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June 24, 2016 3:13 pm

Netanyahu’s Response to Orlando Massacre Wins Praise, Attracts Tens of Millions of Views (VIDEO)

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responding to the Orlando massacre. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responding to the Orlando massacre. Photo: Screenshot.

The reason that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the Orlando massacre was met with an unprecedented response on social media for a statement made by a politician was his “tone of voice,” wrote a prominent columnist in the Financial Times on Monday.

Sam Leith, author of You Talkin’ to Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama, said this in answer to the question he himself posed: “How do you, as a politician, a public speaker or the spokesperson for an organization, respond to tragedy?”

What one is reaching for, he wrote in “The Art of Persuasion,” is “[d]ignity, restraint, a suspension of hostilities… but what a tiger to ride: to be dignified and restrained in a climate of grief; to be bipartisan and gracious in a climate of rage. Naturally, orators seek to channel strong crowd emotions. Here, they are seeking in some sense to calm them down.”

Leith contrasted Netanyahu’s message to that of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who, he said, showed how not to react to events like that in Orlando.

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“His first response via Twitter to the deaths of 49 countrymen was to boast: ‘Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.’ That made it about him, and it projected not a sense of purpose but the complacency of self-congratulation.”

And though, according to Leith, Netanyahu’s statement was similar in content – he placed blame on radical Islam – it “went down differently.”

“It is not what you say, it is how you say it,” concluded Leith.

Netanyahu’s viral clip – which has garnered 22 million views so far – is part of a new campaign to address the public directly. Recently, as was reported by The Algemeiner, Netanyahu conducted a live chat with Twitter followers on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day on May 12, answering real-time questions, even the hostile ones, with a mixture of gravitas and humor.

The Israeli PM’s emerging strategy is likely a product of his newly appointed foreign media spokesman, David Keyes. Keyes, former executive director of the organization Advancing Human Rights and co-founder of CyberDissidents.org, gained a reputation for producing hard-hitting yet witty videos, particularly when confronting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

For example, in one exchange he had with Zarif during the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Keyes approached the Iranian FM, who also served as Tehran’s chief negotiator, and asked him if he thought it was ironic that he frequently uploaded posts to Facebook while his regime banned the use of the social media outlet for the general public.

“That’s life,” Zarif replied, laughing.

Keys didn’t stop there, challenging Zarif on when imprisoned civil rights activist Majid Tavakoli would be released. “I don’t know him,” Zarif answered, sparking subsequent expressions of outrage against Zarif on his Facebook page. Shortly thereafter, Tavakoli was freed.

Iran was also the focus of Keyes’ first Twitter offensive in his official position as Prime Minister’s Office spokesman, as The Algemeiner reported. The assault on the regime in Tehran was a series of ridicules. One choice comment he posted was: “Huge thanks to Iranian regime for trying to stop ISIS. Also a big thank you to cancer for reducing the risk of heart attacks.”

The massacre at”Pulse,” a well-known LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, took place on June 12, when American Islamist Omar Mateen entered the premises and gunned down everyone in sight, killing 49 and wounding 53.

Watch Netanyahu’s full statement below:

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