Monday, November 29, 2004


Israeli TV Tackles War for Hearts and Minds

Americans are preoccupied with money, or so we are told: Hence, "The Apprentice." In Israel, where it is received wisdom that the country is misunderstood by the world, the preoccupation is with hasbarah or advocacy. Hence Hashagrir or "The Ambassador," a new reality show featuring 14 Israelis competing to a win a job spreading a pro-Israel message around the globe.

On Wednesday, the remaining contestants go to France in an attempt to persuade French people to visit Israel. Last week, the teams addressed a group of skeptical students at Cambridge, where one Israeli inexplicably announced "Let me make it clear that Israel has not taken anything from anyone." The audience snickered derisively and the woman was fired. At least they didn't throw things.

BONUS: Nachman Shai, he of the soothing voice, is one of the judges. During Gulf War I, Bush's Big Backdown, Shai was the one who told us when to enter and exit our sealed rooms. According to the Times, he's a "skilled practitioner of hasbara." I don't think I noticed.

[Related: Jew School]

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