June 15, 2009
The 60-second Speech I Wish Bibi Would Have Given
Will the speech shift the spotlight and pressure to the Palestinian side? Will it make Israel look reasonable? And will it get positive coverage in the press?
Those are the three measures of success for Bibi’s Bar Ilan speech. The audience? Lions who want their red meat and who won’t be satisfied with any substitute.
The red meat? The words “state” and “freeze”—no fancy strings attached.
My idea? Shock the world: Give them what they want, but not what they’re expecting. No spin, no argument, no emotion, no historical explanations, no tortured selling, no eloquence. No meat-buy products.
Just 60 seconds and 164 words.
Just enough red meat to disarm our American friends, look reasonable to the Jews, and shift the attention to the other side—where real obstacles happen.
And so few words that the main news coverage around the world cover the whole speech.
Power goes to the man of few words.
Here’s my fantasy Bibi speech:
On behalf of the Israeli people, I’d like to summarize our government’s position on the subject of reaching peace with our Palestinian neighbors.
In accordance with the Road Map to peace, we agree with the gradual establishment of a peaceful and demilitarized Palestinian state alongside a Jewish Israel, and we are ready to restart negotiations immediately. We agree to freeze any and all construction in the West Bank that would expand the boundaries of the settlements and prejudice any future agreement. Regarding construction within the settlements, we will continue our discussions with Senator Mitchell to come up with a formula that addresses reasonable and practical needs.
We will make a significant effort to achieve peace, as we have many times in the past. But we must also acknowledge that until there is a Palestinian partner that the Israeli people can trust to deliver true peace and security—from Gaza and the West Bank—any optimism at this point will be premature.