Israel needs to reframe the debate to win the battle

Over the years, I helped win at least two major cases because I re-framed the debate.  In one case, a will contest case, the opposing party claimed that our client, a housekeeper, had committed fraud and elder abuse in order to inveigle a little old lady into leaving the housekeeper a substantial chunk of the old lady’s estate.

In defending against the charges, we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to prove the negative proposition — namely, that our client hadn’t in the privacy of the lady’s house, bullied and manipulated the old lady into changing her will.  It was only as I was re-reading the case documents for the umpteenth time that I suddenly had an insight:  one of the contestants’ primary pieces of evidence, a letter the old lady wrote that they claimed showed she was under the housekeeper’s thumb, actually showed something quite different.  It showed that the little old lady really, truly hated those family members who were now suing.  More than that, if one took the letter at face value (“I hate you, because you tried to take me away from my beloved house”), instead of assuming that it might have been the product of the housekeeper’s behind the scenes manipulation, many previously disparate bits and pieces of evidence suddenly fell into place.  Suddenly, after a very difficult case during the pre-trial phase, at trial, we won, and we won big.

On another case, a construction law case, the opposing party accused our client of having installed a door so badly that the building lobby routinely flooded.  I spent forever analyzing and arguing about the construction agreement and the building plans in an effort to prove that our client had done precisely what the building owners asked.  It was only when I was reading the security guard’s logs, logs that recorded all these floods and that were a chief piece of evidence against us, that something jumped out at me:  the dates.  What the heck was the guard doing noting major flooding in July?  It never rains in San Francisco in July.  I managed to get hold of weather records for the relevant year, and proved that defective construction could not have been the cause of the flooding because there was no rain.  It turned out that the city’s street cleaning trucks were driving by and shooting high powered jets of water into the building, something that had nothing to do with construction defects.

I mention these cases because each involved taking existing facts and re-framing them so that we were in a strong offensive position, instead of a weak defensive position.  Caroline Glick makes the same suggestion with regard to Israel’s current defensive position at the UN.  Benjamin Netanyahu can make all the incredibly wonderful speeches he likes (and his speech before the UN was great), but that’s not going to change the game.  Glick says that Israel has to bypass the UN garbage entirely:

As for Israel’s allies in the US Congress, they have responded to the PLO’s UN statehood gambit with two important legislative initiatives. First Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bill calling for the US to end its financial support for the Palestinian Authority and drastically scale-back its financial support for the UN if the UN upgrades the PLO’s membership status in any way. Ros- Lehtinen’s bill shows Israel that there is powerful support for an Israeli offensive that will make the Palestinians pay a price for their diplomatic aggression.

Ros-Lehtinen’s bill is constructive for two reasons. First, it makes the Palestinians pay for their adversarial behavior. This will make them think twice before again escalating their diplomatic warfare against Israel. Second, it begins an overdue process of delegitimizing the Palestinian cause, which as is now clear is inseparable from the cause of Israel’s destruction.

Were Israel to follow Ros-Lehtinen’s lead and cut off its transfer of tax revenues to the PA, and indeed, stop collecting taxes on the PA’s behalf, it would be advancing Israel’s interests in several ways.

It would remind the Palestinians that they need Israel far more than Israel needs them.

Israel would make them pay a price for their diplomatic aggression.

Israel would end its counterproductive policy of giving the openly hostile PA an automatic seal of approval regardless of its treatment of Israel.

Israel would diminish the financial resources at the PA’s disposal for the advance of its war against Israel.

Finally, Israel would pave the way for the disbandment of the PA and its replacement by another authority in Judea and Samaria.

And this brings us to the second congressional initiative taken in anticipation of the PLO’s UN statehood gambit. Earlier this month, Rep. Joe Walsh and 30 co-sponsors issued a resolution supporting Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria.

While annexation sounds like a radical formula, the fact is that Israel already implemented a similar move twice when it applied Israeli law to Jerusalem and to the Golan Heights. And the heavens didn’t fall in either case. Indeed, the situation on the ground was stabilized.

Moreover, just as Israel remains willing to consider ceding these territories in the framework of a real peace with its neighbors, so the application of Israeli law to Judea and Samaria would not prevent these areas from being ceded to another sovereign in the framework of a peace deal.

And while not eliminating the prospects of a future peace, by applying Israeli law to Judea and Samaria, Israel would reverse one of the most pernicious effects of the 18-year-old phony peace process: the continuous erosion of international recognition of Israel’s sovereign rights to these areas.

The above quotation is just a small part of a much longer article.  You would probably enjoy reading the whole thing.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    What an excellent point, Book!

    Leaving aside the very good point about the Palestinian issue for now, “reframing” issues may be one of the most important things that this blog can accomplish, by helping all of our Bookworm family to help persuade others as we go into the election season.

    Here’s an example that has really been bugging me: “Clinton balanced the budget and put it into surplus, Obama inherited Bush’s massive deficits”.

    Actually, it is Congress that has the power of the purse. The President can advise, suggest and put forth his own budget proposal, but it is Congress that has to put together the budget and send it to the President for signature.

    The so-called “Bush” deficits should therefore be rebutted by pointing out that the Clinton-era budget incurred massive deficit spending until a Republican congress was elected and the Bush administration /Republican congress was steadily and drastically reducing the deficits under his administration until a Democrat congress was elected. 

    It’s the Democrat Congress that led us into massive budget deficits in both cases.

     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    I mention these cases because each involved taking existing facts and re-framing them so that we were in a strong offensive position, instead of a weak defensive position. 
     
    That’s the ticket, Book. Wars are won on the offensive, not turtled up trying to defend everything and accomplishing nothing in the bargain.
     
    Were Israel to follow Ros-Lehtinen’s lead and cut off its transfer of tax revenues to the PA, and indeed, stop collecting taxes on the PA’s behalf, it would be advancing Israel’s interests in several ways.
     
    If it were me, I would be sending them bombs, not tax revenues. But then again, my strategic philosophy is very different from the Israelis. Which is one reason why Israel is still fighting the Palestinians to this day. They played around for a couple of decades and didn’t finish the job. When you don’t finish the job, it comes back and bites ya.