"Here's a card, pick a card, find the card. It's easy my man, anyone can do it."
In 1993 we lost the country as the left's premise that Israel must negotiate and surrender to terrorism became the dominant national meme.
This idea did not arise out of nowhere. Lebanon had been Israel's Vietnam, the traumatic often seemingly purposeless chaotic war against a shifting mass of terrorist and guerrilla groups, that the Israeli left exploited to create a domestic opposition movement against the very concept of Israel. Just as in America the Anti-Vietnam radicals who had once bitterly fought against the Democratic party graduated to become the Democratic party-- in Israel, the Anti-Israel left graduated to become not only prominent politicians, but academics, writers, educators, historians, pundits and other opinion makers and shapers. The enemy had come to rule.
The doors that Begin had opened at Camp David in 1978 and Shamir at Madrid in 1991 were torn off their hinges entirely under Rabin and Peres who established land for peace negotiations as the definition solution to Israel's existential problems.
A deal would be made and there would be peace. Deals were made by the dozen, but there was no peace. Yet the left has continued to make the same shell game argument, "Do you want peace or do you want war?", the same one made by the three monte card dealer to his marks, "Do you want to win it big or walk away a loser."
"Here it is my man, everyone's a winner. Make a peace deal. Pick a piece of land. Negev. Gaza. West Bank. Jerusalem. Trade it. Keep it. Divide it. Split the deck. Make a deal. It's easy and everyone's a winner."
What the Israeli left and the three monte card dealer knows is that peace or winning it big is a dream for everyone... but being smart and conserving what you have, is dully practical and completely uninspiring. Peace is a dream. Making a lot of money at a game is a dream. Being sensible and practical, making everyday sacrifices and unpopular choices is no one's dream.
And once money has been lost, once lives have been lost, once land has been lost-- a strong resistance develops in the mark to keep playing the game. The very mistakes made by him convince him to keep playing a game he can't win because of momentum, because of humiliation, because of wishful thinking, because every loss convinces him that next time he can figure out how to win despite the fact that the game is rigged and most of all because the longer he keeps playing, the more the game becomes his paradigm, his way of life that comes to define how he lives.
That is the situation Israel is in today. We are losing the country with each turn as each Prime Minister in turn points at a card, sees it turned over, loses and tries again.
"I turn it here. I move it there. See the card. See where it goes. That's Gaza. Can you see where it goes? That one's an end to terrorism. Follow the card. Hand's faster than the eye. Faster than the eye."
The only way to win at a rigged Three Card Monte game is not to play. The only way to win at Peace Accords with an enemy that never keeps its side of the deal is not to play.
That's the practical answer but it's an uninspiring answer. Israel has been lost in turn after turn of the cards. Winning back the country means winning back the people and breaking them out of the gambler's spell.
The "peace camp" has played every dirty trick it has to get us here, from phony parties to phony scandals, they have destroyed lives and reputations, all paid for in EU and NGO coin. They have waged an internal war against the country and with every Rabin memorial day, every song about the dream of peace, every condemnation of Zionism, they are winning.
To beat them the right needs to offer more than warnings, because no one listens to warnings until it's too late. It must offer a vision as Jabotinsky did in his time. It must offer a dream of its own, the core of the same dreams that built Israel. Not a dream of settlements but a dream of a great, strong and prosperous Israel. A country in which every man can feel a prince, rather than a slave of the bureaucracy. A nation without divisions and warring ethnic camps. A nation in which people are not set against people, in which the small businessman can thrive and the foreign investor finds no conquest.
The true dream of peace is not between Arab and Jew but between the vision of a state and its reality.
To get there we must do more than make dire predictions, we must distill our ideas into a powerful and competing vision reproduced through every possible medium. We must locate the sources of potential political energy, whether in Beitar Jerusalem or Breslov and harness them for a greater goal. We must look beyond politicians and party lists to transform the nature of the contest itself. Netanyahu's victory fused some of these elements together accidentally in a minimal way, but their potential was neglected. If we are to win back Israel, we must bring them together and breathe life into them and into our competing dream, in order to win.
"Pick a card. Any card. Peace is only another card trick away."