Branding As A Tool For Cultural Understanding

Today for the first time I actually read the Hamas charter, which you can find pretty easily online. It struck me that the writing was clear and logically consistent with their anti-Israel rhetoric and violence.

It struck me that most people have probably not actually read the document. If they did they would see that peace agreements are not in keeping with their brand.

A mistake we make when we think about things is to get our biases mixed up with our brains.

Personally I am Jewish, somewhat secular and embrace the Western "live and let live" worldview: "Who am I to judge?" "It's all good." All of these factors introduce bias.

At the same time I have enough cognitive independence to know that if an organization issues a brand promise and then lives up to it, they probably mean what they say.

The Western secular mind does not easily comprehend a culture so different as Hamas. But you can if you use the language of branding.

Their vision is a greater Palestine as part of a pan-Arab nation that lives according to Islamic law.

Their mission is to wage war against those who get in the way, and in particular to
purge the land of any semblance of a Jewish nation.

Zionism, as a brand is incompatible with Hamas. Zionism says that there is a democratic and independent state called Israel. It is a place where everyone may practice or not practice as they wish. It is a place of diversity and tolerance. And it is a place with a distinctly Jewish identity.

To respect all sides in a matter of disagreement one has to acknowledge the reality of each. The reality is that Zionism and Hamas are opposing brands. The charter if Hamas makes it so.

I unfortunately do not have the answer to the Middle East crisis. But I do have a clearer grasp of the dimensions of the problem. That, to me feels like progress.