Thursday, June 19, 2008

On engagements, negotiations, and solutions:

Hey folks,

We all know how stupid Israeli attempts at problem solving and conflict resolution are in the political/military arena. I have always seen Israeli’s conflict resolution tactics as little more than futile attempts at applying tried and true salesmanship and business principles to the resolution of the local violent conflict.

It really appears as if they are doing no more than applying The One Minute Manager combined with How to Win Friends & Influence People (great books in and of themselves, unfortunately they haven’t yet gotten to The Gift of Fear) in order to create peace with fanatical Islam. It’s ridiculous. But that’s probably why business works in Israel and politics does not.

Here is a great little piece by Barry Rubin (I like his stuff; you can find more of it at on what I would call straight up Israeli Realist common sense:

Let me say it again: despite the mountains of speeches, conferences, articles, committees, foundation grants, projects, currencies of every description and policies expended on it, there is no solution in sight for the conflict. It will continue for decades.

Afterwards read this other piece by Rubin:

ENGAGEMENTS, OF course, have effects other than direct success. One is to buy time for someone. But for who? If one party subverts other states, builds nuclear weapons, demoralizes the other's allies and sponsors terrorism during talks while the other side... just talks, the first side clearly benefits far more.

Then tie them all together with this little tidbit from the economist on the futility of going overboard essentially on problem solving and negotiation:

What this shows is that even with one negotiator having perspective-taking abilities it can produce a better overall outcome for both sides. “You want to understand what the other side's interests are, but you do not want to sacrifice your own interests,” says Dr Galinksy. “A large amount of empathy can actually impair the ability of people to reach a creative deal.”

As a bonus, take a good read of Caroline Glick's interview with the National Review:

The shackled warrior is Israel. Between the Israeli peace movement, the local and international media, the U.N., Europe and the U.S., Israel is both forced to fight the war being waged against it with both hands tied behind its back and to believe that it bears responsibility for the genocidal anti-Semitism that has taken over the Islamic world.

Enjoy the Frankness!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Column: JDL - 40 years later

Being that Rabbi Meir Kahane has never received objective treatment in Israel for any of his contributions, Libby Kahane’s article in the Jpost this past week was a very pleasant surprise. I cannot imagine another mainstream Israeli publication being fair enough to have printed her words, so Kol Hakavod to the Jpost for having the decency to do so.

I personally have tremendous reverence for the Rabbi and I know that his work and indeed existence played a pivotally crucially positive role in my development as a Jewish human being.

He was a sheepdog amongst the sheep, and I will respect anyone of us who takes on that noble and most thankless mantle. He was one who said that yes we may have been weak, but need not succumb to weakness. He was one who said that even though we may be sheep, we need not be food for the wolves.

And whether you like or agree with every thing he said or not there are two things he did for us which are irrefutable: he completely redefined the Israeli right wing in the public consciousness, and best of all unlike so many other leaders of our people from past to present from start to finish he never lied to us.

Rabbi Meir Kahane allowed me to believe that a Jewish future is possible and that angry men like me have their place in it too.

God Bless his memory.