities as well as diversity and to stand up when another student is being mistreated or at the very least call for help.  All children deserve to feel and be safe and to have the chance for a long, happy and healthy life.

Together, let’s raise confident and resilient adults so full of self-love and self-esteem that they will naturally become part of the solution and pass the philosophy of peace onto future generations.