UPDATE: The video was originally hosted by Vimeo, which removed it after a complaint that it featured “explict sexual content.” Bad taste, for sure. But “explicit” content? It is instructive though, at least in a symbolic sense, that Vimeo finds such Israeli hasbara is video pornography. H/t Robin.
Dimi Reider has discovered one of the stranger of Israel’s tourism promotions. This one is sponsored by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) undoubtedly in close collaboration with the foreign ministry. The video is in indescribably bad taste, portraying an attractive couple in bed with the woman telling the man she can’t possibly “do it” because it’s “too small.” The dialogue is so lame that it simply must be quoted to be believed:
G: Don’t be mad…It’s just that it’s small…
G: I don’t know if I can go there.
B: I consider this a spot of worship. It may be small, but it’s brought the driest places to life. Baby, this is paradise. [camera pans to show map of Israel and tourist guidebooks covering boy's crotch].
G: OK, but if I go down there for you, you have to promise you’ll down south for me next winter.
I’m simply flabbergasted that Israel would use the promise of fellatio and cunnilingus to promote itself. This also puts into proper perspective the blandishments of Birthright Israel and its former premier trip vendor, Shlomo Momo, who hold out to trip participants the possibility of great Jewish sex and meeting potential Jewish mates on their trips.
There are just way too many strange, odd places to go with this evocative video. Do you notice the phallic outline of Israel in the video’s opening image? What does it say about the creator’s fixation on the symbolic size of Israel’s, er member? Maybe Israel is compensating for this sense of sexual inferiority with its “muscular” Occupation (h/t to Ali Gharib)?
The website devised to promote this tourism campaign portrays Israel as a hipster paradise full of models, beaches, bronzed bodies, and beautiful modern metropolises. If I caught it correctly, there’s an image of a dread-locked Idan Raichel thrown in for good measure. Yes sir, Israel is nothing but sun and fun. Not a hint of politics. Not even culture, art or music. And certainly not an Arab in sight. In fact, here are some factoids of which the hasbara machine wants you to be proud:
Did you KNOW?
* On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotechnology startup companies in the world
* Israel is a world leader in water conservation and reforestation
* Arab Israelis have served as elected representatives of the Knesset (Parliament) since Israel was founded
Israel is a welcoming and inclusive country
* In 1999, an Arab woman was named as “Miss Israel”
* Israeli Arabs serve on the Israeli Supreme Court
* Israel is at the forefront of promoting equality for LGBT communities, as well as promoting women’s rights
* In 1969 Golda Meir was elected as Israel’s Prime Minister – the third elected woman leader of any other country in the world
Speaking of Israel’s technological innovation, did you get a load of those Mossad killers talking into their wrists with that cool gear that communicated with their Austrian command center? Now that’s innovation! Not to mention the cool floppy hat worn by the Mossad babe who was stalking the victim. If that isn’t fashion sense, what is? And how ’bout targeted assassinations in general? What a neat innovation Israel has perfected and given as a gift to the Palestinians and the rest of the world.
How ’bout those claims about Israeli Arabs? Holy shit, Batman! There are Arab Israelis who’ve been elected to the Knesset! I bet you thought they were all dishwashers, daily laborers and maids. No kidding. Of course, this “fact” omits the real fact that Arab political parties are excluded from governing coalitions, and rarely are individual Arab Knesset members named government ministers and so have almost no political power.
And yes, Israel is an inclusive and welcoming country if you’re a Jew. If you’re not, not so much.
Regarding Arabs sitting on the Supreme Court, this neglects the fact that the daughter of Israel’s Arab justice was treated like an Arab terrorist by the Shin Bet when she attempted to leave Israel. Israel is at the forefront of gay rights…except when crazy haredim stab gay marchers in Gay Pride parades, when haredi rabbis denounce gays as evil Sodomites, and when Tel Aviv gay community centers are attacked by crazed gunmen. As for Golda, that’s very nice except that the percentage of women in the Knesset is miserably low and women hold almost no major cabinet portfolios.
Is this any way to promote a country? You bet it ain’t. But one thing I have to say–this is yet another ‘brilliant’ manipulation brought to you by those boys, Yvette and Danny, and their most excellent adventure at the Israeli foreign ministry. At the rate they’re going, there may not be much of an Israel left to promote before too long.
This advertising campaign is part of a joint Israel rebranding effort organized by the Israeli consulate in Canada and Canadian Jewish business leaders including the Asper family and Jason Reitman, who also chairs CIJA. An earlier effort at this type of rebranding included the Toronto Film Festival’s honoring Tel Aviv’s 100th birthday in an effusion of pro-Israel glitz and hasbara that Israeli film artists and Naomi Klein objected to strenuously.
Students at 20 Canadian universities will have the pleasure of dreaming about oral sex in Israel when this tourism campaign comes to a campus near them in the coming weeks. I bet they just can’t wait.