Leaked document exposes pro-Israel lobby’s manipulation of US public

The Electronic Intifada has obtained, and today publishes in full, a document prepared for pro-Israel activists by the public relations firm The Luntz Research Companies and The Israel Project. The document spells out the tactics that Israel and its US advocates should use to maintain support for Israel and its hardline policies.

The document, entitled “Wexner Analysis: Israeli Communication Priorities 2003,” counsels pro-Israel advocates to keep invoking the name of Saddam Hussein, and to stress that Israel “was always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people.” Despite his solid support for Israel and Ariel Sharon, the document warns pro-Israel advocates not to compliment or praise President Bush. At the same time it acknowledges that Yasser Arafat has been a great asset to Israel because “he looks the part” of a “terrorist.” The installation of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister, and potential replacement for Arafat, comes “at the wrong time,” because he has the potential to improve the image of the Palestinians, and that could put the onus on Israel to return to negotiations. The document advises supporters of Israel to appear to affect a “balanced” tone, but admits that in arguing for Israel’s policies, the illegal “settlements are our Achilles heel,” for which there is no good defense.

The document was commissioned by the Wexner Foundation, a private foundation that funds, among other pro-Israel initiatives, “Birthright Israel,” a program that pays for young American Jews to take free trips to Israel. The Israel Project is an initiative of pro-Israel organizations, political consultants and businesspeople. The Luntz Research Companies is a leading public relations and opinion research firm.

Here is some of the key advice the document provides to Israel and its advocates:

  • “Iraq colors all. Saddam is your best defense, even if he is dead. The worldview [of] Americans is entirely dominated by developments in Iraq. This is a unique opportunity for Israelis to deliver a message of support and unity at a time of great international anxiety and opposition from some of our European “allies.” For a year - a SOLID YEAR - you should be invoking the name of Saddam Hussein and how Israel was always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people.”

  • “The fact that Israel has remained relatively silent for the three months preceding the war and for the three weeks of the war was absolutely the correct strategy - and according to all the polling done, it worked. But as the military conflict comes to a close, it is now time for Israel to lay out its own “road map” for the future which includes unqualified support for America and unqualified commitment to an ongoing war against terrorism.”

  • “It DOES NOT HELP when you compliment President Bush. When you want to identify with and align yourself with America, just say it. Don’t use George Bush as a synonym for the United States. Even with the destruction of the Hussein regime and all the positive reactions from the Iraqi people, there still remains about 20% of America that opposes the Iraqi war, and they are overwhelmingly Democrat. That leaves about half the Democrats who support the war even if they don’t support George Bush. You antagonize the latter half unnecessarily every time you compliment the President. Don’t do it.”

  • ””SECURITY” sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can’t just give up land. The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates.”

  • Download the document now [PDF format, 40K]