By Melissa Radler

NEW YORK – An ad campaign featuring Israel’s positive side is slated for cable television in the US this September.

The 30-second spots, which are scheduled to appear on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, are based on the findings of a national poll on Americans’ views of the conflict that was sponsored by the American Jewish Committee.

The mid-July surveys were conducted by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, Democratic consultant Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, and Republican consultant Frank Luntz.

While officials are keeping mum on the details of the poll results, initial
findings show that support for Israel has slipped from a record high of 60 percent after the September 11 attacks to 42% today. Support for the Palestinians has remained steady at 10%.

According to the polls, increasing numbers of Americans are staying neutral in the current conflict – either supporting both sides or declaring that both Israel and the Palestinians are equally at fault.

The new ads are being paid for by the AJC, a Silicon Valley-based group called Israel21C, and private donors. They are aimed at reinvigorating support for the Jewish state by touting its attributes, according to informed sources.

While the specifics of the ads, including their cost, have not been divulged, the decision to publicize Israel’s virtues – such as its medical and technological advances and its status as a democracy – rather than dwell on the
culpability of the Palestinians in the current conflict or present Israel as a fellow victim of terrorism, was made in response to the public’s increasing frustration with violence in the Middle East and its tendency to view the
situation as everlasting and hopeless, as evidenced by the survey results.

An ad campaign that aired several months ago in Washington that urged support for Israel by comparing Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to Osama bin Laden, for example, was found to be ineffective at engendering support
for Israel.

“After President George W. Bush’s speech in June, I think everyone’s concluded you don’t have to convince the American people to hate Arafat,” said AJC spokesman Ken Bandler.

(Copyright 2002 – The Jerusalem Post)