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bootstrapping and extortion -- not the same

Bootstrapping: a self-sustaining process that proceeds without external help.


Extortion, outwresting, or exaction is a criminal offense which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of violence which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense. Exaction refers not only to extortion or the unlawful demanding and obtaining of something through force, but additionally, in its formal definition, means the infliction of something such as pain and suffering or making somebody endure something unpleasant.
...The term extortion is often used metaphorically to refer to usury or to price-gouging, though neither is legally considered extortion. It is also often used loosely to refer to everyday situations where one person feels indebted against their will, to another, in order to receive an essential service or avoid legal consequences.
It's one of those things... you'd know it if it happened to you. If you really needed help, and someone helped you, and then you felt like you owed them, and instead of saying to you no no, you don't owe me a thing because I wanted to help you, the person says or does things to confirm that you do, in fact, owe them.

And eventually, you knew they would come to extract payment from you. And you don't know what it might be because you have nothing to pay them with.

Or if, you just had to do things that you didn't want to do, or else it's curtains for you. Like the deli guy who has to saw up and dispose of the mob's dead bodies in Staten Island.

You know, in these mob movies, the mobsters can be very charming. They're businesspeople. I mean, you wouldn't necessarily know what's going on they could be talking to someone right in front of you, ordering a sandwich, and you might not even realize that a transaction is taking place, because it's not between equals and the weak person has no moves. So they have to just take it. And so the transaction happens very quietly and efficiently. It can be done in the open. That's how some people exercise power.


Israel has a big PR problem.

For the past two-and-a-half years, Aharoni has had the Herculean task of re-branding Israel. His goal: to change outsiders’ perception of Israel as a militaristic and conservative country into something closer to how Israelis see themselves – “largely sababa (cool).”

...Israel’s brand troubles grew from the gap between the high quality product that it offers and the low image it has, he said. “That gap not only carries an economic burden, but also weighs Israel down in its marketing efforts and in the effectiveness of its foreign policy.”

Putting up a photo of an Israeli tank confronting a Palestinian youth throwing a stone, Aharoni said that hasbara’s job is to convince people that the tank is the victim.

“Given enough time I can make a good argument that that is actually the case, but in today’s media environment, we don’t have the time. We have about three seconds to grasp a viewer’s attention and that, unfortunately, doesn’t allow enough time for presenting the facts. When we continue to try, it inevitably fails and that’s bad because it leaves the picture of the tank and the child in sight and harms the Israeli brand.”

Aharoni said that even if hasbara is successful at changing people’s minds about the conflict, it doesn’t help with tourism. “Political support doesn’t translate into consumer affinity. There is a disconnect between the emotional and the rational. In the modern age it is no less important to be attractive than it is to be in the right.”

Allrighty then. Thanks for clarifying.


According to Gal Lusky, Israeli Flying Aid has a dual mission: to provide aid, and to improve Israel's image.
Israel Flying Aid was created to (1) provide assistance to disaster struck regions in countries without diplomatic ties to Israel, Lusky explained. The non-governmental aid group aims to help victims of humanitarian disasters and (2) to improve Israel's image at the same time.

The organization sometimes flies under the Israeli flag and sometimes conceals its origins until immediately prior to leaving the area, Lusky said, depending on the country in question. “Wherever we go, even when we go below the radar, it's well known where we come from,” she added.

IFA activists have taken part in complex missions in areas such as Darfur, Indonesia and the Kashmir region of Pakistan. Even the United Nations and Red Cross had trouble providing aid in Kashmir after the latest earthquake in the area, Lusky noted, but IFA succeeded in reaching the region and assisting victims. “It was a very complicated mission, but it happened,” she said.After reaching a disaster-struck region, the group begins providing food and necessary supplies to victims.

...The volunteers often encounter hostility, Lusky said. “We meet people that are very surprised to discover we come from Israel, and [hear] some shocking stories, even from the children, about how the mullah describes us, or the mosque... it's sad. It's sad, but that's why we continue running.”

Lusky described her group's experiences in Indonesia to illustrate her point. In Indonesia Israeli volunteers posed as Europeans due to the presence of Al-Qaeda terrorists and Muslim fundamentalists in the area.

