You do not have to be a fan of Yair Lapid to admit that he is smart and grew up as a political tactician. Political science classes will continue to study the Torch exercise even in a hundred years. He demonstrated not only the virtuosity of the Texans, but also restraint and humility, which do not distinguish the vast majority of politicians.
While it is difficult to know exactly what he hopes to achieve in the opposing government he has set up, let’s say unchecked, that he has managed to stop, or at least slow down the momentum of his opponents. It is quite possible that the swing will resume, but the need to re-stretch the sails is almost always more difficult than relying on open sails. Inertia is the natural option for most of us.
Assuming the opposite government has an expiration date, Torch now has two years in the Foreign Ministry. At the time of writing this list he has not yet delivered a programmatic speech of this kind delivered by for example incoming American Secretary of State. Yet he has said at least one thing that deserves attention: “Democrats [בארה”ב] We are angry, and we need to change the way we work with them. “
The dominant colors
Two years is very little. The Foreign Ministry has been in the hands of the right 32 of the last 41 years. The lords of the firm were often at the national pole of the national camp. A. The Foreign Ministry professionals did not give up on professionalism, adding respect to the flag, but the ministry’s directions and emphases were inevitably painted in the dominant political colors. These colors will be difficult to scratch, or cover with a new layer, especially considering that Gideon Saar’s spirit will soon be floating on the water.
The question, then, is whether Lapid could benefit from a long-term correction of diplomatic culture. This is the culture that has been so good at representing Benjamin Netanyahu’s two ambassadors to Washington, Michael Oren and Ron Drummer, alongside UN ambassadors Danny Danon.
It is a culture of defiance, of teasing, of piety, of arrogance – and of humility. It’s a culture that allows itself to openly interfere in US domestic politics, to elect winners, to share scores, to preach morality. It’s a culture that goes against the manners and expectations of millions of Americans. Do not detract from them.
spar. Mostly to quarrel
Quite a few years ago, say 32, a controversy broke out around who was then Israel’s ambassador to Washington, a professional diplomat who did not serve political parties. He annoyed Moshe Arens, Foreign Minister in the government of Yitzhak Shamir, who declared that in Washington “we need a man, not a boy.” Arens, who knew the American arena well and was himself an ambassador to Washington, laid the foundation for the next generation of Israeli diplomacy in America.
Since returning to the post of prime minister in 2009, Netanyahu has made a sharp and conscious appeal to the American right. He encouraged his emissaries in Washington to do what he himself used to do: sit in the salons of the radical right, flirt with neo-conservative honesty advocates, woo evangelicals (legitimate), provoke growing discomfort in everyone else – and quarrel. Mostly to quarrel.
Public diplomacy has to deal not only with the question of who is right, but also with the natural human expectation that the representatives of a foreign country, controversial and subsidized with special generosity, will from time to time bow their heads, and listen. While listening is not in line with social media habits. The competition on Twitter is about exclamation marks, irony and sarcasm. But if the foreign minister seriously wants to find tracks in the heart of a new democratic generation, he will have to consider a new style; The opposite of the Oren-Drummer duo.
An example of the rudeness of this diplomatic culture and the troubles of its horizons was given by Dr. Michael Oren (no longer a diplomat) on a mocking list in the Wall Street Journal last September. “Peace Industry” “Founded by the Democratic Party. Six weeks later, the Democrats came to power.
Commission of Inquiry?
The next two years will not change Israel’s foreign policy, and therefore will not reduce opposition to its actions in the territories. The question is whether it is possible to benefit in any way to its good name through low-profile diplomacy, which will be cleansed of the rude and harmful aggressiveness of Netanyahu’s ambassadors.
who knows. The changes in Western public opinion do not only concern Israel. Struggles are now going on in America and Western Europe against the very history of the West and against its heritage. Portrait of the Queen Down the Wall of a Famous Oxford College; Slavery is described as the “original sin” of America, of which it must confess and atone; The rise of the West is described as an aggressive act of “white supremacy”; The U.S. attempt to defend itself against Chinese proliferation is described as a racist threat to Americans of Asian descent. Israel is just one component of an expanding anti-Western equation. Sometimes the answer is “anti-Semitism” appropriate; but sometimes it is not the question at all.
It is not inconceivable that the most important task of the new Foreign Minister is to put these facts on the public table, perhaps through a commission of inquiry. There is no point in looking for the Democrats, if a Trumpist mood in Israel itself is discussing the immediate closure of the channel that Mr. Lapid wants to reopen. It would be foolish to assume that changing the tone of Israeli diplomacy in itself would offset the growing reluctance to pursue Israeli policy. But perhaps this will be the first step in an attempt to make listening a habit of criticism, both in Israel and in the dialogue between Israelis and Americans.