Op-Ed: There are Winners and Losers, Even When the Jews Win...
There are winners and losers In war – even when the Jews win!
With all of the talk about the “occupied” West Bank, one would assume that Israel is “occupying” the area from the Palestinians, right? A major problem with that concept is that while there are 22 Arab states that surround Israel, the “Palestinians” never controlled the so-called “West Bank.” That being the case, how exactly are these territories occupied?
I grew up in the Betar youth movement– It’s the youth movement founded byZe’ev Jabotinsky, the ideological leader of Revisionist Zionism. Many of the most prominent Israeli politicians ever, idolized Jabotinsky – including Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin. The father of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also an avid follower, as have been many past and present leaders of the Jewish people.
It is an activist youth movement that continues worldwide today. Everyone who has been through Betar knows theZe’ev Jabotinsky poem “Shtei Gadot L’Yarden - Zu Shelanu Zu Gam Ken.” Translation? There are two sides of the Jordan River – this is ours and that is also.
Jabotinsky wrote the poem seven years after the decision by the British Government to divide the territory of the British Mandate which was designated for the Jewish State, into two territories, and to establish on one of its sides, on the east of the Jordan River, the Jordanian Kingdom.
Prior to that decision, Chaim Weizmann had raised historical and practical arguments in favor of keeping Israel on both sides of the river. Even after the World Zionist Organization accepted the borders that were outlined by the British government, and the removal of the territory east of the Jordan River from the British Mandate's boundaries, some in the liberal "Ahdut Ha'voda", continued to perceive the land east of the Jordan River as our right for Jewish building, and a territory that should be included within the future Jewish state.
Of course it is also part and parcel of the Biblical Jewish homeland which we read about each week in the Torah and two and a half of the ancient Jewish tribes lived there – and the “West Bank” is simply the western side of the Jordan River. The Jordanian people (and a State of Jordan) never existed until the British created that State. They were Arabs – not “Jordanians”. So, who exactly is occupying whom?
Betar’s symbol was a Shtei Gadot – both sides of the Jordan River. Today in realpolitik that concept is a non-starter and unrealistic - but perhaps for the interest of a Public Relations campaign education can begin that there is in fact no occupation of the western bank of the Jordan River.
Despite those realities, Israel was indeed content from 1948-1967 without these territories referred to as the “West Bank”, then the Arab world decided to start a war – and if somebody starts a war then they have to also be prepared to accept the consequences.
Does the world think one can declare war, lose and not pay a price? At the time, Nasser declared that they “will throw the Jews into the sea” – together with Syria & Jordan…. but then Israel won the war – so now Israel is the “occupier”?
If the Arabs would have won in 1967, I doubt that anyone would be crying for the Jews – but the fact is that Jews moved into Judea and Samaria and also Gaza as a result of that war.
The “occupied” West Bank could perhaps be the biggest Public Relations misnomer to have ever fooled the world.
The “occupied” West Bank could perhaps be the biggest Public Relations misnomer to have ever fooled the world – because any student of politics or history would be hard-pressed to explain how such land is occupied.
Menachem Begin was once asked about both sides of the Jordan - and he was angered when asked if it was only propaganda. “The Jewish people must never give up the Zionist endeavor. We must never abandon the dream of a Jewish nation on the land given to Abraham by G-d. No Jew should ever agree that this land, on both sides of the Jordan, is not outs. We don’t know what history will bring. Today there’s a country called Jordan. They leave us alone, we leave them alone. But things change. Jordan wasn’t always there and in another generation, in another time, who knows where we could find ourselves?”
By way of example he pointed to the former Soviet Union.
From a Public Relations and negotiating standpoint at the very least, when anyone talks about attacking Israel, or negotiations, one should realize there are winners and losers in war.
Even when the Jews win.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR Agency, and author of the PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” which is available for purchase at:http://www.amazon.com/Immediate-Release-Deliver-Game-Changing-Relations/dp/1936661160 MK Danny Danon (Likud) has said the book is “the best book I have ever seen on Israel PR.”