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Your Toronto 2014 Issue Navigator

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Is Selling Israel With Small Penis Jokes Bad Taste or Good Marketing?


Conventional wisdom tells us that linking anything to small penis size is never a good idea. “Size Doesn’t Matter,” a tongue-in-cheek promotion of Israeli tourism targeting young Canadians made by the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students, isn’t conventional.


The video, depicting a young couple seemingly chatting about oral sex and the small size of the guy’s equipment (or are they?), first surfaced on Vimeo, and is still alive and well on YouTube after disappearing from the former video site today. The associated Size Doesn’t Matter website is loaded with photos of models, artists, and concerts, as well as the more traditional tourist attractions. Menus list Israel’s achievements in science and technology, environmental protection, and civil rights—standard fare for a tourism site.
According to Rebecca Cherniak of the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students (CFJS), the purpose of the campaign is to reverse the low opinion of Israel on college campuses by encouraging students to be curious about the country. The Federation believes this curiosity will help counter the negative press that Israel has received over the years. “After seeing the video we hope students will visit sites such as Size Doesn’t Matter in order to learn more about the country, and come to their own conclusions about Israel’s actions and role in the Middle East.”
In the last few days, the video has been viewed over fifteen thousand times and attracted over three thousand visitors to the website; both have generated plenty of criticism. Neal Ungerleider, a New York–based journalist and blogger who specializes in Mid-East affairs, wrote on True/Slant that “it is hard to believe even a single viewer will show interest in visiting Israel or have a higher opinion of Israel because of the ad.” His remarks are typical.
“We knew the campaign would be risky,” says Cherniak, but the Federation’s goal was to create buzz on the ‘net and within social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter.
That, and this campaign is only the beginning.
Coordinated by Hillel (a Jewish student organization) and other federations including CFJS, Jewish university students are coordinating a Canada-wide campaign against the sixth annual Israeli Apartheid Week, which runs the first week of March. Size Doesn’t Matter is the first phase of CFJS’s marketing blitz, and will be followed by The Truth Campaign, which runs in early March, and an as-of-yet unrevealed third phase involving social media.
“Our next video,” says Cherniak, “will take the viewers from an office scene to a bedroom scene.” Provocativeness, presumably, ensues.

CORRECTION: FEBRUARY 23, 2010 This article originally said that the campaign against Israeli Apartheid Week, which CFJS is part of, was coordinated in part by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy; in fact, that is not the case.

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