Tackling the Arab world’s poor PR
|Monday, December 28,2009 19:33|
Too often in the Arab world, statements are issued that leave the skin coiling. Too often do Arab leaders speak of the “Zionist” enemy. When these comments are transmitted across the globe, it turns off many people that would have been sympathetic to the causes mentioned.
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the United States and former President George W. Bush “The Great Satan” at the United Nations a few years back, media were quick to jump all over the South American leader for his inflammatory comment, forgetting to report on the substance of his speech, which was to give a new path for developing the third world. It was a landmark speech, but in the end, all the world remembers was his outburst against President Bush.
In the Arab world, public relations with the West are not going well. A quick glance at Hamas’ statements reveal a continuous use of referring to Israel as the “Zionist” power. While this resonates in the Arab world, it does little to create sympathy in the West. By referring to Israel in this manner, many Americans are not only turned off by Hamas’ legitimate claims of oppression, they view the Islamic group as a violent, Islamic terror organization.
If the Arab world wants to truly change the manner in which they are viewed by the West, a change in rhetoric must be at hand. One of the easiest routes these organizations, Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and others throughout the region, must choose their language carefully. No longer can they continue their inflammatory comments in public if they are to win over the hearts and minds of the West.
The solution can be quick, simple and will immediately show results. If Arab groups want to discuss the problems of Israel, instead of calling the Jewish state names, leaders should be better equipped to discuss the substance of their argument in a calm and understanding tone. Their are allies in Israel that should be sought after.
For example, the next time a Hamas leader gets on CNN, or BBC, or Al Jazeera International and is speaking to a Western audience, detail in minute facts the horrors of occupation against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Do so without sliding into name calling. Nobody likes name callers. Show statistics and quote the horrific language of Israeli officials – trust me, there is plenty to go around. By refraining from all the Zionism talk, it will enable many viewers in the West to remain seated and listen. In the end, Arabs need the West to listen.
There are hearts and minds to be won across the globe, even as the West continues to fight against Islamic organizations. In Egypt, analysts worry that the Muslim Brotherhood, if they were to take power in the country, would never allow another election to take place, thus ending democracy. They also argue that the Brotherhood wants to establish an Islamic state across the world and is the founder of modern Islamic terrorism.
They are talking, but the Brotherhood remains quiet. And too often, its leaders refer to the problem of “Zionism” in the region. In the West, nobody cares. This is a turn off and won’t win over anyone. Instead, the Brotherhood should establish a policy where Zionism is left behind. Talk to the critics and put forward positions in a well-mannered calm nature. This can achieve more than most people in the Arab world may believe.