Excerpts from an interview with Tzali Reshef - Ha'aretz Magazine 8 November 2002


By Ari Shavit

[IMRA: For some reason this item was published in the hard copy English edition but not on the Ha'aretz website. Given that Reshef openly admits Peace Now did reveal its goals in the past, an interesting follow-up is what the true final goals of Peace Now are and if the wealthy American Jews who have been helping to pay for the "trip" all these years have a clue what they have been actually supporting.]

Our idea was to talk to the public in a language it was ready to listen to and not try to foist on it ideas it was not ready to accept. I called it the principle of the bus: not to argue now about what the end of the journey will be, but to invite aboard everyone who is ready to travel to the next stop. If we had written in the officer's letter of 1978 that in order to obtain peace, we will have to return all the territories and go back to the 1967 borders and divide Jerusalem and recognize the human aspect of the refugee problem very few people would have gone along with us. We would have remained a pure but marginal left-wing group.

Therefore, I was insistent that our message not be radicalized and I didn't want to have my photograph taken too often as part of the human rights struggle. What gave Peace Now its great strength was our external image as patriots and as people who do not represent the other side. We were able to create a label ("brand") that spoke to a great many people. That label is our success. The result was that while the left wing movements in which my parents were members had dozens or hundreds of people, tens and hundreds of thousands of people support our movement.

Question: Isn't there a manipulative element here?

Of course there is. I was a manipulator when I was 24, but a manipulator in a positive sense of the word. I knew back then that if we said what we thought it would be taken badly. To say we have to make concessions is bad. That is why we went with the officer's letter. That I why we took Yuval Neria, who was awarded the Medal of Valor in the Yom Kippur War, and placed his name at the top of the list. Do you really think that I thought Yuval understood more than I did because he got the Medal of Valor and I didn't?

We did it in order to combat the negative image and to talk to people in a language that would make it possible for them to identify with us. You can call it manipulation and there were some who called it opportunism. But in my view, it was a farsighted strategy. I think it was smart.

Ha'aretz (Magazine Section) 8 November 2002


Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail: POB 982 Kfar Sava)

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