Jewish is bad for P.R.


The liberal blogosphere (J Street, Phillip Weiss, etc.) is steaming mad over an internal manual put together by The Israel Project that suggests accusing those who advocate removing Jewish settlements of promoting "’a kind of ethnic cleansing to move all Jews’ from the West Bank."

But perhaps what’s most interesting about the manual, a full copy of which has been posted by Newsweek, is that it actually seems to be in direct conflict with the Netanyahu government’s increasing emphasis on securing recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Here’s what the manual, put together by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, has to say on the general topic:

Don’t talk about religion.  Americans who see the bible as their sourcebook on foreign affairs are already supporters of Israel. Religious fundamentalists are Israel’s “Amen Choir” and they make up approximately one-fourth of the American public and Israel’s strongest friends in the world. However, some of those who are most likely to believe that Israel is a religious state are most hostile towards Israel (“they’re just as extreme as those religious Arab countries they criticize”).  Unfortunately, virtually any discussion of religion will only reinforce this perception.

Therefore, even the mention of the word “Jew” is many Israel contexts is going to elicit a negative reaction—and the defense of Israel as a “Jewish State” or “Zionist State” will be received quite poorly.  This may be hard for the Jewish community to accept but this is how most Americans and Europeans feel. 

The exceptions are amongst the Orthodox Jewish and Evangelical Christian communities. The fact is that Evangelical Christians are more supportive of Israel and Israeli policy than almost any other subgroup in America—and sometimes even more supportive than liberal Jews.  The primary reason for this is that their religion tells them to do so.  You can speak about God to these groups (approximately one fourth of America) but do not extend your comments about religion beyond that.

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