Spinning Israeli Settlements

The Israel Project, "the organization spearheading Israel's public relations efforts in the United States," recently released its 2009 Global Language Dictionary, authored by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. When discussing Israeli settlements, it suggests avoiding religious arguments or quoting from the Bible, warning that "even your Jewish audiences will recoil." Claiming that the land really "belongs" to Israel is "unconvincing because, officially, Israel itself defines the territories as 'disputed.'" It's also not effective to argue "that the Arabs use the settlements to their own advantage," as that "fails to justify Israel's policy." Instead, "the guide for Israel warmly recommends that advocates complain bitterly about the idea that a given area will be cleared of Jews," while Israel grants "equal rights to its Arab minority," writes Akiva Eldar. "Unfortunately, the guide does not suggest a response to anyone who heard and/or read the opinions of Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, or of Ahmed Qureia, the head of the negotiating team," who have invited settlers "to remain in their homes and live in peace and equality as a Jewish minority in Palestine." In related news, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is "setting up a team of students and demobilized soldiers who will work around the clock writing pro-Israeli responses on Internet websites all over the world, and on services like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube." The government budget refers to the effort as the "Internet fighting team," reports the Israeli newspaper Calcalist.