A lengthy Forward article by Nathan Guttman describes the makeover of The Israel Project (TIP) following the replacement of its founder and leader, with erstwhile AIPAC killer-shark Josh Block. The breathless description of his battering-ram personality almost had me swept along – almost.
And when I say swept along, I mean that it is tempting to jump into the ring and do battle – fight fire with fire, stake out the liberal ground in the professional ring of image-peddlers for Israel (IPFI?).
Just what we need.
What really grates is the author’s description of Block’s self-image as a defender not merely of Israel, but even more nobly – of the pro-Israel crowd.
So that’s what this is all about? The conversation over Israel has levitated from policy itself (like the occupation, stupid) to the meta-argument over whether Israel’s image is fairly or unfairly portrayed, to the meta-meta (uber-meta? meta squared?) conversation of whether the pro-Israel camp (a flawed euphemism for pro-occupation) is fairly or unfairly portrayed by the liberal camp, and whether those liberals are fairly or unfairly being called anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, Iran-loving and by association, nuclear-destruction-second-Holocaust-of-Israel extra-terrestrials (all but the final moniker is a paraphrase of Block’s quote in the article – but trust me, it’s there by implication).
Although I work on campaigns for a living, in which images and communications are integral to the effort to connect elites with the public, the question of imaging Israel has gone far, far too far.
I dare each camp to say what it really stands for regarding Israel, and while we’re at it, for the Palestinians too – since Israel does in fact control them. Specifically, I dare the other side to stop trying to distract the conversation, along with millions and millions of dollars, by mumbling about meta-meta. I’ll start! Here’s what I stand for: ending the occupation, preserving and salvaging Israel’s democracy, equality and human rights in every society where I can have an influence. That means mainly in Israel, but since I view Israelis and Palestinians as intertwined under any circumstances, I feel somewhat responsible for both.
I dare the pro-Israel camp to say what it stands for. Members of that camp...Read More