A groundbreaking poll by top US Republican strategist Frank Luntz has revealed what young American Jews feel about Israel, and it’s not good…for Israel.
Luntz addressed a closed meeting, organised in Israel for 150 top US backers, and told the room some shocking home truths:
– The Ministry of Tourism’s attempt to market Israel as a cool destination (girls and bikinis) has failed.
– Jewish American students have an increasingly negative image of Israel:
-Just 42% believe Israel wants peace.
-Just 38% believe “Israel is civilized and Western”.
-Just 31% believe Israel is a democracy.
– No less than 21% believe the US should side with the Palestinians.
As Mondoweiss points out:
The new, or not so new, agenda put forward by Luntz and co: Israel’s supporters should say that they are in favour of a dialogue and peace-building through diplomacy, and accuse BDS supporters of obstructing dialogue, and spreading hate.
For Luntz to be the one admitting this strategy is failing, is significant. He is both it author, and its chief.
Back in 2009, Douglas Bloomfield and Newsweek released a secret hasbara handbook written for The Israel Project by the Luntz. The 116 page Global Language Dictionary was described by Richard Silverstein as “a veritable goldmine of arguments, strategy, tactics…anyone who wants to get inside the head of the Israel lobby must read this document.”
The document details the precise tactics used by Israeli spokespeople, lawmakers, and their allies to illicit support from Western audiences. In short, a playbook of how to say the stuff we like to hear, in order to manipulate us into supporting the illegal occupation and all that goes with it.
But times are changing. As new media and large scale social-media driven movements persists in unpicking the reality from the myth of Israel – from its inception of ethnic cleansing, to its present apartheid and brutality – it’s proving harder to keep the public in the dark. When people come face to face with the reality of Israel, most of them withdraw their support, and many of them become impassioned activists for change.
The widely publicised assaults on the Gaza strip in recent years have driven many former supporters of Israel to do just that. One prominent organisation gathering mass support is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an imperfect but nevertheless powerful group which works to raise awareness of the occupation with Jewish communities in the US and around the world. As Forward reports:
There are now 65 JVP chapters, up from 40 a year ago. Vilkomerson says JVP now has 9,000 dues-paying members, compared with 600 when the Forward last profiled the group in 2011. In the tax year that ended in June 2013, JVP had $1.1 million in donations. Vilkomerson said she expects this year’s total to top $2 million, almost all of it from individuals. The group has more than 204,000 Facebook followers, more than twice as many as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and about eight times as many as J Street.
These efforts are paying off.
It is also important for us to remember that not all Jewish people are Zionists, and not all Zionists are Jewish. Far from it. As the Jewish Socialists Group wrote in a statement recently:
Zionism is a political ideology which has always been contested within Jewish life since it emerged in 1897, and it is entirely legitimate for non-Jews as well as Jews to express opinions about it, whether positive or negative. Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews.
Finally, it feels like momentum is gaining in the quest to find a just peace in the Middle East. The winds of change are blowing, and not a moment too soon for the Palestinians who have suffered – almost alone – for so long.
Featured Image via Flickr Creative Commons
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?