Friday, June 4, 2010


The behavioral similarities between Israel under the Likudniks and Malaysia under the Umnoputras are more than startling. In both cases, the problem seems to lie with an entrenched attitude of arrogance, conceit and compulsive denial concealing a pathological insecurity and deeply ingrained sense of victimhood. Here's what Swiss-born psychologist and philosopher Carlo Strenger has to say about the current Israeli government...

"Israel will have to decide: it cannot rebrand itself as a liberal, creative and progressive country without being one. Our business sector, our artists and academics are mostly progressive, liberal and creative. But their impact on how Israel is perceived will remain negligible as long as Israel’s politicians and emissaries keep harping on victimhood and survival and as long as its policies are repressive." ~ Carlo Strenger (Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University)

The most important positive result of the ‘Branding Israel’ project has been that during the last decades, a powerful new sub-brand of Israel has evolved: it is called Tel Aviv, it is associated with Israel’s culture, technology and joie de vivre: it is perceived as liberal in outlook, full of vitality, creativity and oriented toward the future. Hence, the study concludes, Israel must rebrand itself as creative, vital and progressive; an image that has positive resonance with the young global elites.

However, there is one major obstacle in the path to rebranding Israel. Our politicians don't seem to understand how the mechanism of rebranding works. They confuse the old concept of ‘hasbara’, which literally means ‘explanation’ with branding. Explaining and arguing has no impact whatsoever on how people experience a person or a brand. Our relationship to brands is like our relationship to human beings: it is primarily emotional.

If somebody explains to you that she is a nice person, but does so sternly and harshly, it is the tone of voice rather than the content of the message that determines the listener's emotional reaction. Moreover: if you explain that you are nice, and are then seen behaving violently, it is the behavior rather than the words that will determine the emotional reaction. We all know this: if an airline explains to you that it is friendly, but you are treated dismally by its employees, you will tell your friends that the airline is horrible, not that it is friendly. Ultimately perception of a brand hinges on actual behavior and organizational culture, not propaganda.

[Source:; kindly brought to my notice by Walter Smith]

Ehud Barak's "OneIsrael" is undoubtedly the big brother of Najib Razak's "1Malaysia"!

Also worth reading: Activists on the Ship 'Rachel Corrie' Challenge Israel's Unjust Gaza Blockade and Zionist Myths by Ira Chernus


semuanya OK kot said...

One of Israel's ulterior aims is to appropriate Palestinian water catchments. So the problem is essentially the same as in the restof the world: consumption. Israel has a high per-capita consumption of water.

Of course this has nothing to do with us. We can go on getting servants to wash out multiple cars, water our gardens and wash our clothes lavishly. Surely we are good people. Climate change is an myth cooked up by the evil West - isn't it? Please, tell us it isn't true.

Singam said...

The vibrant "Real Israel" culture evolving in Tel Aviv also has parallels in Malaysia with the emergence of a new corps of urban and urbane Malays who do not subscribe to the UMNO brand of politics.

Sadly, the overwhelming dominance of the MSM in rural areas is keeping heartland Malays cocooned. Hopefully the PR governments will facilitate the publication of a liberated State Newspaper that does not have to obtain KDN approval.

nehru said...

"If somebody explains to you that she is a nice person, but does so sternly and harshly, it is the tone of voice rather than the content of the message that determines the listener's reaction"

i teach kids mr.antares, so i understand how tiring at times it must be telling people with short attention span what they actually already know in the first place.

What to do what to

Anonymous said...

I think you should tell this to the opposition supporters.In fact,just browsed MT a couple of minutes ago.An article caught my eyes ( bn mp uttering a racial slur to a parent).

Now,after reading the comments about the issue ,I am disgusted at the behaviour of commenters.They are as racist as the Bn mp ,heck Worse!.Lack of compassion ,full of hatred towards a certain race and the most stupid comments ,just to show what type of mentality the commenters of MT .

Antares, whether you notice this or not,where are the right minded sincere Malaysian condemning this?

But this is Malaysia ,the land of bigots ,hypocrite and insincere in every aspect of life.

The opposition is no different than the government in power.But are you brave enough to admit that,Antares?

Antares said...

Anonymous @ 12:28PM - Your comment would be worth very much more if you chose not to hide behind anonymity, but I shall respond nevertheless. You said: "After reading the comments about the issue, I am disgusted at the behaviour of commenters. They are as racist as the Bn mp,heck Worse!" There's a huge difference between the racist rantings of a bunch of anonymous MT commenters and those of a public servant receiving an MP's salary. People tend to scribble all kinds of graffiti on toilet walls - but if you put them on TV on a talk show, they usually become more restrained and express themselves with greater finesse. This MP reportedly was rude, arrogant and called the petitioners "keling." You might hold that up as an example of someone expressing his honest feelings - but I think a large number of people would conclude that such a boor is unfit for public office - no matter what party he represents. Certanly, there are many Opposition supporters who are uncouth and certainly not the finest examples of humanity... but that doesn't justify your view that Pakatan Rakyat is no better than Umno/BN. First of all, PR is not in power yet, while BN has been in charge since 1957. Nobody expects PR to be flawless as a political entity - but we are counting on them to repeal all oppressive laws and flush out the crud from the system, particularly the PDRM, Judiciary and other enforcement agencies. After PR has done that, it won't really matter who manages the country - we shall be able to check the power of the executive and ensure that the nation will never again have to endure a PM like Mahathir.