Israel Project

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The Israel Project
Israelprojectlogo.jpg
Founded 2002
Founder Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Type 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-government organization
Focus Press
Location
  • Jerusalem and Washington, DC
Method Education
Mission The Israel Project (TIP) is a non-profit educational organization that gets facts about Israel and the Middle East to press, public officials and the public
Website www.theisraelproject.org

The Israel Project (TIP) is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-government organization. The Israel Project is not affiliated with any government, and it claims to have a team with decades of experience in media, government, policy institutes, research, academia and the military.[1] TIP has offices in the USA and Israel, and "works tirelessly to help protect Israel by improving Israel's image".[2] In their online mission statement they describe themselves as saying "Our team of trusted Middle East multi-lingual experts and former reporters provides journalists and leaders with fact sheets, backgrounders and sources. TIP regularly hosts press briefings featuring leading Israeli spokespeople and analysts that give journalists an opportunity to get information and answers to their questions face-to-face.” "[3] It has an active peace program[4] that reaches out to Arabs in Arabic.

TIP was also the first Jewish or pro-Israel group to host Palestinian President Fayyad in the United States. Their team regularly meets with Arab leaders and activists to try to encourage negotiations for peace and a better future for both sides.[citation needed]

According to TIP its extensive Arabic media program has 1.2 million Arabic-speaking subscribers on TIP Arabic’s Facebook page "Israel Uncensored".[1]

History[edit]

The Israel Project was founded by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Margo Volftsun, and Sheryl Schwartz in 2003. Ms Mizrahi served as its president until the spring of 2012.[5] [6] Initially started to change US and European perceptions of Israel, it had worked in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian Arabic, and Chinese to reach a global audience. However, from the end of 2012; TIP decided to shut down its 'Global Affairs' unit.[2] In 2007 its board of advisors included thirty-two Democratic and Republican members of the US House and US Senate, plus former Ambassadors from Israel.[7] TIP operates offices in Washington DC and Jerusalem.[2]

Activities[edit]

Press Information[edit]

TIP conducts polling and public opinion research[8] with US focus groups and advises Israeli experts and political leaders on the most effective factual ways to present their views to US audiences: "We share [our] information with all the political leaders across the political spectrum because they're the ones being interviewed on television"[9] TIP also provides information to journalists by offering background material, press conferences,[3] and one-on-one interviews with these experts and political figures, such as Shimon Peres.[9][10] TIP has supplied information for thousands of news stories around the world, as part of their "pro-Israel media advocacy" efforts.[11] TIP also buys commercial time to air pro-Israeli advertising on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other cable networks.[2]

Helicopter tours[edit]

Two men on the left and a woman on the right flanking the open door of a helicopter.
The Israel Project's Intellicopter

Part of TIP’s efforts in Jerusalem include providing helicopter flights for foreign journalists and leaders visiting the country, called 'Intellicopter' tours. Members of the media and leaders are given an opportunity to witness firsthand the strategic difficulties facing Israel as a result of its small size. The two-and–a-half hour tour is led by TIP’s guides who offer an analysis of Israel’s history and current security challenges. Journalists from over 300 media outlets have taken TIP’s intellicopter tour, and a large portion of news footage about the country is taken from this aerial view.[3]

Media Fellowship[edit]

Every year The Israel Project offers the opportunity for college and graduate school students to participate in an internship focused on media. The fellows undergo intensive training, working with leading journalists and communications professionals to gain the out-of-classroom experience necessary to secure post-graduate career opportunities. Throughout the nine-week program, fellows participate in all aspects of The Israel Project, from writing articles for publication to conducting interviews and organizing press events.[citation needed]

2007 Iran Focus Group[edit]

A participant in a 2007 focus group commissioned by TIP reported that she had been "called in for what seemed an unusual assignment: to help test-market language that could be used to sell military action against Iran to the American public".[7] The final question in the study was reportedly "How would you feel if George Bush ... Hillary Clinton ... or Israel bombed Iran".[7] TIP founder Mizrahi said that her group had commissioned the focus group and had "shared information" produced by the focus group with Freedom's Watch. She claimed that the focus group was designed to help TIP promote "our belief in pushing sanctions" against Iran.[7] TIP repeatedly went on the record in support of sanctions and they were passed by the United Nations Security Council.

2009 Global Language Dictionary[edit]

The Israel Project commissioned a study by Frank Luntz who ran polls and focus groups to determine the best language to use to promote Israeli settlements to the American public.[12] The study was marked, “Not for distribution or publication” and was leaked to Newsweek online. It recommends being positive, framing the issue as being about peace not settlements. The document also lists arguments that don't work, in particular noting that religious, ownership and "scapegoat" arguments failed to sway listeners, that Arab housing is being demolished in East Jerusalem because it fails to meet the building code, the worst claim by this group in the guide is "Israel is so rich and so strong that they fail to see why it is necessary for armored tanks to shoot at unarmed kids" para (3) page 90. This study states that "public opinion is hostile to the settlements - even among supporters of Israel" so instead of dwelling on settlements one should always talk positively and focus on past peace achievement. [12] [13]

Criticisms[edit]

Criticism of TIP includes describing it as "a right-wing media advocacy group" using "pro-settlement fear-mongering talking points" which are "incendiary, dangerous, and counterproductive", by the two-state advocacy group J street[14] and argue that its rhetoric and alliance with figures "far outside the mainstream of American politics" only serves to simultaneously undermine the image of the State of Israel and TIP's stated purpose: "promoting and improving the image of the State of Israel".[15]

Critics such as J Street describe the advice as "If you get a question about settlements, change the subject. If pressed, say stopping settlements is "a kind of ethnic cleansing". J Street sent a mailing to their organization asking their members to send letters to TIP asking them to "remove pro-settlement fear-mongering talking points from The Israel Project's materials".[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "WHAT IS TIP". Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bitton-Jackson, Livia (March 18, 2009). "Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi: 'The Israel Project'". Jewish Press. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "About TIP - The Israel Project". Israel Project. 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  4. ^ Mozgovaya, Natasha (October 9, 2010). "3 women set out to improve Israel's image – even in the Arab media". Haaretz. Haaretz. Retrieved October 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ Pollak, Suzanne (August 22, 2012). "Block picked to head TIP". Washington Jewish Week. WJW Group, LLC. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi". Israel Project. 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Focus Grouping War with Iran". Mother Jones. November 19, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Polls". Israel Project. 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Frisberg, Manny (May 11, 2007). "Different routes to the same place". JTNews. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Expert Sources available for comment and contact". Israel Project. 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  11. ^ Nir, Ori (July 9, 2004). "Pro-Israel Activists Start Media Campaign". The Forward. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Luntz, Frank (April 2009). "2009 Global Language Dictionary". The Israel Project. Archived from the original on 2009-08-06. 
  13. ^ Ephron, Dan (2009-07-10). "Chosen Words". Newsweek. 
  14. ^ a b "Stopping settlements = "Ethnic Cleansing"?". J Street. 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2009. [dead link]
  15. ^ Fingerhut, Eric (July 10, 2009). "J Street continues the criticism of The Israel Project". Capital J. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 

External links[edit]