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August 23, 2002 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Week

PR Losses

funding the centerpiece of the PR campaign, a series
of upcoming national ads on CNN, Fox News and
MSNBC.
"The time for talking about the problem has come
to an end, and the time for seeking a solution is
long overdue," Harris said.
TV is "where the battleground really is," he added.
"The way to shape it is with ads."
The AJCommittee was the first to sign on sto the
new strategy. Others include the United Jewish
Communities, which is the umbrella of local Jewish
federations, and Israel 21C, a group of pro-Israel
high-tech entrepreneurs in California's Silicon Valley.
So far, the AJCommittee has supplied a portion of
the $700,000 required for the initial polling and for
cable TV ads that have run in recent months in the
Washington, D.C., area. The rest of the money has
come from private family foundations and donors,
with Mizrahi, who initiated the project, bearing the
initial $50,000 tab.
Twice this month, the AJCommittee and the poll-
sters sought to win wider support for the new strate-
gy in meetings with leaders of Jewish groups, includ-
ing the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Council for Public
Affairs, the American Jewish Congress, Hillel: The
Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the American
Zionist Movement and CAMERA, the media
watchdog group.
They also met in Jerusalem in recent weeks with
senior Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres, army officials, government spokes-
people and academics. More meetings are being
planned with groups such as the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby.
The mid-July surveys measure attitudes about
Israel and the Palestinians among five different
groups: "opinion elites," general voters, Jews,
African Americans and college students.
While the full results are being closely guarded,
memos by Greenberg and Luntz summarize the find-
ings and outline a communications strategy meant to
win back American hearts and minds for Israel.
While backing for Israel stands at 42 percent and
support for the Palestinians at just 10 percent, the
other half of respondents have pulled away from the
conflict, maintaining that they support bothsides
equally or neither side at all.
Opinion leaders — high-income, highly educated,
media-savvy people — are evenly split between

Polls show lower Israel support, as many in U.S. blame both sides.

that has endured for thousands of years and could
last centuries more without peace.

JOE BERKOFSKY
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

New York City
Public Relations
mericans tired of Mideast violence
increasingly blame Israel and the
Jewish organizations hope to fight that ambivalence
Palestinians equally and dismiss each
with a multimillion-dollar national ad campaign
side's cause as "hopeless," according to a
emphasizing Israeli democracy and its shared values
series of new polls of American views of the conflict. with the United States, Israel's willingness to make
Overall, 42 percent of Americans support Israel,
peace and its importance as a strategic American
ally.
while only 10 percent support the Palestinians. Yet
about the same amount surveyed say they remain
The forces behind what's being called the Israel
neutral in the conflict, favoring neither side or back- PR Campaign are Democratic political consultant
ing both equally — a marked erosion of longstand-
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Republican strategist Frank
ing support for Israel.
Luntz and Greenberg.
In addition, a majority want the Bush administra-
They're hoping to convince American Jewish -
tion to pressure both" Israeland the Palestinians to
organizations and the Israeli government to adapt
negotiate, and they overwhelmingly support a two-
their communications strategy.
state solution to the Mideast conflict, even if it
The executive director of the American Jewish
includes the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees
Committee, David Harris, said the organization is
to Israel.
prepared to make "a significant commitment" in
These assessments arise from a series of
surveys last month that show public sup-
port for Israel slipping from 50 percent less
than a year ago, turning instead to apathy
or disgust with violence by both sides.
"The moral edge that Israel has always
enjoyed is that it has always appeared
strongly desirous of peace and generally
willing to accept the partition of the land
of Israel," said Steven Cohen, a professor
40%—
at the Melton Centre at Hebrew .
University in Jerusalem. "Insofar as we

20%-
don't look like we are committed to peace
c
or interested in a two-state solution, we

leaders
suffer in the eyes of public opinion."
Democrats independents Moderate
Conservative
In the surveys, taken by prominent
Republicans
Republicans
Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg
A far higher percentage of Conservative Republicans —
and funded by several Jewish organiza-
both in the general public and among opinion leaders
tions and private donors, many
— are supportive of Israel in the conflict than are
Americans said the conflict seems "hope-
Democrats, Independents or moderate Republicans.
less." They characterize it as a "holy war"

A

,

SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL

-

Source: Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research Inc.

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