Monday, July 28, 2014

Massaging The Message: How A Republican Has Helped Israel Justify Its Invasion Of Gaza

The Independent reports on how an American Republican pollster and political strategist has helped Israel sell its recent invasion of Gaza, drawing upon a

playbook [that] is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those "who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel".

The strategy, which relies heavily upon an understanding of psychology, advises tailoring one's message according to one's audience. Among the gems is this:

For example, the study says that "Americans agree that Israel 'has a right to defensible borders'. But it does you no good to define exactly what those borders should be. Avoid talking about borders in terms of pre- or post-1967, because it only serves to remind Americans of Israel's military history. Particularly on the left this does you harm.

For the pesky journalist who asks uncomfortable questions, such as those involving the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were expelled or fled in 1948 and in the following years, and who are not allowed to go back to their homes, the person being question should respond this way:

They should call it a "demand", on the grounds that Americans don't like people who make demands. "Then say 'Palestinians aren't content with their own state. Now they're demanding territory inside Israel'."

An in situations where widespread destruction and loss of life results, as in the current situation:

Dr Luntz says that Israeli spokesmen or political leaders must never, ever justify "the deliberate slaughter of innocent women and children" and they must aggressively challenge those who accuse Israel of such a crime. Israeli spokesmen struggled to be true to this prescription when 16 Palestinians were killed in a UN shelter in Gaza last Thursday.

To show empathy, Luntz advises this "effective Israeli sound bite":

"I particularly want to reach out to Palestinian mothers who have lost their children. No parent should have to bury their child."

As the article suggests, the 112-page booklet should be must-reading for all journalists and, I would think, anyone else interested in truth over propaganda and public relations.


  1. No doubt Ben Yaho and Lutz your lunch meet for brunch. The fact remains this is the most intractable problem of the modern age. If I Jewlands were occupied and disbanded tomorrow like a capture in the game Civilization, would the world change in any noticeable way? Probably not. What I consider is the thought of the Holocaust. Watch the movie the Grey Zone. There is no place lower in history than the events that happened at that time. Sure I think the people of Palistine deserve the same shot the Jews got. However you cant found a nation based upon elimination, Palistinaions and Jews share the same DNA. Punching way above their weight when it comes to making society great. Not to mention an ability to create wealth and transform worlds. The world has been using the Jew Palestine conflict as an excuse forever. I have a solution. One I would like to think Kim Stanley Robinson would endorse, because I stole it from him.

  2. If I were a person of faith I would say there is a special circle of hell for Frank Luntz (or as he would have it "an exclusive after-life of like minded people".