Friday, September 11, 2009

Naomi Klein says The Tel Aviv Party Party Stops Here

If you missed Q this morning and Jian Ghomeshi's interview with Naomi Klein, you can catch the podcast here [look under Friday, Sept. 11, 2009). Klein has also written a piece for The Nation which explains why it is problematic that TIFF, Toronto, and Canadians are helping the Israeli propaganda campaign of re-branding Israel. I found her article posted on and have excerpted a section from her article, The Tel Aviv Party Party Stops Here, where she explains about the mission to soften Israel's death-dealing image:

"For more than a year, Israeli diplomats have been talking openly about their new strategy to counter growing global anger at Israel's defiance of international law. It's no longer enough, they argue, just to invoke Sderot every time someone raises Gaza. The task is also to change the subject to more pleasant topics: film, arts, gay rights-things that underline commonalities between Israel and places like Paris, New York and Toronto. After the Gaza attack, as the protests rose, this strategy went into high gear. "We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits," Arye Mekel, deputy director-general for cultural affairs for Israel's Foreign Ministry, told the New York Times. "This way, you show Israel's prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war." And hip, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, which has been celebrating its centennial with Israeli-sponsored "beach parties" in New York, Vienna and Copenhagen all summer long, is the best ambassador of all.

Toronto got an early taste of this new cultural mission. A year ago, Amir Gissin, Israeli consul-general in Toronto, explained that the "Brand Israel" campaign would include, according to a report in the Canadian Jewish News, "a major Israeli presence at next year's Toronto International Film Festival, with numerous Israeli, Hollywood and Canadian entertainment luminaries on hand." Gissin pledged, "I'm confident everything we plan to do will happen." Indeed it has."


Merche Pallarés said...

I've read quickly your last three posts. I'll come back with more time to hear/see the interview. It sounds very interesting.
So sad your Marina is going to disappear... Hugs, M.

Ari said...

The 66th Venice Film Festival came to an end on Saturday 12th September. Golden Lion for Best Film: Lebanon by Samuel Maoz.
They seemed to have success.

northshorewoman said...

MP, not all of our marina will totally disappear forever. It will, however, disappear in its current form. I will post more photos and my thoughts on our waterfront "development."

Ari, I just recently read a review about this film, and apparently like the film Bashir, it is also about an Israeli soldier's reminisces about going into Lebanon and committing the uglies of war, although I believe this one is about 1982 rather than 2006. I am not interested in the occupier's version of his horrors. This holds too much ground everywhere. When will the Palestinian films get this sort of acclaim and attention? I wonder.

So, I guess the Israeli PR campaign to pretty up its international image by sending out its cultural products is working.