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Examples of the Election Stratagems in Israel

| On 13, Aug 2000

Jacob Skir yakov_kad@hotmail.com

As told before (see http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/2000/04/c/index.htm),

Sergey Faer elaborated and published 73 stratagems for election campaign (see his book “Methods of Election Campaign Strategy and Tactics” (St. Petersburg, 1998) – http://www.neva.spb.ru/faer/index_en.htm. One can see here the fine merge of TRIZ & politics.

In this article I continue to present examples illustrating some of these stratagems in the recent politics of Israel.

STRATAGEMS FOR STRENGTHENING

Method 10

COMMON ENEMY MAKES THE VOTERS UNITE

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend” – this proverb is correct for elections as well. The voters can forget and forgive many of the Candidate’s sins if they (the Candidate and the voters) have some common enemy.

Formula: You need to find and strengthen the voting motive i.e. the motive of defense against your common enemy.

There are many characteristics for uniting against common “enemy” e.g. profession, age, nationality, sex etc. Every “we” has its “enemies” (i.e. the people aware of their belonging to some community and able to say “we” about themselves – may have common enemies).

Comment. If you have no enemy, you need to find him.

Example. There are two parties constantly conflicting in the today’s coalition: “Shas” vs. “Meretz”. At first sight, the conflict is about the Education Ministry (who has more power in this ministry?). But in fact the real cause is deeper than it seems, because both sides gain from escalating the conflict.

For all politicians there is no enemy greater than apathy. It often serves their purposes – especially at the margins of the arena – to fan the flames of discord.

This is precisely why both Sarid [the leader of Meretz] and Shas mentor Ovadia Yosef constantly and consistently court controversy.

(Barak’s trickiest balancing act yet / Analysis by Sarah Honig. – The Jerusalem Post.

Monday, March 20 2000.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/03/20/News/News.4271.html)

From the TRIZ point of view, there is a contradiction: the enemy’s absence leads to your defeat.

ATTACK STRATAGEMS

Stratagem 26

EMPHASIZING THE ODIOUSNESS

You don’t need to use misinformation. You don’t need to discredit and compromise your rival. You don’t need to fabricate bad things. They exist already, and everyone sees them: those are all kinds of offensive and odious fellows supporting your rival. So, instead of fighting our rival we would help him, and assist him, and aid him.

Formula: Give all means of support to the publicity of the odious persons from your rival’s camp.

Comment. 1. Odious personages attract attention easily, repel some part of the voters from the whole movement, and falsify the movement’s program and style.

2. Your rival now finds himself in a contradictory situation. From the one hand, his further cooperation with the touted odious fellows is not to his advantage, from the other hand – every quarrel with them would serve his opponents: they would call it “rats in the cage”.

Example. The right-wing parties (the Barak’s opponents) published the ads that Barak is “desired” by the Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat, Syrian leader Hafez Asad and other rivals of Israel. It sounded like this: “Arafat is waiting for Barak”, “Asad is waiting for Barak” etc. (i.e. Arafat & Asad are waiting for Barak to be elected Prime Minister of Israel and this would help them to promote their interests).

However, these ads did not persuade the voters much. Maybe, because the voters knew: Arafat and Asad are not really the members of the Barak’s camp. So, this Stratagem was not fulfilled fully, and the ads failed.

Sub-Method

EMPHASIZING THE MARGINALS

Formula. Produce impression that your rival is supported by all kinds of marginal fellows teetering on the brink of the social norms.

Example. When Center Party leader Yitzhak Mordechai made a visit to a Tel Aviv market before the elections, one group of pretending to be Likud activists heckled him. Similar groups (belonging possibly to the Labor party but pretending to be from Likud) even included criminal elements. They were used to spread disinformation to slur the Likud and incite against the Center Party.

(Likud members: PM chose harmful allies/ By LIAT COLLINS. – The Jerusalem Post. – Monday, May 10, 1999)

http://www.jpost.com/com/Archive/10.May.1999/News/Article-2.html

Comment. Every candidate has many various supporting groups. Among these groups there is at least one group of such marginals.

Contradiction Aspect: We are helping our rival and thus weakening him.

DEFENSE STRATAGEMS

Method 54

ALL-PURPOSE ALIBI

If no method for protecting the Candidate’s image is available, you still have the time-tested method of all ages and all countries.

Formula. Shuffle off all responsibility for the Candidate’s failure on a suitable intermediary.

Sometimes, a subordinate (a “scapegoat”) can play this role – the role of an intermediary.

Comment. This method enables the defense in the extremely emergency case that needs the immediate response and you have no time to prepare it, or when all other kinds of defense are not available.

Example. Before the elections there were reports that, if there is a second electoral round for prime minister, Communications Minister Limor Livnat will not continue as head of the media campaign.

There was a feeling in the Likud that if the party or Netanyahu fail in the elections, Netanyahu will try to place the blame on Livnat, who is also apparently interested in running for the party leadership in the future.

