Friday, August 05, 2005

Where is the line between legitimate protest and illegitimate havoc-wreaking? Not a simple question. If you believe, as I do, that the withdrawal from Azza will bring only harm and that, moreover, the process by which it has been carried out is not only flawed but corrupt (the individuals involved most directly in the decision-making process all have direct or indirect financial interests in the withdrawal), you might be inclined to push the boundary pretty far out there. But that would be a mistake.

This week's events in Sderot and Ofakim generated lots of positive energy. This is what many people didn't like about them. I think such positive energy has a very important galvanizing effect and it will serve us well in the future.

There were some memorable moments. Natan Sharansky was so moved that he was put in mind of occasions in Soviet prisons when he'd sing hinei mah tov umah na'im to keep up morale. He asked the crowd to sing it and then suddenly realized that they were waiting for him to lead the singing (he had the mike, after all). Faced with no choice, he began to sing. What can I say? In Soviet prisons, you do what you have to do but the other prisoners must have begged to be put into solitary. Conveniently, Ariel Zilber was on hand to take over the singing. Unfortunately, Rav Druckman spoke shortly after Sharansky and came to the very not-inevitable conclusion that every speaker had to sing. Suffice it to say that compared to Rav Druckman, Sharansky is Freddy Mercury.

Anyway, all that was good clean fun and, I believe, helpful in the long- term, even if not decisive in the short term. I think that large masses of people going down to Gush Katif is also legitimate. That's exactly how people should express themselves in a democracy. Where, then, is the line?

There are two criteria. First, the objective must always be to get the government to change its decisions (or to resign), rather than to prevent it from carrying out its decisions. There is a fine, but critical, line, for example, between: 1. the army reporting to the government that low morale and over-extension are such that it would be advisable for the government to reconsider the mission it has assigned to the army, and 2. the army trying and failing to carry out its mission due to insurrection and sabotage.

Second, we should not win the battle in order to lose the war. I am astounded by the amount of long-term damage people are willing to inflict on the country and its institutions and citizens, all for some dubious short-term advantage. Perhaps some of these are Shabak provocations. But let's not delude ourselves. I personally know otherwise-normal people who are responsible for some outright insane statements and actions. (In at least two of these cases, the right-wing press has made claims that these were Shabak provocations, but I know for a fact that this was not the case. I'm not referring to the ninjas on the road, which I believe was simply a fabrication.)

I'm convinced that some of the destructive attitude comes from a sense of alienation informed by a misunderstanding of the amount of power that our community really has. Let me explain this with a fable. A wealthy man raised two sons on his estate, one a biological son and the other a stepson. The stepson was exceedingly loyal to the father, praising him profusely on every occasion and catering to his every whim. As the boys grew into adolescence, they began asserting themselves in the manner that teenagers are wont to do. The father grew increasingly intolerant of the stepson's antics but indulged the biological son. As the father grew old, the stepson began to realize that, despite his abiding loyalty to the father, he was likely to be shunned in the will. He grew bitter and began to do damage to the estate.

One day a wise old man saw him cutting down a tree. He explained to the bewildered man that this was the only way he could express his anger and disappointment. The wise old man said to him: Foolish one, you are chopping down your own trees. Can't you see that your brother is a dissolute, gambling, drinking, womanizing bum? Your father may treat you poorly but there is no one here to take over this estate but you. You'd be well-advised to take good care of it.

5 Comments:

Blogger mnuez said...

Nicely put ~ though I'd say that to whatever degree it relates to the Dati Leumi it relates to the chareidim five times as much.

Not to mention to the Arabs.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous settler@zion.org said...

Amnon Lord would disagree with you http://www.makorrishon.net/article.php?id=4271
He claims that the army was sucked into the plan and has violated the unwritten covenant between the IDF and the citizens of the state. It would seem to me that sabotaging the mission is the only thing that will prevent the permanent establishemnt of a quasi-totalitarian oligarchic regime in Israel. With all due respect, Amnon Lord was raised and educated amongst these people, so I would tend to trust his view on the intentions of the ruling elite..

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got to agree with settler@zion. We are not dealing with a rational opponent, nor with a group that feels themselves bound by the rules of democracy.

We already voted them out by a landslide, and look where it got us.

I think that massive conscientious objection - coupled with a force of numbers that makes the mission impossible - is the only was to drive a stake through this vampire.

Anyone who's lived through the Oslo years here knows that the left is unconcerned - or at least blinded by fury - with regard to Israel's safety and future. And anyone who's been reading Ha'aretz knows that for the left, this is war against the Jews is being waged mercilessly with no respect for truth, and with all the dirtiest tricks of the bolshevik playbook.

Time to crush this snake, not charm it.

9:38 PM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

"settler" and "anonymous" are both right on. This is a fight to the finish. The oligarchy controlling Israel is no different than the Hellenists of more than 2000 years ago....their aim is the dismantling of the Jewish/Zionist state. Amos Shocken states this very clearly in his editorials (the unsigned ones which represent his views).."the religious are are cancer than must be eradicated, the Jews must assimilate totally and give up their identity". Amnon Lord said some time ago the the Arab terrorism is the weapon the Left uses against its opponents in the Zionist/Religious camp. Everyone has forgotten Barak's offer of all the territories in 1999, now the radical Left keeps saying that the terror is the product of the "settlers" and the "post-1967 occupation" only, so the oligarchs are trying to get the public to think that it is the Jewish/Zionist/Settler/Right are responsible for the conflict with the Arabs, and not Arab/Islamic fanaticism and Judeophobia which pre-dates the creation of the state.
I am not calling for civil war, I wear an orange band on my arm and have orange strips on my car and backpack and I have never gotten any hostile comments from the Leftists I know, but, the fight with the anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish Hellenistic oligarchy (which only represents a small percentage of the population but has total control of all state apparatuses) must be uncompromising...we will insist on our right to protest, to criticize, to conduct passive resistance against the regime's illegal use of the police and conscript army to destroy our communities, which they intend to continue after their intended (G-d forbid) destruction of Gush Katif.

7:18 AM  
Blogger bar_kochba132 said...

I would like to add that those who, today, say we should "plan for the day after" are deluding themselves. I believe that if Sharon's plan is implemented, it will cause drastic changes and will lead to an unprecedented crisis that will be ongoing, and will not heal a few months after the destruction will be completed. People will say "what is the use of volunteering for some national project if they simply chuck you out after they are finished using you." People went to Gush Katif-at the urging of Rabin and Peres, no less!-sacrficed a lot, suffered through terror and rocket attacks, and at the end, not only are they robbed of what they built, but those who sent them ended up cursing them publicly, calling them "whiners" (Avraham Rabinovich in the Jerusalem Post), money grubbers, crybabies, spoiled brats (these were from Ha'aretz). This will affect broad sectors of society beyond just the YESHA people. Many religious soldiers and officers will drop out of the army, and Aviv Gefen and Assi Dayan's son will not come to fill the gap.
The Arabs will conclude that Israel is on its last legs and one more push will finish her off. Cynicism will spread, the idea that this is a Jewish/Zionist state will evaporate, money grubbing, parasitic enterprises like gambling and prostitution will flourish and possibly be legalized. A country can not exist without some ideological base that a broad mass of people believe in, and considering that Israel is not just an ordinary country, but constantly faces existential external threats, the consequences are truly frightening. Israel seems to be entering a dark age, and, although I believe this Hellenistic oligarchy could be ousted relatively easily, the mass of good, hard-working patriotic Zionist Jews seems to be sunk into a self-destructive apathy or feeling that it is not possible to turn things around (recall my comments in the past how Israelis always tell me that grass-roots activism will never catch on, people are simply looking for a big daddy on some Knesset list to save them). It is impossible to see how things are going to develop, regardless of whether Sharon's plan is implemented or not.

9:56 AM  

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