Why Hollywood has abandoned Brand Israel

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Why Hollywood has abandoned Brand Israel

Post by Irn Bru on Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:29 am

Oscar nominees' refusal to be paid props for Brand Israel could reflect a desire to avoid a very polarised discussion.

As Israel moves ever more dangerously rightward - evidenced by the latest law legalising the state's expropriation of private Palestinian lands and the extremely conservative appointees to the High Court - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems, perhaps paradoxically, more obsessed than in the past with promoting Israel's positive image in the international arena.

Indeed, the current government has poured millions of dollars into its Brand Israel campaign. Just this past December, Haaretz reported that the tourism ministry "was granted its biggest marketing budget ever in the past year as it tried to change Israel's image as a travel destination and expand the range of tourism offerings."

Apparently, the government is hell bent on trying to convince the international community that the Jewish state is and remains the only democracy in the Middle East.

This illusion appears increasingly difficult to sustain as time passes and fewer international actors seem to be buying it.

Apropos actors - let's take a look at the latest reports from Hollywood. In the days before the 2017 Oscars award ceremony, a flurry of articles were published on how the Tourist Ministry attempted to lure 26 nominees to Israel with lavish tour packages estimated at about $55,000 each.

Government officials justified their actions by insisting on the importance of regaling celebrities with the "real Israel".

Clearly what is at stake here is the projection - and exorbitant chorographical production - of normality, where the celebrities are used as a vital prop in the Brand Israel campaign.

Leading media outlets, however, reported that not one of the two dozen stars had accepted the invitation. The often politically incorrect Jennifer Lawrence handed her package deal over to her parents, while Leonardo DiCaprio appears to have had enough of Israeli paparazzi, particularly given his experiences during his past visits with his then girlfriend, supermodel Bar Refaeli..


Interesting article by Catherine Rottenberg. Dr. Catherine Rottenberg is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics and the Chair of the Gender Studies Program, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.

Irn Bru
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