Stopping settlements = "Ethnic Cleansing"?

July 9th, 2009

Update: After nearly 10,000 J Street members asked The Israel Project to drop their use of the term "ethnic cleansing" to describe stopping settlements, The Israel Project's President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi finally did the right thing and eliminated the term "ethnic cleansing" from her organization's materials. [1]


No way.  The Israel Project, a right-wing media advocacy group, has taken criticism of President Obama's Middle East policy to a new low, equating stopping settlements with "ethnic cleansing."

Their advice to their activists in a privately distributed set of talking points leaked this week?  If you get a question about settlements, change the subject.  If pressed, say stopping settlements is "a kind of ethnic cleansing."

Click here to send a message asking The Israel Project to remove any pro-settlement, fear-mongering talking points from its materials.

We know that a settlement freeze - as well as an end to Palestinian incitement and violence - are critical first steps towards the two-state solution and, therefore, a secure, Jewish, democratic Israel.  Using terms like "ethnic cleansing" to undermine that agenda is incendiary, dangerous, and counterproductive. 

The Israel Project's talking points even admit that the public, including pro-Israel Americans, aren't on their side. They say that "public opinion is hostile to the settlements - even among supporters of Israel." You bet we're hostile to settlements - they're bad for Israel!

As Doug Bloomfield, a columnist for the New Jersey Jewish News, wrote this week:

{The Israel Project] says the "best argument" for settlements is this: Since Arabs citizens of Israel "enjoy equal rights," telling Jews they can't live in the Palestinian state "is a racist idea."

Even though that's completely false, as Bloomfield continues:

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said this week that Jews would be welcome to live in the Palestinian state and enjoy the same rights Israeil Arabs enjoy in Israel.

Israeli settlers that don't want to remain behind would be repatriated into a Jewish, democratic Israel as part of a political solution that would finally provide Israel with real peace and security.

Send a message here asking The Israel Project's Executive Director Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi to remove any pro-settlement, fear-mongering talking points from her organization's materials.