Some Political Aspects of Self-Liberation 101 – Part 1 (by sk)

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Vienna Mike began his Self-Liberation series with a link to Kahane’s Revolution or Referendum? The general purpose of a referendum is to bypass established representative political institutions.  Given the extraordinary deficiencies in Israel’s “democratic” system, the suggestion for a referendum made sense from Kahane’s perspective.  Setting aside the content of the referendum, however, Kahane’s attempt to bypass the establishment threatened it to its core.  As a point of departure, can his move be understood in more general political terms?

A useful approach could begin with the canonical work of E. E. Schattschneider. Schattschneider starts by positing that politics is a series of fights, more or less ritualized.  Yet such fights are distinctive in that the participants are not fixed ahead of time; indeed, the instigators may not even be aware of their roles or what will become the goal of a given fight if it grows.  Consider, for example, the famous refusal of Rosa Parks to give up her seat to a white passenger in 1955.  She did not see herself as a leader of anti-segregation forces.  Nor would her defiant act have had any political consequences if the fight remained between her and a bus driver, as similar fights had in the past.  It did not remain so.

The key idea is that how a fight will turn out depends on who becomes involved, or as Schattschneider puts it, it depends on the scope of the conflict. If two men begin a brawl, the better fighter will usually win.  If however the worse fighter is suddenly joined by five of his brothers but the better fighter remains alone, the result will change.  Political conflicts—fights—have this same characteristic.  This fact distinguishes political fights from competitive fight-like games such as football, where the number of players, the means they can use, and the way success is determined are fixed ahead of time.  Implied in the concept of scope is the location of the conflict—some locations are advantageous, others are not.

What then was Kahane doing?  He was attempting to expand the scope of the conflict to include all citizens, knowing full well that if they could become involved, the result of the fight would differ from that produced if the fight occurred in established Israeli political bodies.  This is also why no such referendum occurred.  Indeed, in Israel there are no national referendums at all, and this, I suggest, is no accident.

If Medinat Yehudah is to move from virtual reality to a fact on the ground, those who are part of the movement will need to control the scope of the fights they wage.  Fights must include the participants needed to win, and they must be fought in “locations” that favor Jews, not Israelis.  Opposing forces must be split and as much as possible, kept out of the fight if they cannot be brought in on the Jewish side.

Israeli elites are brilliant at undermining such efforts.  How do they do so?  Mike has focused on symbolism, rightly so in my opinion.  The Israelis understand that symbols, myths, and rituals (cultural artifacts) can be used to create alliances and split opposing alliances.  In fact, such means must be used because otherwise the ugly reality of Israeli politics would shut down the power structure rapidly.  For this reason, we must confront the cultural underpinnings of Israeli power.  To help focus this discussion, let’s consider some important artifacts, every one of which is relevant to the scope of the conflict.

  • Unity.  How often have we heard unity being championed?  Understood politically, the purpose of “unity” is to shut down nascent groups that threaten the establishment before such groups gain numerous adherents.  For as Schattschneider notes, the best time to control the scope of conflict is at the beginning, for fights tend to be “contagious.”
  • Democracy.  As Eidelberg has pointed out repeatedly and in detail, Israel’s political system is not a democratic republic—no such republic can be said to exist when legislators are not directly elected by constituents in defined geographical areas, but are put in place by a “list” system.  Yet as a symbol, “democracy” is useful, as it induces participation through channels that benefit the elites.
  • The state is holy. The purpose of this artifact is to undermine Torah-based opposition to elite perfidy.  Disagreement is to be channeled through institutions that the elites control.  As an implication, any possible opposing state (i.e., Medinat Yehudah) is “unholy.”
  • Rabbis should be treated with respect. If there is one theme I have been hammering away at on Arutz Sheva it is that perfidious “rabbis” should be exposed by name and insulted.  I am no Torah scholar, but even I know that “rabbis” who Kosher giving the Land to Muslims (e.g., Ovadiah “Shades” Yosef) are on the take.  All of their elaborate justifications are merely smoke and mirrors.  Yet such “rabbis” are cultivated by the secular elite so that Haredim stay out of any fight between the elites and minorities such as the settlerfolk.  Such “rabbis” also undercut efforts to gather opponents to the regime.  Settlerfolk such as those in leadership roles in Arutz Sheva, by embracing “rabbi respect” as well—and censoring Talkbacks to support it—inevitably undermine efforts to advance Medinat Yehudah.  The Israeli elites know that the best way to win a fight that they would ultimately lose is to prevent it from occurring.
  • The IDF is the first Jewish army since the Diaspora. The elites need forces to maintain their power, both against Islamic and Jewish enemies.  If young men who believed in Jewish power did not believe in fighting for the IDF, they would be ripe candidates for the truly Jewish army of Medinat Yehudah.  This must be prevented.

