Until relatively recently, the state of Israel was preoccupied with its military security and paid little attention to cultural politics. However, the emergence of other ‘battlegrounds’ has seen a shift to ‘soft power’ in an attempt to generate a more benevolent global image. This paper spotlights an international sporting event which ordinarily attracts very limited interest from the mainstream media. However, when held in Israel, it created much greater interest. The paper identifies the UEFA’s Men’s U-21 tournament, held in Israel in 2013, to assess how different groups responded to the event: celebratory by the host nation and its supporters, the Israeli Football Association and UEFA; critical amongst Palestinians and their supporters in the international community. The paper identifies how the Israeli state is using ‘hasbara’ in an attempt to arrest its deteriorating international image and shows how the concept is empirically operationalized (‘hasbara in action’).
Localized debates about who unauthorized migrants are and what they do, or do not, deserve unfold in a culturally specific register that is deeply charged with emotion and moral valuation. Structuring such debates are vernacular discursive frames that emerge from, and reflect, a common “local moral economy.” Taking Israel as case study, this article examines six elements of the country’s local moral economy – biopolitical logic, historical memory, political emotion, popularized religion, an ideology of “fruitful multiplication,” and hasbara (“public diplomacy”/propaganda) – and explores their impact on public debates about unauthorized and irregular forms of migration. Here, as elsewhere, conventionalized distinctions that frame much migration scholarship – e.g. “economic” vs. “political” migrants, “migrant workers” vs. “refugees,” even the terms “authorized” and “unauthorized” themselves – bear but limited salience. Migration researchers who hope to influence local policy debates must recognize the weight and influence of local moral economies, and the chasms that divide vernacular from conventionalized frames. Achieving this sort of nuanced understanding is, at root, an ethnographic challenge.
Pomson, Alex and Howard Deitcher. "Day School Israel Education in the Age of Birthright." Journal of Jewish Education 76,1 (2010): 52-73.
What are North American Jewish day schools doing when they engage in Israel education, what shapes their practices, and to what ends? In this article, we report on a multi-method study inspired by these questions. Our account is organized around an analytical model that helps distinguish between what we call the vehicles, intensifiers, and conditions of day school Israel education. Our discussion explores the possibility that when it comes to Israel education, schools have shifted from a paradigm of instruction to one of enculturation. This shift, we suggest, is indicative of a generalized anxiety about students’ commitments to Israel and about their capacity to advocate for Israel when they “come of age” at university.