Israeli, Palestinian Advertisers Push 'Campaign for Peace'

Some 40 Israeli and Palestinian members of the media will meet in Jordan at the end of this week to try and find a way to promote the brand name of peace. They hope the meeting will lead to a "campaign for peace" that will be publicized locally and internationally.

Israeli members of the media will be cooperating with their Palestinian colleagues to create a "local and international campaign to promote the image of peace," said Oslo negoitator Ron Pundak, who initiated the campaign. The next step, he said, is to try and get more media publicity. This week's meeting is the group's second; the first took place about six months ago in Paris.

"We aren't focusing on political issues, and we aren't discussing borders between the countries," said Pundak, who also directs the Peres Center for Peace.

"We aim to produce a widespread campaign that will improve the image of the peace brand, which has been worn down over the past few years. Professionals in the media and advertising will attempt to define certain concepts, such as coexistence, in a way that will be acceptable to both sides."

Most of the people selected to take part in the project in Israel work primarily creating new brands and repositioning existing commercial brands using high-budget advertising campaigns.

Some of the top Israeli advertising agents and members of the media will be involved in the project, including Moshe Teomim, chairman and co-founder of the large advertising agency Gitam BBDO; Amos Tal Shir, an owner of the Publisis Arieli advertising agency, and Molly Helfman and Carmon Peled, creative directors from the company; Dror Sternshos, who was involved in the Geneva Accord peace plan; and Eric Bernstein, who was in charge of many well-known Israeli productions, such as the television shows Haburganim and Hahamishia Hakamerit.

How is this project different from other non-governmental peace plans, such as the Geneva Accord, spearheaded by Oslo architect Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, and the People's Voice initiative, sponsored by Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh?

"The people collected in Jordan do not represent any party or political movement," said Pundak.

"Ayalon and Nusseibeh, as well as the people behind the Geneva Accord, were trying to reach an agreement about the borders and resolve issues creating conflict between the two sides. We are going to try to lift the fear and prejudice that blocks them."