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Sunday, August 28, 2005

#138 Ends and Means

Musings #138
August 28, 2005
The 23rd of Menachem Av

Ends and Means

On Shabbat I found myself in a very unpleasant argument. At first glance we were all in agreement. Moetzet YESHA, the YESHA Council had failed in its campaign against Disengagement.

The argument was about the campaign and slogan that Moetzet YESHA preached to the very end. And actually just a few minutes ago when I entered my home after a “fitness walk” with friends, I saw that Pinchas Wallerstein, the council’s chairman, was on television explaining that he ran the correct campaign.

Maybe I’m just too much the CPA’s daughter and can’t forget that one and one are two, but it seems to me that if the campaign failed, then obviously there’s something intrinsically wrong with it. If it had succeeded in repealing, canceling Disengagement, then I would have praised them and admitted that I was wrong. Over the past few months, I had been very blunt and public in my opposition to their campaign for a referendum. Read: Why I Won't Be At Sunday's Demonstration, January 28, 2005.

Did you catch it? Yes the Council demonstrated for a referendum, not to repeal Disengagement. Their slogan was, and still is: “Ten l’am lihachlit,” “Let the People Decide.” It sounds like some professional public relations experts, the superficial type, composed it. It sounds modern, liberal and theoretically should go well with the people who don’t normally support Jews in YESHA.

There are only a couple of problems. One is that it could and was used against the same anti-Disengagement crowd, since it supports “democratic process.” It takes for granted that the majority is always right, and that the majority will vote the way they expect.

The second and most important reason that it’s a disaster is that it doesn’t educate the people of the dangers of Disengagement. Moetzet YESHA totally lost track of its goal. It and many others thought that since legally a referendum was a good method to force the government to repeal Disengagement, it should be the goal. Suddenly the means became the end, and we ended up short and thousands of families are now homeless.

Moetzet YESHA’s anti-Disengagement campaign should not have been for a referendum, and it should not have been an emotional plea to save a few thousand good, adorable, hard-working, large families.

The anti-Disengagement campaign should have been a strong campaign showing how withdrawal from Gush Katif and northern Shomron would endanger the entire country. “From Here You Can See” Tours should have set out frequently to the Sanur and Chomesh mountains to give people a chance to see what vantage points were to be turned over to terrorists. Movies and stills from the sites showing how they look over into the coastal plain should have been shown and distributed.

Information campaigns should have been mounted explaining how much more difficult it will be to defend the southern part of the country without Gush Katif. Again a picture campaign, this time showing the guns pointing directly into Ashkelon and other population centers.

There should have been clear and simple quotations from the Arabs, explaining that they’re not offering peace, and certainly not promising it. The public needs to know that the Arabs were just making more and more demands for “after Disengagement;” the same for the Americans, Europeans and the U.N. None of them were shy about their true intentions. The “Road Map” was the least of it. After Sharon’s enthusiasm in turning thousands of Jewish Israelis into refugees, it’s now even more difficult for an Israeli Government to reject foreign demands.

And don’t forget that a large successful Israeli export business was pulled out by its roots. Prize-winning vegetables and flowers will no longer be sold; their farmers are now unemployed, and the hothouses either destroyed or passed by moneymaking agents to Arab terrorists. Yes, I kid you not. There are fewer vegetables in the Israeli markets, and I told my husband that I’d rather we don’t eat lettuce than give our money to those benefiting from Gush Katif’s destruction.

In addition, some of the communities that were destroyed were promised as permanent compensation after the Sinai was given to Egypt, and its Israeli communities were destroyed.

The anti-Disengagement campaign should have focused on stopping Disengagement and the various points I just mentioned should have been part of the information campaign to help convince the public. In my short list there are enough issues to find one to suit every sector in the Israeli population, and with the funds Moetzet YESHA spent on their totally unsuccessful campaign, they could have convinced the nation. There wouldn’t have had been any need for a referendum, because the government wouldn’t have wanted it to go to a vote.

Just like the United States never invaded Cuba to depose Castro, Bush would have quieted down, once he saw that Sharon was totally out of favor with the Israeli public. And yes, I really admire Castro and Cuba for doing their own thing since 1959.. Mao, Khrushchev and their ilk are long gone. The “Iron Curtain” and Berlin Wall are dust and debris, but Castro’s still at the helm.

The lesson is that America really is just a paper tiger when a country takes itself seriously. Israel once did, in the early decades we didn’t get all the “aid” so prettily tied with strings. We won the Six Days War with the help of G-d. World Jewry prayed and donated money for ambulances. There was great unity, and it was a wonderful experience.

The dangerously unsuccessful anti-Disengagement campaign was nothing like it. And even worse, Pinchas Wallerstein and his friends are insisting that they did the right thing. How could it have been right when the results were so disastrous?

Need I say more?

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
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Anonymous said...

I agree with you - I've been wondering all along why the issue of security and the corrupt way that Sharon bullied the country into the "disengagement" weren't the issue.

So, what is going to change now? Israel is facing more terrorism - I have yet to see the IDF really strike back.

Anonymous said...

We will win back `Azah (Gaza) just like we finally conquered the city of `Ai after failing to do so the first time. The Yesh"a council and the rest are just like Akhan, they will pay for this. A reidat adamah will entail a tsunami and destroy Gaza just like Alexandria was destroyed. haRav Baroukh Shapira zts"l spoke accurately about this. All this will happen iy"H before `Hanoukah. rav yirmeyahou

Ben-David said...

I guess you really are a CPA's daughter - all that poring over the books has left you nearsighted.