As a lengthy coda to this discussion, I would like to expand on “Democracy,” focusing on voting.  To me, there are few more annoying disagreements in the articles and talkbacks on Arutz Sheva than the one between the Feiglinites (who support attempting to turn Likud into a Jewish party) and the Ketzelahs (who support joining or forming opposition parties).  Such disagreements go nowhere.  While there are numerous, complicated reasons why both sides will almost certainly fail to obtain real power,  there is also a simple reason:  both take as a given that Jews should vote in elections that, by their existence, reinforce Medinat Israel and undermine Medinat Yehudah.

That elections do not advance Jewish self-determination should be obvious.  I do not need to tell Feiglin that “right-leaning” parties are more able to deliver land into the hands of Muslims than “left-leaning” parties are.  He has made the point himself.  The “left-leaning” parties are, however, excellent at developing the ideology supporting the “right-leaning” parties’ actions.  In other words, while voting may provide short-term financial benefits to factions, voting will not reform Israel.

If voting had no serious impact, it would be a matter of indifference here.  But it does have an unfortunate strategic impact.  Elections confer democratic legitimacy—that is why all sorts of nondemocracies have them.  When turnout (voting) is high, the system looks especially democratic both to Israelis and outsiders, which somewhat shields the regime.  Furthermore, those who vote engage in a ritual that makes support of Medinat Yehudah more difficult. This ritual matters, just as pledging allegiance to a flag matters.  Elections in Israel have no practical impact on what the regime does regarding Jewish self-determination, but elections do have a psychological impact on those who vote.  Thus they have a political impact by discouraging—indeed, strangling—the formation of a real opposition outside the control of the Israeli system.  In Israel, that is their main function.

Those who resist my message regarding voting should ask themselves why.  The individual decision to turn out has little to do with the choice of candidates but much to do with the emotional baggage of citizenship and the psychology of political involvement.  Those who turn out to vote do so largely irrespective of the choices available.  In the Israeli context, the feeling of a “need” to vote can be seen as an instance of successful political manipulation by forces who do not have Jewish interests at heart.  Do you like being manipulated?  Do you want to win or not?

There is no need to feel politically uninvolved, however.  There are other ways to participate than voting.  Non-violent direct action is participation as well.  Unlike voting, it might even make a difference.  If that is not your cup of tea, there are innumerable shanties in the Yesha suburbs that need to be fortified.

REFERENCES:

Schattschneider, E. E. The Semisovereign People. Hinsdale, IL: Dryden Press, 1960.

Campbell, A;  Converse, P.; Miller, W.; Stokes, D.  The American Voter.  New York:  Wiley, 1964.

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3 Responses to “Some Political Aspects of Self-Liberation 101 – Part 1 (by sk)”

  1. Vienna Mike Says:

    An excellent beginning, SK. While I disagree with you on elections, it is in a matter of detail. The Vienna Mike position is that Jewish voters in elections should vote consistently for a party that advocates Medinat Yehudah in soft form.

    The Medinat Yehudah party would not speak of Medinat Yehudah, of independence, of armed struggle. Instead, it would simultaneously speak in tones of sweet reason to the Israeli establishment, yet ruthlessly and viciously condemn this establishment when speaking to the Jews. It would talk about “Israeli oppression driving youth to desperation” and “dangerous radicals empowered by Israeli repressions”. It would speak of “autonomy” and “self-government” and and “voluntary regional adoption of Halakhic governance” and “self-reliance” and “autonomous Jewish security forces”. It would voice “deep regret”, but never condemnation, at the actions of the “radicals”. It would use every means at its disposal to create and strengthen a Jewish identity not only separate from, but actively at odds with the Israelis, to the point where the majority of Jews in Eretz Yisrael would agree with the statement “one can be a Jew or an Israeli, but one cannot be both”. Yet it would never go past non-lethal direct action, beyond riots and violent demonstrations and into the true insurgent ideological territory occupied by the traditional guerrillas with whom it maintains covert contacts and the ultra-radical Marighella cells who are fed and strengthened by its firebrand condemnation of every hostile Israeli action.

    The Medinat Yehudah party may or may not be made illegal at some point. I expect that it will spend quite some time as an illegal entity. But, in the end, it must become a Jewish Sinn Fein, the only force capable of leading Medinat Yehudah down the path traveled not long ago by the Irish Free State. When the chips are down, such a party will be the only force capable of organizing a Torah Republic and securing Israeli cooperation during the inevitable war of independence that will begin even before the IDF fully leaves.