...On the final day of the mission, Lusky told the local children and adults who had frequented the mobile aid center that her group was actually from Israel.

Everyone went quiet. “It was embarrassing, because we had 120 adults cooking for us, 10,000 meals every day, and we had 220 orphans that came every day for post-trauma treatment... Everybody was silent,” she recalled.

Lusky then asked her hundreds of listeners if, knowing who had helped them, they would come to help Israeli civilians in case of a similar disaster in Israel. None of the 120 Indonesian adults present raised their hands, she said, but every single one of the 220 children said they would help Israel.

So everyone went all quiet because.... they felt guilty for accepting all those hot meals in their time of need?


There remain a few questions about how this operation actually works.

Gal told Diva International that they fly undercover on regular civilian flights and buy all their supplies on the ground, and that she has to travel around to raise money, and since IFA's work remains low-key, it's hard to get people to sign on to help.

Or do they "find themselves" on unmarked airplanes heading into enemy territory? You know civilians do that sort of thing all the time, right?

And do they arrive empty handed, like Gal told Diva International, or do they come in with their tents beds and electric generators, on cargo planes?

And does Gal really have trouble getting funding, or is Flying Aid in a position to line up entertainers and sponsor other projects?

Sometimes with not more than just a few hours notice, the volunteer members of Israel Flying Aid find themselves on unmarked airplanes heading out from Israel for disaster stricken nations. Many of these countries have no political relations with Israel. Some declare themselves as enemies.

Israel Flying Aid members sit cramped for hours on cargo planes, with their heads resting on food, water, medicine, tents, beds and emergency electric generators for those who would starve if not for their brave and humanitarian efforts.

I suppose Gal's surgeons would have trouble purchasing their medical supplies at the local village mart.

Israeli Flying Aid recently held a fundraiser in Herzliya Pituach, Israel to raise funds to support a medical clinic in one of Ethiopia poorest districts. Several of Israel's well known entertainers, including Berry Sacharof, Dudu Tasa, Ras Daniel and others, supported this effort by performing at the event.

Israel physicians Idit and Amit Dotan are the initiators of this medical program. Both have visited Ethiopia 5 times and volunteered for over a year in the Mother Teresa clinic for HIV/AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa as well as in a clinic in the south, dedicating their time and effort to help some of the poorest people in the country. The clinic, which is located in the South – west of the country in the Gorga district, was renovated by the doctors and equipped with some basic medical items which enable them to treat almost 100 patients a day. The project, though initially a private venture, now needs additional funds. The couple turned to Israeli Flying Aid. Israel Flying Aid has already helped send more medical items to the clinic and is sponsoring the fundraiser, in the hopes that those in attendance will show their support for the project.

...One can only wonder where the members of Israel Flying Aid would be if the people of Syria, Iran, Lebanon or Saudi Arabia were hit by an earthquake or other natural disaster. We would never know it. But the children of those nations would. And that is exactly what makes Israel a nation which shines her light upon the nations.


I guess the most important question is WHY are there so many inconsistencies?

After all, it's not as though Gal has to do everything herself. That news story carries a little tag at the bottom, which says:
The above news content was edited and SEO optimized in New York for the Internet by Leyden Communications.

Professionals. IFA benefits from the services of a professional NY marketing firm:
Leyden Communications Inc. was established in New York City by Joel Leyden in 1982, with PR and advertising offices at the World Trade Center. The public relations organization was responsible for providing a variety of international marketing, PR, media, branding and business development services for some of the world's largest commercial, governmental, political and non-profit organizations. In 1987, Joel Leyden relocated to Israel and established Leyden Communications (Israel).

...Joel Leyden's professional marketing performance and success has been documented by dozens of Israel's leading governmental and commercial Hi-Tech and security organizations. In addition to his Israel PR, journalism and Israel Internet marketing, SEO commercial life, Leyden has run the New York City marathon, has served in the IDF Combat Engineers, the IDF Spokesperson's Office, Israel Border Police (MAGAV), engages in several Jewish and Israel charities, is an outspoken father's and children's rights activist for equal access and shared parenting and is a loving, responsible dad of three children.

That's all great. Whatever. Knock yourself out.

But let's -- us, all of us -- quit pretending that IFA is some little bootstrapping outfit, shall we?