Guess What? The Israeli public already learned - the hard way - that their concessions to the Palis endangered Israel. That is why they gave Mr. Security a landslide in the general elections.


None of the educational program you mention was necessary. The problem wasn't public opinion - anyone who believes the polls that showed "widespread support" is a fool. There was widespread apathy.

What WAS necessary was to DEpose a corrupt cabal before it IMposed its will on the Israeli public.

So -
How do you run a campaign to delegitimize a corrupt oligarchy that holds all the cards - the opinion-making, policy-making, and war-making apparatus of the country - and is using those powerbases to delegitimize YOU?

How do you get through to a population that is either so shell-shocked or so mired in apathetic, petty self-interest that even the populations of Ashkelon and Sderot went about their business as if no threat loomed, even as their streets filled with protesters?

How do you tell a story of democracy - and sell the correctness of protest and civil disobedience - to a population that not only has never experienced it, but DOESN'T KNOW it hasn't experienced it - and is largely convinced that YOU, not the leftie elite, are the messianic crazies?

... and do all this without giving your enemies even half a chance to demonize you as violent, crazy, or both?

The Yesha Council ran the only campaign possible - the only campaign that had a chance of impacting public opinion over the short AND long term, without causing the rest of the country to write us off entirely (and we know that all it would have taken was JUST ONE PHOTO of a bleeding soldier).

The one fault is that the Right did not mobilize early enough.

Why didn't we succeed? You can't run a popular revolution without the people. At some point a campaign like this is dependent on a whole lot of citizens overcoming apathy and fear of civil disobedience to hit the streets in protest. And when push came to shove, a mix of apathy and fear won out.

Many, many of our own people (I live in the Shomron) showed up for the 2 big protests, but did not show up to block Kissufim - they were not willing to get arrested.

Additionally, many of our own boys in the army and officers corps did not refuse orders - I think we had 72 refuseniks, even less than the number of lefties who refused to serve in Yesha.

We failed to mobilize any significant numbers of people outside our base - there were almost not secular Israelis to be seen. As I wrote above, even the residents of the Negev who are bracing for more violence did not think this was their fight.

Either that, or they didn't think fighting would help - which points to a larger cultural apathy that couldn't be overcome by any one PR campaign.

Marcel said...

The blind lead the blind and they both fall into the ditch.
Most Israeli's I have communicated with have been more concerned about moderation and politeness as their ship sinks to the bottom.
I find it interesting how the barbaric Palestinians care nothing about what other think of them as they butcher and kill and yet the nations of the world trip over themselves to support them with billions and billions of dollars, and help them get more and more Jewish land.
Israel has wasted too much time swiming the sewer pipes of the nations looking for good P.R. I do miss the tough as nails Israeli Sabra. All I see now are siseys ,men turned into women who lead Israel's right in lock step with the Bush New World Agenda .The fact that to many in Israel are afraid ,too cowardly to say is that Mr. Bush is the head of the snake which divides Israel. The fact that wimp Netanyahu has the nerve to show his face again to seek leadership reveals the depth of the problem that Israel faces .Faithless Israeli leaders always bow to Washington's demands ,and this is why Gaza was abandoned to the terrorists. We in the U.S. are beginning to suffer SEVERE judgemt for the EVIL that Mr. Bush has done to Israel with his haSatan inspired ROAD MAP.
Hurricane Katrina has destroyed much and millions are homeless ,
God's retrubution has just begun for my arrogant nation and leader who toy with HIS Israel.
The Zionist camp could not even unite loudly against Mr. Bush and his evil plan, being more concerned about looking polite and nice.
Even the color used against the ethnic cleansing was wrong, orange is not the color of mourning,sorrow and repentance.
It's going to take much more severe destruction and calamity to turn Israel away from her chief IDOL and false peacemaker.
We in the U.S. will see even more severe humbling from the hand of Israel's God ,and Israel will learn to look to Him and not Washington any longer for anything.
Sharon ,Netanyahu,Rabin,Barak have all played the Puppet on the U.S. string. Eventually this will END !!


Batya said...

If I follow all your trains of thought, I guess we all agree on the bottom line that the members of Moetzet YESHA should have a nice quiet retirement where they can't influence anything.

Sad since some of them really contributed twenty some years ago. Now they are prime examples of "Peter's Principle," A person rises to his level of incompetance.

Ben-David said...

No - I DON'T think that the leaders of Moetzet Yesha should be forced into retirement.

I think we are engaged in a long-term struggle against the three-headed monster of apathy, fear, and demonization of the religious.

I also think we've ignored the rest of the country for far too long.

The leadership did what they could - but it amounts to just a starting salvo, waking a lot of knitted kippahs up to the reality that they've been dreading: they really are outsiders, and have to learn to fight "the establishment" like outsiders - while winning the hearts and minds of fellow Israelis.

There is NO alternative leadership that could have navigated a better path through this minefield of policy and public relations.

Before the Yesha council began its program, the anti-expulsion movement was largely associated in people's minds with idiotic, anarchistic young fools blocking traffic. And although the police took notice of that show of force - most people didn't need much prompting by the media to say "the heck with these extremists".

Our movement's major problem was that we got way too far ahead of the rest of the country. The Yesha Council charted a course that helped to correct this.

Without widespread conscientious objection and/or masses of people willing to get arrested, no plan would have worked. The Yesha Council left us in a much better position for the future than any more violent program would have.

the sabra said...


Batya said...

אין חדש
nothng's new

the sabra said...

no kidding.
three years later and - ???

i wanted to find out more about moetzet yesha (or is it pesha?) and my google search led to your blog.

Batya said...

Unfortunately, with all I've written about them, nothing is good.