Doug Greener

Saturday Night Live versus Rafiah

My failure rate for political predictions is embarrassingly high, going back to 1967 when I confidently told everybody listening that all this talk of war is a big bluff.  It’s been downhill from there.

Still, I’m a sucker for punishment, so here’s another prediction:  The Saturday Night Live crowd will soon add a new slogan to their repertoire.  On top of “Crime Minister,” “Save Our Democracy,” “Bring Them Home NOW!” and “Elections NOW!”, we will also hear “Get Out of Rafiah!”

There are a few reasons for my prognostication.

First, the SNL crowd believe that waging the war until victory comes at the expense of the hostages.  It’s a binary equation; a zero-sum game.  You free the hostages or you win the war.  In fact, they believe that continuing to fight is actually endangering the chance of returning the captives alive.

I’ve written before about how the PR script writers for the Families Forum are becoming more and more extreme in order to keep the demonstrations in the news.  The most recent tagline was “If there are no hostages (returned), there is no victory.”  This at least makes some sense in the context of their emotions and priorities.

But at the Independence Day demonstrations, there were hundreds of newly printed posters: “If there are no hostages (returned), there is no independence.”  This slogan immediately shocks, but if you think about it for more than a few seconds, is ultimately meaningless.

It’s important to add that not all of the families agree with this approach.  There is a significant number who believe that military pressure is the best way to get their relatives freed.  But this group lacks the numbers, organization and funding of the “Make a Deal NOW!” crowd.  They are also largely ignored by the Israeli media, which positively fawns over the members of hostage families who insist that a deal be made at any price.

A second reason is that the funders and the PR handlers who are running this campaign are motivated by a leftist ideology which is fundamentally adverse to violence and opposed to any displays of militarism.  This is one of the reasons why they boycotted the regular Independence Eve ceremony.

Tying together anti-war sentiments with freeing the hostages is a natural corollary to their way of thinking.  Even in the early stages of the “Bring Them Home NOW!” demonstrations, there were posters calling for ending the war and warning against any steps endangering Gazan civilians.

Third and most importantly, they oppose invading Rafiah because it was a tactical decision promoted by Benjamin Netanyahu.  In their eyes, he is the font of all evil, demonized in words and pictures.  They immediately interpret everything he says and does in a negative light.  There must be an ulterior motive that benefits only him at the expense of the country.  He is guilty.  He is irredeemable.

It’s also occurred to me that the PR campaign to bring the hostages home NOW!, at any cost, is mimicking the ultra-Orthodox campaign to avoid army service.  Let me explain.

The ultra-Orthodox claim that freeing them from army service isn’t only for their benefit; it’s for the entire country’s. Through their learning and their prayers, they – and not the IDF – are actually the ones who are keeping Israel safe, who are saving our collective soul. God Himself smiles on their efforts and protects us from our enemies.

The “Bring Them Home NOW!” crowd also claim that their efforts are not only for the benefit of the involved families. Agreeing to any deal that would free the captives, they shout, is the only way Israel can redeem its soul. True victory will come not through the IDF, but only through bringing the hostages home by conceding to the demands of Hamas.

I’ll venture another prediction that these two attempts to spin reality will be rejected by the Israeli public.

About the Author
Nursery school drop-out, former soldier-of-fortune, Doug Greener has had a checkered career on three continents before entering the world of blogging. "It doesn't pay very well," he tells everyone within earshot, "in fact it doesn't pay anything, but we bloggers, like our fellow joggers, loggers, floggers (most of these are today in Saudi Arabia, Sudan or Singapore), hoggers and froggers (don't ask; active in the non-kosher food industry), foggers and smoggers (most live in Los Angeles, Mexico City or Beijing), and sloggers and boggers (they have to spend a fortune on thigh-high boots!) are very dedicated to our crafts. We all have secret membership organizations which hold riotous parties on every conceivable New Year known to humankind." Doug also blogs on Israeli beer at
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