When I was a singles columnist, I became a student of male-female courtship and delved for several months in the pick-up art (PUA) industry. (Read an e-book I wrote on the subject under a pseudonym). This industry has its own lingo, its own culture. But what I realized is that many of these pick-up techniques are based on a basic understanding of human nature.
One important concept to pick-up artists is the “re-frame.” All too often, when men approach women, they allow the woman to “frame” the conversation during which they feel compelled to appease the woman’s point of view to score points with her. Since pick-up artists teach that women are essentially drawn to confident men who display high social value, men should ideally be the ones to lead the conversation. A woman will often test men with annoying barbs or comments to see how well they could match her wit and strength or, better yet, surpass them.
For example, if a man hits on a woman at a party, she could tease him and say, “Do you hit on all women here? I saw you making the rounds.” The weaker man would “freak out” and say, “No, of course not!” He would try to appease her. The stronger man, the “alpha male,” on the other hand, would “reframe” the conversation and take control of it, by answering something like, “They were just practice for you, and boy did I need it!” He subtly puts her on the defensive, with some humor, and he would not only draw a chuckle but make her now feel like she now has something to prove. (Check out the online PUA dictionary for more examples.)
All too often, I hear Jewish community leaders and pro-Israel activists say, “we have to think about world opinion” as if Israel is a man and “world opinion” is an unruly woman that Israel has to court. For example, if people advocate bold solutions to Israel’s conflict with her neighbors, like unplugging electricity in Gaza during a Hamas rocket campaign or recommending the annexation of parts of Judea & Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), the solutions are immediately rebuffed with statements like, “what will the world think?”
Israeli leaders all too often frame her strategies for self-defense according to world opinion when the sum total of world opinion will probably never really “go out” with Israel anyway. By seeking to appease world opinion, Israel sends the signal that she could be treated like a rag. To garner respect, Israel must portray confidence and control of its own destiny. To do this, it must be able to “reframe” with confidence and pride the conversation about its future.
Obviously, Israel’s woes are much more severe than the woes of a dateless dude. Still, Israel often ignores basic psychological principles in relationship building as she seeks to defend her interests. Applying the concept of “reframe” to nation building, Israel and her advocates must stop reacting defensively to intellectual attacks on Israel and instead put the burden of argument on the other side. Here are some examples
Example #1: “Israel is an oppressor”
“Beta” Israel activist: “No she’s not. She really is a great country that delivers humanitarian aid all over the world.”
“Alpha” Israel activist: “You’re right. Israel is an oppressor, if you consider promoting democracy and human freedom in a region that despises democracy and human freedom as a form of ‘oppression.’”
Example #2: “There is no military solution to the conflict.”
Beta Israel activist: “Well, Israel just wants peace but they keep shooting rockets on us. What is Israel supposed to do?”
Alpha Israel activist: “Do you have proof? History has actually proven that Israel maintained sovereignty by defending herself military against all the Arab wars waged upon her.”
There are countless examples, but you get the picture. To defend Israel, both the Israeli government and people that support Israel all over the world need to begin reframe the conversation. By confidently and proudly staking her claim and challenging Israel opponents to answer to Israel, rather than vice-versa, Israel will attract the respect and attention of nations and peoples around the world.
Feel free to provide more examples in the comments section.