Israel enlists top international fashion bloggers for hasbara.
Ten leading international fashion bloggers were invited to Israel as part of the country's public diplomacy, or hasbara, efforts at winning hearts and minds in the international community. The project, funded by the hasbara group StandWithUs and implemented by Israeli students from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), aimed at generating positive writings about Israel that would reach the several million followers of the invited bloggers.
Amongst those invited was Laureen Uy, a fashion blogger from the Phillipines. Uy told the Israeli news outlet Ynet that “My family and I heard about Israel, the Holyland, and I always wanted to visit, especially Jerusalem. I hadn't heard about all the political issue before. Israel is fantastic, we were in Tel Aviv, we're coming from Jerusalem and I'll write about the places I visited. Even before I had heard good things about Tel Aviv, and it's exciting to meet local designers. I was impressed that Israelis are very trendy, but in Jerusalem the dress is of course more traditional.”
Sagi Carmon, an IDC student and amongst the visit organisers, noted that this was the first visit to Israel for the bloggers, none of whom knew much about the area. “Prior to the visit they filled out a questionnaire on what they knew about Israel”, Carmon told Ynet, “and we discovered they didn't know much. They only knew there is a diverse culture here.”
The bloggers were taken to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and were introduced to Tel Aviv night life. Meetings were also held with leading Israeli designers and the bloggers learned about Israel's fashion industry. “We wanted to expose Israel in a positive light, through creativity, entrepeneurship and fashion,” said trip organisers.
German fashion blogger Luisa Lion stated that “I don't deal so much with politics, so I didn't have an opinion. I have a YouTube channel on which I'll speak about Israel and explain that it's not dangerous here, it's interesting. I'll speak primarily about fashion.”