    The Vienna Mike position is that this party should adopt Beged Ivri as its uniform and promulgate it as the common badge of identity and defiance among the Jews of the Holy Land. I believe that it should adopt the banner of Medinat Yehudah not as the party flag, but as the common flag of the struggle, raised by moderates and radicals alike.

    Such a party, doctrinally the Marighella “External Movement”, would act as the “moderate” alternative to the “radicals” blowing up bombs in North Tel Aviv and firing rockets at Umm El Fahm. When the Israelis exhaust all other options and their only choice is between the Medinat Yehudah party that will negotiate with them and the thousand and one marighella cells who salivate at the prospect of standing them all up against a wall, the Israelis will negotiate with the Medinat Yehudah party the way the British negotiated with Sinn Fein.

    It is the means and methods of forming and running such a party, and the activist know-how of day to day non-violent struggle that you should focus on.

  2. Sassover Says:

    More must be written and ASAP. The Defense Ministry’s warplans have been leaked to the public.

  3. Vienna Mike Says:

    Everything that needs to be written regarding resistance to the Army’s plans has already been written.

    1) Actions have consequences. The Israelis will stop when the consequences of their actions are severe enough to outweigh the benefits they have gained.

    2) This is an excellent opportunity to speak about Medinat Yehudah, both openly and secretly

    3) Orders are given by human men who have wives, families and homes where they sleep at night. Orders are carried out by human men who have wives, children and homes where they sleep at night. The Israeli kapos may be very impressive when they are all together in a gang, but they will be far less impressive when confronted and made examples of individually, by surprise. There will be a need for many examples of a higly pointed nature before the Israeli enemy gets the message.

    4) There exists no way to prevent the demolition of any structure or the destruction of any settlement. The Israeli enemy possesses overwhelming force, which he can concentrate and exert at will. Therefore, the objective must not be to save the structure but to raise the butcher’s bill for its demolition as high as possible while preserving the lives of Jewish warriors. The best way to do this is to confront the enemy with IEDs and sniper fire from concealed positions, then retreat after inflicting severe casualties. If the number of kapos is small and it is plausible to kill them all quickly before their friends can come and help them, one may use rioters armed with shields, helmets and sharpened lengths of rebar or similar implements in order to directly kill kapos. Skirmishers armed with grenades, firebombs and firearms should be mixed into the crowd in order to break up enemy formations and inflict maximum casualties.

    5) Tenfold retaliation must be inflicted on those who send the kapos. If blood flows in Yosh, ten times as much blood should flow in Sheinkin. If there is no electricity in yishuvim in Yosh, there should be no electricity in North Tel Aviv, either.

    6) The alliance between the Israelis and the Moslems must be exposed by attacking the Moslems with maximum force. Not only will this show the IDF running around to protect its Moslem allies, but theMoslems will riot inresponse to heavy casualties and severe infrastructure disruption, further straining the resources of the IDF.

    All this having been said, things will get far, far worse before they get better. As Vienna Mike has said before, the Israeli cattle prod will get the Jewish donkeys to move toward independence. The voltage will increase until the donkeys start moving, whether they like it or not.

    Now, Sassover, if you want to know what should be done first, the answer is to SPEAK. The message of Medinat Yehudah must spread. It must spread by word of mouth from person to person. It must spread by leaflet, by music video, by graffiti painted on walls, by any and all means. First and foremost, above all else, the Jews of the Holy Land, especially the youth, must come to understand that Medinat Israel is NOT our country, the IDF is NOT our army and the Israeli kapos who come to attack us in our homes, to sexually assault our sisters and daughters, to throw our babies out of windows, to desecrate our schuls and to strangle our communities are NOT Jews. We have a stark choice — independence or death. Everyone must be clear that there are no other options.

    When a critical mass of young men and women appears, two things will happen. First of all, marighella cells will form and begin to attack infrastructure and kill kapos. And secondly, once there are a few more people, there will appear a political movement whose activists openly trample and burn Israeli flags, chase IDF soldiers out of their communities and raise the banner of Medinat Yehudah. When there are hundreds of young people led by activists wearing Beged Ivri, waving our banner and throwing rocks at every green-suited kapo in sight, we can say that things are beginning to move.

    Therefore, if you want to know what you personally should do, Vienna Mike would say that it is up to you. But the more people take select messages and ideas from this website and begin to circulate them in Hebrew in various ways, the better off we all will be.

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