Tel Aviv Municipality's stand at Europe's largest gay pride parade, set to take place in Berlin in June, won't include any Israeli
symbols or markers in an attempt to blur the connection between the city and the state – a problematic brand to market, especially these days.
Berlin Municipality invited Tel Aviv to take part in the main festival, which will be taking place ahead of the gay pride events. But the Israeli delegation decided to leave out any state symbols at the stand, as well as in any performances by Israeli artists taking part in the festival.
Thus, there will be no Israeli flags and the emphasis will be on Tel Aviv as a global city – pluralistic and liberal, which accepts members of the gay community no matter where they're from. Moreover, visitors to the festival will receive information about Tel Aviv which will include a map that highlights LGBT entertainment centers.
A source within the tourism industry told Ynet that "in the past it has been proven that the correct and smart way to 'export' Israel, especially these days, is through emphasizing brands it excels in, without using anything that symbolizes the state of Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli flag or Star of David can cause antagonism among many."
The Tourism Ministry understands this new reality and explains: "Unfortunately, this is the smart way to market Israeli brands abroad." It should be mentioned that the ministry promotes some Israeli sites and destinations without mentioning the word Israel.
For example: The city of Eilat is marketed as the 'Resort City on the Red Sea'. Israel itself was also 'rebranded' when Minister Stas Misezhnikov took office as 'the holy land with Jerusalem at its center. In addition, the ministry's budgets were doubled to NIS 500 million ($145 million), a sum that allows the ministry to lead with a unified publicity and marketing campaign.
The Tel Aviv delegation to Berlin is funded by the event's hosts. Israeli artists including singer Nika, the Afifonim band and DJs Yoav Arnon and Tammy Bibring will be performing on the main stage at the event. Over the last two years the Tel Aviv municipality has been promoting the city as a destination city for gay tourism.