Repercussions felt in New York and Tel Aviv
If you live in New York and have good contacts with the Israeli Consulate, the American Israel Friendship League or Israel21c you may have already received your invite to tonight’s Women of the Israel Defense Forces by invitation only event at the Marquee club. Produced in Association with Maxim magazine this event is part of a campaign to alter Israel’s image amongst the male, 18-35 year old demographic and to encourage tourism to Israel, which wishes to be perceived as a fun place and not be defined by the Palestinian conflict.
But this event has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. Former Consul-General to New York and Labor MK Colette stated:
This pornographic campaign sponsored by the Foreign and Tourism Ministries is an outrage … Israel’s image has been tainted by sex-scandals involving high-ranking officials as it is. I wonder if the best way to encourage tourism is by advertising sex…
Avital has also approached Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik demanding an urgent session be called to discuss the matter. Knesset member Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of Meretz, agreed with Avital and stated: “It’s unfortunate that the Israeli consulate chose to emphasize Israel’s relevance with a portrait of a half-naked woman, instead of with one of women of substance and accomplishments.”
Now, while I am not opposed to Gal-On’s suggestion of a Maxim pictorial featuring her and Avital (so. hot.), I have additional objections. I am not offended by the intent behind this campaign. I know first-hand how much fun Israel actually is and just how beautiful its native sons and daughters are (both inside and out). But man… Maxim magazine as an organ of Israeli Hasbarah?? I know it’s ostensibly a magazine that celebrates the hallmarks of machismo, but really? It’s just plain stupid. The articles are pathetic, the pictorials are racy but man, if you want porn – BUY PORN. I see Maxim as Cosmo for men – a lifestyle magazine that encourages insecurity-inspired consumerism. Any time I read Maxim I feel like an inadequate lover and that my butt is big. Male psyches are fragile and Maxim feeds on that. Do we really want Israel to be inundated with the sort of moronic metrosexual frat boy tourists that read Maxim on a regular basis?
My God. Haven’t our people suffered enough?
Also, props to the New York Post for their clever title on the article on this story: Babes in Oy Land Scuffle. Hilarious. Hat tip to Yoni of Lonely Man of Cake who is too classy with all his dissing of Merlot to blog about something as pedestrian as this but was nonetheless kind enough to pass the story on to me.