Palestine is not a PR problem
The left has once again transformed the problem of brute power into a debate over PR strategy and message control.
The war against Palestine has sparked a ferocious debate over the past week on whether or not it’s acceptable for leftists to accept grief over the deaths of Israeli civilians. Though there are plenty of nuanced positions going around writers Eric Levitz and Gabriel Winant seem to have staked out the two major camps. Eric, in New York Magazine, argues that A Left That Refuses to Condemn Mass Murder is Doomed; Gabriel, in Dissent, argues that Israel wins by taking those “tears and turning them into bombs.”
Whenever this kind of messaging debate comes up it usually conflates two distinct issues: the strategic question of whether saying something is politically useful or harmful, and the personal question of what saying it implies about the speaker. People usually do this for polemic purposes — “people don’t adopt my strategy because of something wrong with them personally” — but here I’d like to focus narrowly on the question of strategy.