Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Netanyahu’s ghost on ‘ethnic cleansing’ video is rightwing pollster Luntz

Phil Weiss and Yakov Hirsch, "Netanyahu’s ghost on ‘ethnic cleansing’ video is rightwing pollster Luntz, " mondoweiss.net

image (not from article) from


During the last few weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched an effort to sway the world with short, English language video sermons on the conflict; and the latest has caused a diplomatic blowup with the U.S.: the Orwellian video Netanyahu put out last Friday titled “No Jews,” in which he said that “enlightened” countries’ pressure on Israel to remove settlements from Palestine is a demand for “ethnic cleansing” that those countries would never tolerate within their borders.

Netanyahu was trying to flip the script from the story that his country chokes and removes Palestinian communities on the West Bank, demolishes Palestinian houses, and has no interest in allowing a Palestinian state. The State Department called out that policy in angrily denouncing the video, while Palestinian leader Ahmed Tibi wrote, that Netanyahu’s statements were “immoral… [and a] total departure from rationality, history and Israel’s obligations under international law.” American liberal Zionists were also upset. J Street said that Netanyahu’s claims are “really absurd” because Israel has “systematically seized and occupied [Palestinian] land,” and Josh Marshall described the performance as an embarrassment to American Jews. 

On Sunday in Haaretz, Barak Ravid reported a bombshell fact that the American media typically regard with indifference: Netanyahu’s clever language came from an American: Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the “wordsmith… political opinion guru… master political manipulator” (per the Atlantic). Ravid:
[L]arge swaths of Netanyahu’s remarks and arguments were taken from a 2009 document put together by Frank Luntz, a prominent U.S. political consultant who is identified with the Republican Party and those in the American far-right. Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who is a close associate of the prime minister, worked with Luntz in the early 1990s.
Luntz developed the public diplomacy document for the Israel Project… Page 62 of the document states in part that ethnic cleansing is the best argument in response to the settlement issue when it comes to the U.S. public. In his video, Netanyahu repeated Luntz’s text almost word-for-word.
The document that Luntz prepared for the rightwing Israel project was titled “The Global Language Dictionary” and was an effort to sell Israel’s refusal to accept a two-state solution to an American audience in feel-good terms. It includes “The Best Settlement Argument,” which is pretty much what Netanyahu said the other day, we’re for co-existence. ...

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