Bintel Blog

J Street and the Israel Project: A War of Words

By Nathan Guttman

The Israel Project and J Street are now officially at war.

The two groups have been trading barbs in Jewish media outlets in recent days over leaks from the Israel Project’s (TIP) “message guide” on what to say when talking about Israel.

Columnist Doug Bloomfield reported in the New Jersey Jewish News about the manual and provided some juicy excerpts that stirred immediate controversy. Among them was The Israel Project’s suggestion that its activists compare the demand for removal of all Jewish settlements from the West Bank to “ethnic cleansing.”

The best argument on this issue, states the TIP manual, is that since Israel provides its Arab citizens with full rights, the idea of removing Jewish settlers from Palestinian areas would be racist.

The 140-page guidebook is titled “2009 Global Language Dictionary” and was prepared by political strategist and pollster Frank Luntz. At the bottom of each page it carries a warning: “not for distribution or publication” but a full copy was obtained by the Forward.

Here are some ideas for effective advocating for Israel, according to TIP:

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

Or this:

Concede a point Look for opportunities in every TV debate or interview to concede a point to the interviewer or debate partner. It doesn’t have to be a major point. The point isn’t to undermine some essential plank of Israel’s foreign policy platform. But the simple words “you make a good point” do wonders among an audience.

And this one:

Never, never, NEVER speak in declarative statements. Never

The information leaked from TIP’s manual instantly got all the red-alert lights flashing at the headquarters of the Jewish dovish groups. Americans for Peace Now’s Ori Nir argued that “American Jews increasingly realize that settlements undermine Israel’s ability to survive, long term, as a democratic Jewish state and that they undermine America’s national security interest.”

And over at J Street, an immediate action alert went out, calling supporters to sign on a letter demanding The Israel Project remove any “pro settler fear mongering” language from its talking points.

TIP’s president and founder Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi responded to JTA that that the withdrawal from Gaza was in fact an act of ethnic cleansing, since all Jews “including the dead Jews” were removed.

Laszlo-Mizrahi also took a shot at J Street: “I get up in the morning and say ‘How can I attack the Iranian nuclear threat,” said Mizrahi. J Street “gets up in the morning and says ‘How can I attack other Jewish organizations?’”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Israel Project, Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, J Street, Frank Luntz




Find us on Facebook!
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
  • J.J. Goldberg doesn't usually respond to his critics. But this time, he just had to make an exception.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.