Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
RESISTANCE: MODERATION, DIRECT ACTION OR EXTREMISM
By Bernard J. Shapiro
The struggle to save Gaza and North Shomron does not seem to have succeeded so far. I believe that one of the reasons is the failure of Yesha officials and NGO activists to unite in a serious pro-active effort. This is not to disparage the many wonderful rallies and demonstrations. The great marches south toward Gaza were very impressive. But, they did not stop the Sharon "bulldozer." Everyone concerned with Israelís security and survival must re-evaluate his course of action in these final desperate days before the expulsion of Jews.
First of all we must admit that moderation and restraint simply do not work in the current situation. The government simply ignores or represses these acts with massive use of police and military forces. We have also seen that extremism also is a failed policy. Whenever the government can blame its democratic opponents with extreme acts (even if they did NOT commit them), the public support for our goals diminishes. Obviously actions that would be deemed extreme are not beneficial to our cause.
That leaves us with only one policy direction and that is direct action. By direct action, I mean a very pro-active plan to stop the deportation. This means more than one giant rally or march. It means measures to totally shut down the country. I have written about the techniques before. Unfortunately all the measures suggested in my earlier editorials have not been utilized, so I am going to repeat them now.
The only way to speed up elections and thus save Israel is by destabilizing the current government and causing it to fall. This would force new elections and stop the insane Oslo/Road Map/retreat process.
Over the last one hundred years, many governments have been destabilized by the action of a determined group of its citizens, not necessarily a majority. Two recent cases in this country are the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement. There is no doubt that Lyndon Johnson chose not to run for a second term because of the anti-war movement. There is also no doubt the African-American population would not have been able to throw off the yoke of discrimination without non-violent protest. In Israel, it is obvious that the Intifada succeeded because of the Israeli government\'s reticence in crushing it.
It is this reticence by democratic regimes to crush popular uprisings that is the biggest weapon in the hands of groups wishing to destabilize their government. This principle does not work under autocratic governments, as witness Syria (Hama) and China (Tiananmen Square).
1. Demonstrations -- The larger, the better. Demonstrations will not in and of themselves bring down a government. Good media coverage is essential to give the population a feeling that the tide of history is turning against the regime.
2. Civil disobedience -- The key to success. There is one essential requirement for destabilizing a government and that is for a determined group of people to be willing to go to jail, be beaten by police and possibly be killed in the pursuit of their political aims. More will follow later on organizing civil disobedience.
3. The Wrench in the Machinery of Government
A. Physical - Roads and bridges can be blocked by slow or stalled cars
B. Electronic - Computer networks, telecommunications can be adversely affected [10,000 people calling government offices at the same time can paralyze the system].
C. Psychological - Photos can be taken of police and military personnel who become involved in violent action against peaceful demonstrators. Available now are miniature video cameras that can be worn inconspicuously and send live feed to distant computers. At a time and place of your choosing, their names can be revealed; those security officers involved in non-democratic violence against demonstrators can be compromised. Their names and photos can be publicized, leading to fear and a sense of insecurity.
4. Violence - Only to defend ones life.
A. Armed resistance to non-democratic police and military actions is not the best course of action, since the military, police and security services will always be stronger and better equipped.
B. Open revolt against authority. Democracies are primarily based on voluntary compliance with the legal system. When that democracy ceases to govern in the best interests of its citizenry, for its security and survival, then it is lawful and justified to resist authority. This includes refusing to pay taxes, violating illegal orders of the non-democratic army, etc.
C. Mass demonstrations, including the right of self-defense, are meant to intimidate the police and the government. The horrible vision of civil war will restrain the government. Knowing that the Zionist Right will not physically resist gives the government strength to pursue suicidal policies. The policy of not striking back at the Left (as experienced during the "Season") begun in the pre-state days by Menachem Begin has had the effect of emasculating the Right in its relations with the Left.
While it is preferable to wage a non-violent campaign, there are certain lessons one can learn from the Israel Defense Forces.
1. Most important: do not give the enemy time to rest and re-group. The IDF always advances in one massive push to victory, never allowing the enemy a respite. The same must be true of the demonstrations against Sharon. It is a mistake to agree to a truce. The time will be used to organize special police units, including female police officers, to handle demonstrators. The government has already learned that reservists do not like this heartrending, undemocratic task.
2. Attack in many places at once, causing physical and psychological stress on the enemy. Demonstrators should not just take over hills in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but should take over government offices from Eilat to Metulla. Roads should be blocked all over the country. In Jerusalem, with its many government offices and a supportive religious population, it should be possible to create and sustain chaos.
Half measures will not work. Either we want to bring down this government or we don\'t. You can not be both meat and milk. It was the IDF\'s failure to destroy the Intifada that led to much of our trouble. Remember the principle of vaccinations: a tiny dose of the disease allows the body to build its immune system. Half-measures allow Sharon to develop a resistance to the demonstrations. We must take the momentum and build continuously to the day of victory. The decision is ours. In these final day, the battle of the forces of light must defeat the forces of darkness. Nothing short of a total effort will work. We must not let up until victory is assured.
May G-d bless the Holy Warriors of Zion and bring them VICTORY!
Bernard J. Shapiro is the executive director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies and editor of the THE MACABEAN ONLINE and THE FREEMANLIST.