For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column
Restoring Jewish Sovereignty
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Intensive investment must be made in civil society frameworks that can not only draw the idea of extended Israeli sovereignty into the main-stream discourse as a legitimate political objective, but as one that can dominate that discourse
It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):
ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/23725
JEWISH PRESS: https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-restoring-jewish-sovereignty/2019/04/16/
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2019/04/12/into-the-fray-restoring-jewish-sovereignty/
TORONTO ZIONIST COUNCIL: http://strategic-israel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/TZC-Newsletter-2019-04-13.pdf
Several short excerpts:
I am going to extend sovereignty and I don’t distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlements…From my perspective, any point of settlement is Israeli, and we have responsibility, as the Israeli government. I will not uproot anyone, and I will not transfer sovereignty to the Palestinians. – Benjamin Netanyahu, Channel 12, April 6. 2019.
In a significant departure from his usual ambivalent and non-committal policy formulation regarding the final status of the territories of Judea-Samaria (a.k.a. “West Bank”), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out with an unexpectedly robust and unequivocal statement of intent just a few days prior to the April 9 election.
Last Saturday, Channel 12 interviewer, Rina Matzliah, fired an almost taunting question at Netanyahu, asking him why, given the fact that he had a largely compliant government domestically, and a firmly supportive administration in Washington, he had not done more to extend Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria. In response, the Prime Minister announced that that was precisely what he intended to—if reelected in the elections that were due to be held the following Tuesday.
Two-states increasingly unfeasible
The prospect of any measure entailing the transfer of large tracts of Judea-Samaria to Palestinian-Arab control is becoming increasingly unfeasible. Indeed, as Netanyahu pointed out in his interview, the likely outcome of such an initiative would be the creation of a mega-Gaza–twenty times the scale of what has developed in the South.
Lethargic support for sovereignty in new coalition?
But the election results also embody another message for the advocates of Jewish sovereignty. For they underscore just how tenuous relying on elected politicians to promote and implement any initiative for the extension of Jewish sovereignty across the 1967 Green Line can be…For despite an ostensibly robust showing by the “Right”, when one examines the composition of the emerging coalition, the only strong advocate for extending sovereignty is the “United Right”, an amalgam of three factions, widely considered to be “ultra-right” religious Zionist parties, with four parliamentary seats
The need to generate greater public support
Accordingly, if the call for extending Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria is not to be seen as a concept that is embraced almost exclusively by the religious right, strenuous efforts must be made to advance its legitimacy in the non- observant quarters of Israeli society.
For if this is not accomplished, it is likely to be dismissed as no more than a tenet of a radical religious credo, with little chance of it being adopted as a legitimate political objective by wider circles with the Israeli polity or society at large, beyond the ranks of the religious Zionist sector.
The need to generate greater public support (cont.)
In previous INTO THE FRAY columns, I have been at pains to point out that whoever controls the political discourse controls the political decision makers’ perception of the possible alternatives open to them and the unavoidable constraints confronting them. Accordingly, by controlling these perceptions, whoever controls the political discourse controls the political decision making process.
It is precisely here that “Right-wing” benefactors have misread the ideo-political battlefield—see Failed Philanthropy; and Like a Man in a Bucket: Failed Philanthropy (Cont.)
Learning the “Oslo Lesson”
Indeed, the “Right-wing” can learn much from the modus operandi of the “Left”.
After all, at the beginning of the 1990s, advancing the notion of Palestinian statehood was considered borderline sedition. Contacts with Yasser Arafat’s PLO were an offense punishable—and punished—by imprisonment. Yet, undeterred, the Left persisted—and because it was resolute in its aim, resourceful in its pursuit, and successful in raising resources, it managed to convert an idea, that was not only marginal and marginalized, not only illegitimate, but illegal, into the principle political paradigm that dominated the discourse for decades.
The key to implementing Netanyahu’s pledge to extend Israeli sovereignty to Judea-Samaria may not lie in direct efforts to persuade elected politicians to embrace it, but by investing resources in dominating the public discourse so as to mold decision-makers’ perceptions of what can be done and what must be avoided.
This then, should be the most urgent post-election priority for sovereignty advocates and their benefactors—especially in light of the looming specter of the Trump “deal of the century”, rumored to include demands for significant Israeli concessions:
Intensive investment of resources in civil society ideo-intellectual frameworks and mechanisms, that can not only draw the idea of extended Israeli sovereignty into the mainstream discourse as a legitimate political objective, but as one that can dominate that discourse.
That is the most reliable, hands-on approach to restoring Jewish sovereignty to the heart of the Jewish homeland.