ADVOCACY TIPS

Developed in partnership with Ariel Halevi of VAYOMAR.

 

Tip #1

The messenger is more important than the message. People need to like you before they're willing to listen to you.

 

Tip #2

Know your audience. You must determine who it is you're attempting to reach before determining your methods of doing so. If you're in a group, a person you're verbally speaking to may not be your audience; it can be everyone else who's listening.

 

Tip #3

Value the process. Rarely are you going to turn an Israel critic into a staunch Zionist overnight. Small steps will result in long-term gains.

 

Tip #4

Ask open-ended questions. It makes people own/evaluate their ignorance or beliefs, while showing you value what they have to say.

 

Tip #5

Respect your environment and the circumstances that come with it. If you know you only five minutes to talk to someone, do not try to explain the entire history of Israel.

 

Tip #6

Advocating ≠ arguing. This is not a zero-sum game. It is about showing how you and the person you're speaking to can win together.

 

Tip #7

Listen to understand, not just to rebut. Until you understand the concerns of the person you’re speaking with, you cannot address them. 

 

Tip #8

Seek common ground. The more mutual understanding you have with an individual, the more affinity they have towards you and the more they trust you. Find broad bases of truth and agreement before focusing on the important stuff; think of this as an inverted Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

 

Tip #9

Take a deep breath. In advocacy, we have a biological flight or fight response when we hear something that offends us, especially when it’s a conversation about something as existentially important as Israel.

 

Tip #10

Emotions carry more weight than logic. You need to reach their heart before you reach their head.

 

Tip #11

Separate the person from the issue. You are not Israel, they are not the Palestinians.

 

Tip #12

Avoid "beyond the conflict" arguments. No amount of Israeli technological innovation will nullify someone's perception of Israeli wrongdoing.

 

Tip #13

Always come from a place of amity, not enmity. Remember, if your goal is to create more conversations with a person, they need to want to talk to you again. Make it pleasant for them. 

 

Tip #14

Tell your narrative rather than tearing down someone else's.

 

Tip #15

Separate the Palestinian leaders from the Palestinian people. It is important to distinguish the two in order for someone to understand why the former is responsible for the situation of the latter.

 

Tip #16

Israel is not perfect and you don't need to defend every action she takes. Not all points are qualitatively equal and it's okay to make small concessions in a conversation in order to focus on agreement and build your relationship with the person.

 

Tip #17

It's okay to empathize with the Palestinian people. You can always have a conversation about who and what has contributed to their current situation, but denying their plight will make you look callous.

 

Tip #18

Building a positive identity around Israel is much more effective than attacking the Palestinians.

 

 

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