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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.”
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.
Watch Netanyahu’s full statement below:
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