Tag Archives: U.N. Racism Conference

Know how to deliver your message

You might have the truest message and the most noble cause in the world. But if you don’t present it in an acceptable way to the rest of the world then nobody is going to accept what you are talking about. Worst still, it will most likely negatively affect the cause you are trying to help. You always have to appeal to your audience regardless of the circumstance.

I see this often in Arab-Israeli debates. There is no doubt that we Palestinians have had tremendous injustice bestowed upon us, and we’ve been constantly wronged for the past 60+ years. Yet, Israelis know how to appeal to external/western audiences. There is no magic there, no great conspiracy. Just basic carefully examined messages.

Always know your audience. People in the USA have different mentalities than those in Britain, or France, or Turkey, or Palestine, or Pakistan ..etc. So naturally, what might be a sound argument in one place could be totally useless somewhere else. In Arab-Israeli debates many people immediately jump to issues from the time of the British mandate or 1948. Why ??!! I honestly think this is a bad dialog course. There are far more contemporary immediate problems that we can talk about (and try to resolve). Shouldn’t we try to solve the immediate problems first before tackling the big grand picture problems ?

When talking to people you have to befriend them and think like they do. People are more willing to engage in the viewpoint of somebody who is similar to them rather than somebody who is very different. Never come off too strong. Never be inflexible.

I am often asked questions about the situation in Palestine by Americans. I found it best to start out by telling them the simple most basic things. That is, we don’t like violence. Like them, we too like to live peaceful lives. We like to be able to live, work, visit family, and go about doing our business without hassle. That the vast most Palestinians are not hell-bent on the destruction of Israel but rather want to live normal peaceful lives. Then I tell them how ordinary people who haven’t done anything suffer. How we have more than 500 checkpoints in the West Bank that prevent us from moving around, how Israel imposes city-wide curfews, how people can not move around freely or conduct business freely, how the mobile telephone company struggled with Israel for more than a year just to import a single retransmission tower to meet the increase in demand. I tell them my personal story. People do respond when you tell them about your personal story.

Anyway, this came to mind after seeing what happened in the recent U.N. racism conference. I do not agree with the Iranian president, but he was trying to use Palestine as an excuse for whatever he wants and he was trying to present a case in which, as always, he came off as a nut-job to the west and just managed to hurt the true message of the Palestinian struggle with his idiocy.