Staying on Message, Whatever the Question

Elias Buchwald, a founder of Burson Marsteller, recently ran a four-day training session for 17 high-level Israeli spokespersons from government agencies. The session was organized by 5W Public Relations, the American Jewish Congress and the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "We want Americans to relate to Israel emotionally, not just impersonally," Buchwald said. "The point should be 'Israel has what you like' by using warm, evocative and colorful language." Reporter Gary Rosenblatt summarized Buchwald's advice as "keep it short, make it direct, and no matter what the question, know beforehand what message you want to get across and stick with it." The media consul at the Israeli consulate in New York, David Saranga, described Israel's PR problem as being that "Americans miss the human face of Israel, they perceive of us as militaristic and very religious but they miss the lens of culture [and] education".