Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu punctuated his attempt to rally the international community against Iran’s nuclear program with a crude illustration of a bomb in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York today — a move that drew him an immediate wave of mockery, but also reflected an astute grasp of the changing media climate.
Netanyahu’s bomb cartoon is the Middle East equivalent of Clint Eastwood’s chair.— Jeffrey Goldberg
Okay, it’s official: #Netanyahu has no idea what he’s doing. He has just turned a serious issue into a joke.— Jeffrey Goldberg
But while Goldberg, an Atlantic writer key American voice on the politics of Israel, wasn’t impressed by Netanyahu’s gambit, the Israeli leader also accomplished at least part of what he’d set out to do: He offered a graphic designed for the raw, viral online conversation, which he immediately dominated.
“At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” Netanyahu said. “Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.”
A former Israeli leader told BuzzFeed of the rhetorical move, “I think the PM did what he had to do in order to burn what he considers a very dangerous picture into people’s consciousness taking into account that it might draw some criticism.”
Google News references to #Netanyahu “red line” now past 5300+. Wildly ineffective messaging, that little bit of theater. Obviously. #unga— Omri Ceren
Every. Single. Article is going to be about Netanyahu “drawing” a red line on Iran “bomb.” Message managed, no? @JeffreyGoldberg— Omri Ceren