Israel’s disputes with its neighbors have a long history — but there’s also a less tangible, but no less important front line: the media. Public opinion in the United States is an important area of concern for Israel, especially considering Israel has not always been great with its own public relations. Fortunately, there are a number of American-based groups that help make the case for Israel, and one of the best is The Israel Project (TIP).
Israel Project focus group with Harvard, MIT students seen as ‘horrifying’ by organizers. But a political scientist offers a more nuanced reading of Jewish students’ responses.
The Israel Project, a Washington-based Israel advocacy group, put 15 unsuspecting Jewish students from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a small room with 20 non-Jewish classmates and prompted them to candidly discuss Israel, Palestinians and Iran.
Should anyone be surprised that the tone was strongly critical of Israeli policy and the pro-Israel lobby here, and that many of the Jewish participants did not rush to Israel’s defense?
While Israeli society is deeply concerned about the prospect of a civil war over the government’s planned pullout from Gaza and part of the West Bank this summer, nearly six in 10 Americans are unaware of the proposed disengagement.And in a sign that efforts to improve Israel’s image need to be stepped up, Americans have no idea the Gaza pullout was initiated by Israel to improve the prospects of peace with the Palestinians.
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
James Besser in Washington
The other day a reader emailed to comment about my report that groups on the Jewish left were included in last week’s conference call between Mideast envoy George Mitchell and Jewish leaders (see blog entry here).