There's an old joke about the US president (the era doesn't matter), Russian president and Israeli prime minister who are all sitting around talking shop.
The Russian says, "I have the hardest job as I am responsible for almost 200 million people, most of whom do not have enough food on their tables."
"That's nothing," says the American. "I have the hardest job leading a country of 300 million and the entire free world."
"You both have it easy," says the Israeli PM. "I'm the leader 7,000,000 presidents, all of whom know better than me!"
Today, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official likened Israel's public relations plight to that of Kazakhstan as a result of the fictional Borat. (You can read articles here and here.)
The official, who is responsible for the Brand Israel project, laments the false perception many have of Israelis.
The challenge of perception and public relations is finally coming to light within the higher echelons of Israeli government. I maintain, however, that almost all efforts are destined to fail unless certain basic truths are taken to heart. Here are three:
1. Speak with one voice.
2. Elect - and stand behind - a strong leader.
3. Recognize that not everyone needs to be convinced and "converted."