Is this how America views Israel’s diverse makeup?

APRIL 12, 2010 – ISRAEL21c defines itself as, “a New Paradigm for Pro-Israel Communications… with a mission to focus media and public attention on the 21st century Israel that exists beyond the conflict. ISRAEL21c’s operations are focused on the development and dissemination of content that is used to advance the mission. The outcome of this process is increased support for Israel during difficult times and a greater appreciation of the role that Israel has in the lives of people the world over.”

The organisation’s board consists of members from the business sector, non-profit, as well as from AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. ISRAEL21c’s web site tells us:

“There’s so much more to 21st century Israel than the conflict that dominates media coverage. ISRAEL21c‘s goal is to strengthen the relationship between Americans and Israelis by creating, aggregating and distributing high-quality, nonpolitical information to the public. Through our Israelity blog, feature articles and the original Faces of Israel series of videos, ISRAEL21c‘s content is colorful, upbeat and eye-opening.

The reality of daily life in Israel isn’t only politics and violence: it is commerce and research; art and culture; music and dance; community and family. Through ISRAEL21c‘s original and aggregated content, we hope to convey this vibrancy to you.”

JewishinfoNews’ video service often downloads ISRAEL21c informative videos. One in particular comes to mind. Since first adding Step in Mind – Learning to walk with Cerebral Palsy to our service six months ago, the link continues to remain one of the all time favourites.

ISRAEL21c wrote:

“Israeli firm Step of Mind has developed a special shoe that artificially alters foot angles randomly. Abdul Karim, 11, of Nablus, has made amazing progress in the six months since he began using Step of Mind’s shoes, and he is now able to walk on his own and even to play soccer. Many prominent international bodies are interested in the treatment, which is aiming for wide commercial availability in about one year.”

So far so good.

One of ISRAEL21c’s major accomplishments is a series of You Tube videos called Faces of Israel, where, as we are told; “you’ll learn about the country’s incredibly diverse makeup, and creative, dynamic people. On Faces of Israel, you’ll meet everyone from professors, waiters, artists, fashion designers, CEOs, athletes and more. From Nahariya in the north to Eilat in the south and Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the middle, Israel is full of interesting people who are just waiting to introduce themselves to you.”

By last account we counted at least 185 videos featuring mostly young, vibrant Israelis telling us who they are and what they have accomplished in their life

Unfortunately, we question ISRAEL21c definition of the country’s diverse makeup. We always thought that the Arab Muslim and Christian population accounted for 20% of Israel’s total population. Not so, according to ISRAEL21c. On our last reckoning we counted only a possible two, perhaps three individuals of Arab extraction featured on Faces of Israel. In addition, ISRAEL21c seems to have forgotten that there are in excess of 108,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin living in Israel. We found no indication of their inclusion on this site. Why not?

Also, what a pro-Israel communications opportunity it would have been for Faces of Israel to show that Israel has also given citizenship to both the Asian and Darfur communities.

We clearly hope we are mistaken. But, all-in-all, ISRAEL21c’s idea of the country’s diverse makeup makes us wonder how soon it will be before Faces of Israel falls into the hands of those misfits who believe Israel is an apartheid state.

(Photo credit: The Jewish Agency for Israel)

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