Untold News Founder Marcella Rosen Spotlights Israeli Inventions
Untold News and Tiny Dynamo, the former a non-profit organization/news website and the latter a book spotlighting Israeli inventions, are Marcella Rosen’s antidotes to a serious problem. Namely, that discussions of Israel are clouded by politics and propaganda. All too often, controversy over the latest development in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict obscures a deeper understanding of a country that is so much greater than the sum of its wars. Rosen, a dynamic and charismatic woman who helped to shatter the glass ceiling in the advertising industry, has made it her mission to highlight aspects of Israel that the media neglects: a fierce entrepreneurial spirit, tremendous innovation and numerous humanitarian contributions.
Few are aware that Israel is home to more inventions, patents and start-ups than all European countries combined. Untold News (over 400,000 fans on Facebook) and her best-selling book, Tiny Dynamo, explore this little-known reality, broadening the world’s understanding of Israel in the process. From anti-bacterial fabrics that save thousands of lives in hospitals every year, to innovative airport security procedures, to revolutionary breast cancer treatments, Rosen shines the light on Israeli innovation that speaks louder than any bombs or propaganda.
Here are some highlights of Flatiron Hot! News’ interview with Marcella Rosen.
Why did you start Untold News?
Having come out of the communications business, I knew how powerful the right communications could be. I saw that Israel was seen from political, military and often very religious perspectives. There was not enough focus on Israel’s incredible innovations, the fact that it helped 53 countries in need, the fact that so many wonderful things are going on there. Israel is a can-do society and it’s quite beautiful. No one hears any of that. It’s sort of like describing the U.S. by talking about the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” It’s one tiny piece. Israel is more than that.
How do you promote Israel?
MR: I focus on the positive; specifically Israeli innovation and humanitarian acts. I knew from business that you have to make your message relevant to people. Talking about the 22 Israelis who won Nobel prizes is abstract. Talking about someone who found a way of freezing breast tumors is of interest to anyone who’s had breast cancer in the family. By talking about the latter, you engage people’s emotions and interests much more. In our book, Tiny Dynamo-our aim was to impart information. We wanted to make it an easy read.
Have you held any events to promote your cause?
MR: Yes. For example, we had an Untold News contest for the best recent Israeli inventions at the Harmonie Club in New York. We talked to Israeli universities and even made it possible to submit if you had nothing to do with a university. We got 12 really good submissions and picked 3 contest winners. We had a jury of prominent Americans including Dr. Barry S. Coller, Chief Medical Officer at Rockefellar University, Morris Offit, CEO of Offit Capital, David Schizer, former Dean of Columbia Law School, and Tony Tether, director of DARPA . A man named Dan Peer won for inventing a “cancer bullet” that targets the chemo directly to the cancer cells without hurting or affecting other cells. The second was an artificial knee replacement that takes only two months to heal with the use of a metal alloy. The third was a more flexible and cheaper touch screen. We brought the winners to the U.S. and awarded each one $10,000. We had over 100 invited guests. We plan to make it an annual contest.
Who is your target audience?
MR: Americans. I know we need help all over the world, but the U.S. is key. It’s Israel’s major ally. My objective is stop the erosion of support for Israel. Support was much higher when we were the underdogs but it’s gradually decreasing. I believe half of Americans still support Israel vs. 12% who support Palestinians. But it is decreasing both because of the very effective campaign by Israel’s enemies and because each new generation knows less about Israel and war than the generation before. I want to do everything I can to convince the world that Israel benefits them, starting with educated Americans who have some influence. My prime target is educated Americans who are neither pro nor anti-Israel. My secondary target is people who care, to give them ammunition.
Why is Israel so innovative?
You have people from 80 different cultures and countries. You have a tradition of questioning. You have the Israeli army experience where a private can say to a general, “You know you’re going about taking that hill wrong,” and the general will listen. You have a can-do attitude and an attitude of questioning. All that bundled up is why Israel is so innovative. It’s amazing that even while Israel was busy fighting so many wars and absorbing immigrants (1.5 million), they were so productive.
FH: Would you describe your efforts as “activist?”
MR: Activism is the only way you have a shot of getting anywhere. People aren’t just going to come to you. We’re staying away from politics and the military. What I want to do is change attitudes on as broad a level as I can. I’d love to see a tag “invented in Israel.” When it comes Israel, most people fall in a great middle. That’s where I’m trying to make a dent.