Public Relations and Nation Building: Influencing Israel, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Public Relations and Nation Building

Influencing Israel, 1st Edition

By Margalit Toledano, David McKie


200 pages

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All public relations emerges from particular environments, but the specific conditions of Israel offer an exceptional study of the accelerators and inhibitors of professional development in the history of a nation.

Documenting and analyzing the contribution of one profession to building one specific nation, this book tells the previously-untold story of Israeli public relations practitioners. It illustrates their often-unseen, often-unacknowledged and often-strategic shaping of the events, narratives and symbols of Israel over time and their promotion of Israel to the world. It links the profession’s genesis – including the role of the Diaspora and early Zionist activists – to today’s private and public sector professionals by identifying their roots in Israel’s cultural, economic, media, political, and social systems. It reveals how professional communicators and leaders nurtured and valued collectivism, high consensus, solidarity, and unity over democracy and free speech. It investigates such key underpinning concepts as Hasbara and criticizes non-democratic and sometimes unethical propaganda practices. It highlights unprecedented fundraising and lobbying campaigns that forged Israeli identity internally and internationally.

In situating Israeli ideas on democracy in the context of contemporary public relations theory, Public Relations and Nation Building seeks to point ways forward for that theory, for Israel and for the public relations of many other nations.


'In Public Relations and Nation Building, Toledano and McKie demonstrate that public relations is not a one-dimensional organizational activity. With clarity and persuasiveness, they connect public relations to principles of nation building, civil society, and functional society. Their book demonstrates how the profession, serving the citizens of and affected by a nation state in a time of international stress, can add value to society.'

Robert L. Heath, Professor Emeritus of Communication, the University of Houston, USA

'Wise, challenging, very well written and an important international contribution to research and discourse in public relations, McKie and Toledano’s Public Relations and Nation Building is critical analysis of a very high standard. Whatever your views on Israel and public relations, this book needs your consideration.'

Tom Watson, Professor of Public Relations, Bournemouth University, UK

'A unique historical account, drawing on oral testimony and archive sources, that positions public relations as central to national identity and nation building, Toledano and McKie’s insightful analysis also reflects on the emergence of public relations identities in a specific cultural context and the role such practitioners have played in shaping that context. The book goes beyond historical narrative to explore a number of central themes, among them power, propaganda, public diplomacy, professionalism and professionalization, but also raises fundamental questions regarding the conceptualization of public relations and the implications of this for wider scholarship within the field.'

Jacquie L’Etang, Professor of Public Relations and Applied Communication, Queen Margaret University, UK

"I think this is a terrific book that has collected unique stories that PR practitoners tell. I am asking for a second book that will also investigate the reception of these PR activities and how they work, sometimes perhaps above and beyond the call of duty."

Dr Boaz. Hagin, Tel Aviv University

"Toledano and McKee provide a comprehensive analysis of the role of communication—print media, visual media, spokenmedia, symbols, stories, and more—that served to maintain a Jewish community, culture, and religion despite millennia of diaspora, and it deals with the uses of all these techniques in building the new nation of Israel."

Ray Hiebert, Public Relations Review

"Toledano and McKie make a significant contribution to the knowledge of public relations practices in other areas of the world beyond the United States."

Anat First, Neytana Academic College

Table of Contents

1. Explaining the Nation: Israel, Hasbara and Public Relations 2. Public Relations, History and Nation Building 3. Shaping Communication: Diaspora Life and the Jewish Public Sphere 4. Determining Identity: Zionist Leaders as Forerunners 5. Shaping Factors: The Political and Media Environment 6. Early Zionist Institutions and Communication Practitioners 7. Emissaries, Fundraising and Nation Building 8. Economics, Market Changes and Major Campaigns 9. Speaking on behalf of Government (1): Government Practitioners and Hasbara 10. Speaking on behalf of Government (2): Other Civil Servants and Military Spokespeople 11. The Emergence of Private Consultants 12. Conclusion: Representing Nations and Influencing Israel

About the Authors

Margalit Toledano is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management Communication at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She holds an accreditation in public relations (APR), is a Fellow of the PRSA and PRiNZ, and is former President of the Israeli Public Relations Association. Margalit is currently on the editorial board of Public Relations Review and Public Relations Inquiry.

David McKie is Professor in the Department of Management Communication at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. He has published or co-published four books (including the 2007 NCA prize winner Reconfiguring Public Relations), 22 book chapters, and 55 refereed journal articles. As CEO of RAM International Consulting, David works in leadership and strategic communication in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research

Current academic thinking about public relations (PR) and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged.

The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on topics such as:

  • PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation-building
  • PR's origins in the history of ideas
  • a Jungian approach to PR ethics and professionalism
  • global perspectives on PR professional practice;
  • PR as an everyday language for everyone
  • PR as emotional labour
  • PR as communication in conflicted societies, and
  • PR's relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox.

We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mindset that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate & Business History
HISTORY / Middle East / Israel
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Jewish Studies