South African Democracy and Prospects for Israel/Palestine: The Role of Marketing Politics"


Date of upload to the Pace institutional repository, the Pace Digital Commons, was on January 11,2007.

Document Type



Very few researchers have examined how states and nonstate entities market not only their political culture and recreational activities to attract buyers but more fundamentally their policies and their identities in order to bolster nationalism and political legitimacy. Thus our research problem was threefold: 1) how do political players market their agendas in the Israel-Palestinian conflict; 2) given that political players marketed their strategies in order to bring about the end of apartheid in South Africa, and that analysts draw parallels between the South African and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, are the marketing strategies similar; and 3) do current "marketing" tactics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict foreshadow peace or conflict? As a methodological note, we consulted and used content-analysis of newspaper articles, accessed archives of South African, pro-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian activist campaigns, and we conducted open-ended interviews of involved activists and government officials. Results thus far indicate that most activists are learning from the South Aftican case and are carefully repackaging their strategies so as to promote peace and interdependence rather than encouraging divisions between religions, ethnicities, genders, etc. However, some activists market their agendas in a way that requires the marketing of the "Other" in a dehumanizing or deligitimizing way. Those particular activists have a strong pull, financially and politically, within the United States and/or draw the most media attention. As such while the prospects for peace "on the ground" and within transnational networks are strong, some in the United States and some members of the international community are actively contributing to the conflict because they have been captivated more by the conflict-based rather than intersubjective/peace-based marketing strategies. The implications are that activist groups with fewer resources or those that are less appealing to media sources must leverage funding and media in a different way in order to promote their marketing strategies. We propose that our theoretical framework might be useful in investigating the prospects for peace in other conflict zones.

Information about the Student Author

Class of 2006, Majors: Marketing/Political Science

Summary of Research Experience

This research experience with my Political Science Professor, Dr. Meghana Nayak, has been extraordinary. I honed by interview, research, and writing skills; I attended a conference in Washington, D.C.. I contacted influential people in the fields of academics, media, and government. Because of this opportunity, I have solidified my determination to pursue a career that includes and combines all three: academics, media and government. In addition, I have appreciatetd working with my mentor, Dr. Nayak. She very strongly feels that she has been involved in crucial research about the most underappreciated people in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: those who want and promote peace. She has been inspired and motivated to devote her life and work to promoting justice and dialogue and to breaking down us-them barriers....and she has inspired me to follow her example. I wish to thank Pace University's Presidential Grant Program -- and the Eugene Lang Foundation -- for this truly amazing experience.

Dissemination of Results

We have not yet disseminated results as we are continuing to edit and interview additional people. I will present the results at a Lubin School of Business Student Research Conference, and both Dr. Nayak and I are planning a presentation for the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences.

Faculty Mentor

Meghana Nayak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

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