Wag the Luntz
Leaked report on settlements PR sounds like Netanyahu’s language
“Judea and Samaria cannot be Judenrein,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said last week during a meeting with a visiting delegation of German diplomats, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to get across why he had no intention of touching Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Reuters, which broke the story on Thursday, added that its source claimed Netanyahu has been encouraging his confidants to use the language of ethnic cleansing to counter pressure, particularly from the Obama administration, to limit or contain settlement construction.
That same night, Newsweek (following, we should note, an op-ed in the New Jersey Jewish News) posted a leaked copy of a study prepared in April by pollster and message-man Frank Luntz for The Israel Project, a hawkish nonprofit with offices in Washington and Israel, in which Luntz reported that the question of settlements is “the single toughest” communications issue for Israel. What message tested best? Coincidentally enough, the same one that Netanyahu was making: “We cannot see why it is that peace requires that any Palestinian area would require a kind of ethnic cleansing to remove all Jews. We don’t accept it. Cleansing by either side against either side is unacceptable.”
The story launched a tempest in a teapot, with the left-leaning Jewish lobbying organization J Street accusing The Israel Project—whose entire raison d’etre is to “educate” journalists, and by extension, the public about the threats facing Israel—of, well, doing its job. But the more interesting question is whether Netanyahu is sub-contracting out his communications strategy to the group. Israel Project founder Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi says no. “There is nothing about Judenrein in our book,” she told Tablet. (Luntz did not return a call.) “Much of our book are things leaders already said that we found effective and important.” So: does the tail wag the dog, or is the dog just happy to hear what it wants to?
Chosen Words [Newsweek]
The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary [Newsweek]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.