The Israel Project (TIP), a pro-Israel Washington-based group dedicated to educating the press and the public on Israeli issues, is advising its supporters to invoke the United States’ immigration concerns as a general rule when discussing Israel’s “right of return” debate because it resonates with Americans’ fear of immigrants. Its 2009 Global Language Dictionary, described as “a manual on how to talk to journalists and opinion molders about the Arab-Israeli conflict,” states:
“Mass Palestinian immigration.” Thanks to 9/11 and the continuing threat of terrorism, Americans are particularly afraid of mass immigration of anyone right now. Comparing the challenges facing Americans in dealing with unrestricted immigration and Israel’s situation will be well received.
Thanks to 9/11 and the continuing threat of terrorism? You’d think the pro-Israel hawks would be a little more sensitive to the blatant exploitation of the violent deaths of thousands of people at the hands of hateful insurgents and the constant fear of future attacks.
Not only are TIP’s “talking points” shamelessly offensive, they’re also based on a total misinterpretation of the immigration issue in the United States. TIP is debating that the “right of return” principle doesn’t apply to the thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants that were forced from their homes in Israel, which doesn’t really have anything to do with immigration at all. Secondly, the only people who are framing the immigration issue in America using scare tactics like the ones TIP recommends are anti-immigrant xenophobes. Chances are someone like nativist Mark Krikorian isn’t going to help them win over any level-headed supporters. By appealing to the worse instincts of Americans, TIP isn’t contributing much to either the “right of return” or the immigration debate.