SovereigntyFlash 90

I studied with community organizer Saul Alinsky in Madison, Wisconsin more than 50 years ago and dedicated my MSW ten years later to carry Alinsky’s legacy – to give a voice to the little guy who fights the system against all odds. Alinsky was not a communist nor did he whitewash terrorists, although the public has been told the opposite.

The book "The radical vision of Saul Alinsky", written 12 years after Alinsky’s death and published by Paulist Press, a Catholic publishing house, officials of the Catholic Church revealed that the Church engaged Alinsky to curb communist insurgent groups in Western Europe and in Latin America who exploited people for their own purposes.

The devil can quote Alinsky for his purposes. Indeed, A small minority in Israel which virulently opposes sovereignty in Judea & Samaria, and which promotes the PLO, cannot influence more than 25 members in the 120-member Israel Knesset Parliament, yet they use millions in foreign assets and Alinsky tactics to create a false impression of mass public support to remove Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, fight sovereignty and create a PLO state, all in the name of justice and human rights.

However, honest Alinsky tactics can be used in the other direction.

A few years back, thousands gathered this week for a massive rally at a major hotel in Jerusalem to show passionate support for Jewish sovereignty over all of Israel.

Each speaker was more articulate than the other, speaking with clarity of purpose. To cap off the evening, a panel of Arab leaders clearly stated that they would join forces with Jews to remove the Palestinian Authority occupation of their land.

What was lacking? No session was held on how to influence public opinion…No closing session on how to take the message of sovereignty to educate the people of Israel.

All this leads to a constructive Alinskyite suggestion:

Energize a follow up conference on spreading the message of sovereignty to influence public opinion in Israel.

Such a conference would cope with the fact that hundreds of well organized groups work to demonize sovereignty in the eyes of the centrist movers and shakers of public opinion.

People who make noise are the people who influence public opinion.

You influence public opinion when you step outside of circles who agree with you.

If you do not take your case to the people, you lose.

The agenda of a “how to win over public opinion for sovereignty” conference would focus on how to dispatch and train sovereignty advocates to work in the following venues where the battles must be fought, in no special order:

1.University campuses. There are now 78 institutions of higher education in Israel. Create a Sovereignty Campus Desk, to dispatch speakers to each academic setting. Invite sovereignty opponents to these debates. The idea is to organize activities and let the campus media know about it.

2.Academics. As students are mobilized on each campus, the time has come to organize academics to address the faculty in each academic setting. Two academics to organize sessions for faculty at each academic setting would suffice. Invite sovereignty opponents to debates.

3.Workers Unions. There are more than 1500 unions in Israel who welcome speakers for their members. A Sovereignty Speakers Bureau can emanate from a follow up conference to supply a wealth of speakers for each and every workers committee.

4.Veterans of the IDF and Israeli intelligence. At a time when sovereignty opponents create the false impression that great minds of Israeli intelligence favor a PLO state. TWO veterans of Israeli intelligence would be asked to stand up at the follow up conference and announce that they were forming an Israeli intelligence Advocacy Committee for Sovereignty. They will find hundreds of adherents.

5. The Israel business community. While the Israel corporate sector reaps profits in the short term from investments and exports to and through the Palestinian Authority and even Hamas, Israeli business people worry about the long term effects of a hostile entity in their midst. There is a new generation of industrialists who must be told that since international business depends on an efficient international airport and that the IDF and Israeli intelligence have not yet come up with a solution to the proximity of the PLO entity to the one Israeli international airport. At the follow up conference, two intelligence experts would be asked to organize a national conference on the THREAT TO THE BEN GURION AIRPORT POSED BY A PLO STATE: WHY SOVEREIGNTY WILL STABILIZE BUSINESS FOR ISRAEL.

6. The mainstream media. Two articulate sovereignty advocates can act as liaisons to each Israeli media outlet and to each foreign media outlet. The other side has spent years of time and effort to convince reporters, producers and publishers that anyone who supports sovereignty must be a racist of the worst order. The opposition has done this with the media for years. Some of that damage can be undone when reasonable people approach each media outlet in an articulate manner.

7. Municipalities adjacent to the 1967 lines. Appoint at least two people to act as liaisons to each of these cities, towns, moshavim and kibbutzim. It is not hard to discern a latent and almost unspoken fear of what would happen if there was an independent PLO entity within the rocket range of their homes. People willing to speak about the dangers of the PLO two-state solution would be welcome guests at the community centers of each community contiguous to the green line.

8. Arabs opposed to the PLO are waiting to be mobilized to overthrow the PA. The time has come to ask Arabs who have spoken up against the PA to continue to do so and to find at least two Arabs who will make sure that the Arab media get this message clearly in all forms of the Arab media, both inside and outside of Israel, that sovereignty is in their interest.

9. Diplomats. The other side has cultivated support inside all embassies and consulates in Israel. At a follow up conference, constituents holding foreign passports can be asked to systematically approach each of their consuls in Jerusalem, remembering that consuls in Jerusalem are often exposed only to the perspectives of the PLO and the NIF. Sovereignty outreach to the diplomatic corps can work.

10. Civil rights community in Israel. Not all human rights and civil liberties advocates are aligned with the PLO and the NIF. Sovereignty must be advocated as an issue of dignity, human rights, and civil liberties. A civil liberties sovereign liaison would seek out those in the world of human rights who are sickened by the terrorist attempt to take over of the civil liberties arena in Israel. A follow up conference for sovereignty would mobilize for sovereignty in the land of Israel as a natural outcome of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

David Bedein is director of Israel Resource News Agency and heads the Center for Near East Policy Research, author of Genesis of the Palestinian Authority and Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered.