Israel’s Image Slipping,New Surveys Reveal


srael is still winning the public relations war against the Palestinians, but is losing ground as the violence continues and more Americans blame both parties, according to the yet-to-be-released findings of a major new effort to track American attitudes toward the Mideast conflict and bolster Israel’s image.

The most effective way to make Israel’s case is to emphasize its democratic values, alignment with the United States and commitment to peace. And it is counterproductive to verbally attack Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and his people because such rhetoric only reinforces the perception that Israel is hostile to the Palestinians and not interested in peace.

Those are key pieces of information from two new surveys at the core of the effort, one from a leading Democratic pollster focusing on American attitudes and the other from a top Republican researcher offering specific dos and don’ts for making Israel’s case.

Both surveys underscore Israel’s need to adjust its message to an American audience supportive of the Jewish state but increasingly tired of Mideast violence and solidly in favor of a two-state solution.