(Likud members: PM chose harmful allies / By LIAT COLLINS. – The Jerusalem Post. Monday, May 10, 1999

http://www.jpost.com/com/Archive/10.May.1999/News/Article-2.html)

Comment. This example reveals the Netanyahu’s concern about the future campaign for the party leadership when Netanyahu would need to explain how he lost the elections for prime minister.

So, this method resolves the contradiction: the blow will come in the future, but you should make your response just now.

METHODS FOR ATTRACTING AND RETAINING ATTENTION

Method 65

PSEUDO-PARTICIPATION

We see the voters often ignore the elections. How can the voters be involved in the election events?

Formula. Draw the voters to the position of participation (or pseudo-participation) in the main issue through drawing them into participation in some indirect issue.

Example. Ehud Barak’s ad: “If two hundred thousand men lost their work, why should this man [Netanyahu] be kept in office?”

This ad sets the voter in the very flattering position: position of employer. The voter feels himself free to hire and to fire the Prime Minister.

Contradiction resolved: The maximum of participation through the minimum of interest.

Method 71

BORROWED FAME EXPLOITATION

Using borrowed fame is a frequent method for the Candidate’s image boost. But how can it be attained if the big-name person pays no attention to our Candidate? The particular details are important – they are represented in the sub-methods.

Formula. Making public echo and gaining (sometimes explosively) publicity via another person that is more popular.

Sub-Method

A BIG-NAME PERSON BLOW

A big-name person’s attention to our Candidate is a powerful resource. Which kind of attention – positive or negative – is less important. Provoking «unjust» actions against the Candidate is a very difficult task (there are special stratagems for this). Still some powerful bosses ladle out such gifts right and left at large by themselves. This is almost a victory, however, you must not miss such a chance.

Formula. Using /realizing “unjust” actions of the known opponents against our Candidate.

Example. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to close Orient House (the Palestinian Arabs’ office in east Jerusalem). Thus he wished to demonstrate (a few days before the elections) his toughness to close the alien mission in the Israeli capital.

But the High Court decision postponed its closure… Then Palestinians made a use of this Netanyahu’s mistake. They celebrated at Orient House with cheering, singing, and an amateur fireworks display in honor of the High Court’s quick decision.

Strings of newly hung miniature Palestinian flags crisscrossed the front patio of the building, and shiny black cars of European consuls-general filled the lot, as representatives from the European Union, Spain, Turkey, France, and Sweden met inside with Faisal Husseini, the Palestinian official, the head of Orient House.

Husseini said that he “owed thanks to Netanyahu for giving us the opportunity to give this show.”

So the “unjust” Netanyahu’s (“force of evil”) attempt to close Orient House turned to be a gift for Husseini, and he made a use of this gift giving a big show.

(Husseini thanks PM for the ‘show’ / By AMY KLEIN. – The Jerusalem Post. – Wednesday, May 12, 1999)

http://www.jpost.com/com/Archive/12.May.1999/News/Article-3.html

Comments.

1. At the attack starting your rival (the attack initiator) is interested to widely broadcast by himself the info about the case and the object of his attack.

In the example above, Prime Minister Netanyahu wished not simply to close Orient House but to broadcast the info about it and demonstrate his toughness to close the alien mission in Jerusalem…

2. The impression is made that there are real “forces of evil” attacking our hero-Candidate (although it might be wrong in fact).

Contradiction resolved. The stronger they hit us, the better.

Method 72

BRING THE PROBLEM TO THE FOREGROUND

Catchy distinguished election events happen rarely. How can one produce them? One way is straightforward and barefaced: amazing all by event immensity. The alternative way is much thrifty and resource saving: surprising the voters by your original and nonconformist approach.

Formula. Making public echo via expressing uncommon and unhackneyed opinion to some well-known problem.

Example. The “Shas” party spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is a champion of producing information newsbrakes. He has a colorful history of many outbursts against various political leaders. Usually he addresses mainly the “Shas” party voters – not all the population.

These outbursts may not find sympathy between the wide public, but it is important that between the “Shas” voters they do find sympathy.

In February 1993 Yosef spoke about education minister Shulamit Aloni: he told is audience that on “the day Aloni dies, we will declare a celebration and hold a banquet.” (This woman – Shulamit Aloni – was then the leader of Meretz party, a famous for its anti-clerical position).

July 1997: Yosef stated that one should not walk between two women, just as one should not walk between two donkeys or two camels. He explained that women do not engage in Torah learning and one who walks with them will become like them and forget the Torah.

(He meant not some evil women but just every ordinary woman not clever enough to his opinion…).

(Yosef’s track record / By David Zev Harris. – The Jerusalem Post. – Monday, March 20, 2000)

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/03/20/News/News.4262.html

Comment. If the roused issue is keen and spicy enough, information wave arises. Many of your rivals, political leaders, statesmen are obliged then to express their opinion, and it guarantees public attention not-fading.

Contradiction resolved. Capture the leadership without winning the opponents.

CONCLUSION

This article continues to present the examples of the election stratagems in the recent politics of Israel.

The use of contradiction idea is emphasized in each stratagem.

Jacob Skir, June 2000