Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The question isn’t, What do we want to know about people?, It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?’” When it comes to the state of Israel and its representatives, there is a lot they want to tell about themselves. From PR crises like multiple wars with Gaza, waves of stabbing attacks and never-ending global political tensions, I’ve seen firsthand over the last seven years how Israel utilizes social media as a tool for combatting international media bias. Yet in Israel and in the global Jewish community, there is fierce criticism of Israel’s so-called “PR failures.” I believe this criticism is unwarranted. Having been a critical observer of both the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces from the perspective of an outsider, I believe the state of Israel, and more specifically the IDF, have completely changed the game when it comes to nation branding and public relations.
A version of this article originally appeared in Plus61J, an Australian-Jewish publication.
I came out as gay almost twenty years ago, and as a greying man now in my late 60s, I never dreamed that I could be threatening to women. Women who know me know that I am not interested in them as objects of desire. I am happily and monogamously married to my husband, and I talk about him often in ways that portray us as an old married couple. As a member of an oppressed group, I am able to see the subtle abuses suffered by women as the result of male privilege. I do not identify with straight men, and for all of the decades in which I was closeted, I could not identify with their objectification of women as sexual objects. As a result, I have always assumed that young women would feel safe around me.
The first time I heard Cynthia Nixon was running for governor of New York, I was unsure what to think. Previously, I knew her only as an actress from Sex and the City and as the mother of one of my classmates. Sure, I’d heard about her activism, but taking on Andrew Cuomo? Seemed like a longshot.
The Forward recently published their second annual College Guide for Jewish Students. As the outgoing Student Activities Director at Harvard Hillel, I am honored that Harvard was tied for the #1 campus for Jewish life.