‘No’ doesn’t work for cookies; why would it for regime change?

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What did the Cottage Cheese Protests and Occupy Wall Street have in common? They were all about “no’and spawned NO change.

I’m a work-from-home single dad for three now-adult kids. One thing I learned in 20+ years of parenting is the weakness of “no.” “No, you can’t have a cookie before dinner” is effective, if enforced. But “Yes, you can have a cookie after you eat all your supper” is far better.

It’s about clearly defining a goal, rather than simply setting up a roadblock.

The organizations leading our protests against Bibi, Levin, Rothman and their loudmouth sycophants’ clumsy but dangerous attempt at regime change have made our “no” loud and clear. And I remain 100% behind that “no.”

But it’s time for some “yes.” As I wrote previously and still feel, roadblocks — on the Ayalon, at the airport, or just figuratively — aren’t going to spark real change. Nor do they serve us tactically or strategically. Quite the opposite.

We’ve maintained our momentum with “no” and that’s objectively amazing. But moving forward, we need more than the 250,000 of us who turn out weekly or more at protests. We need a million or two, at least. And they’re out there. But to harness their power, we need to offer the yet uninvolved Israeli public (the future pro-democracy voters we need to convince) not just what we don’t want, but what we do.

And I don’t mean “We Want Democracy!” Because, with due respect to this worthy goal, North Korea calls itself democratic, as do Hungary and Poland. Even our aspiring triumvirate calls their self-serving moves “pro-democracy.” So, I don’t mean vague goals of equality, inclusiveness, and the other crucial tenets of a free society that are quite obvious — to us, at least.

I’m talking about a concrete list. And a short one, at that. What do we want moving forward, after we manage to sabotage the ambitions of the petty dictator wannabes sitting around the government table? Because without a clear list of goals, our current efforts are in real danger of ending up like the Cottage Cheese Protests over a decade ago or the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US. They both arguably scored symbolic victories for a news cycle or two, yet ultimately spawned zero real change over time.

What would this “yes” list look like? I have no idea. There are far smarter people than I who could create such a list. But how about the beginnings of a viable constitutional process with a clearly-defined and obligatory timeframe for conclusion? How about a Basic Law cementing in law the principles of equality defined in our Declaration of Independence? Or a Basic Law demanding full equality of rights and obligations for every citizen, no matter what. These three alone would be enough to assuage my fellow protestors and ensure that the rights of all are protected.

So, leaders of the “resistance”: you’re awesome. Seriously. But can we start getting some “yes” alongside the “no”? It works with cookies. It could work here, too.

About the Author
Steven Greenberg is an award-winning novelist (see , a professional writer (see, and a full-time cook, cleaner, chauffeur and single dad for three young adults (see his dishpan hands). Born in Texas, Steven grew up in Indiana and emigrated to Israel just months before the first Gulf War in 1990. He's a former combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces, who never learned to properly salute despite his rank of Sergeant. And he's a career marketer, who's run a home-grown marketing boutique since 2002.
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