From the memo mill
Daily message sheets from the Prime Minister’s Bureau to Likud MKs and ministers, updated to the beginning of the week.
Dear friends and Limor Livnat,
Another week, another batch of enemies, another set of unwanted developments − and new messages for your use.
This week opened with a hunting fanfare that got the adrenaline flowing again and made us merrily wag our tails in pursuit of a new fox. As you all know, after Arad, Dagan, Ashkenazi, Locker, Hendel, Amedi, Obama, Lilian Peretz, Schmerling, the European Union (the full list is available in the bureau from Hauser − if he’s still there), we have a new enemy as of this week: Diskin, as he calls himself.
So, guys: on your mark, get set − kill!
You know the drill, it’s been in your blood for years. Most of you don’t need guidelines, only to sniff which way the wind is blowing. Still, here are a few tips and reminders, to refresh your memory:
1. Don’t act surprised
Even when sudden criticism is leveled at our lord, our lady or his non-policy from the most unexpected quarter − say, someone who only yesterday was considered a family friend, or a responsible type who supports the settlements and the next war − never show surprise: neither at the severity of the remarks nor at the direction they are coming from. On the contrary, adopt an expression of “everything is self-evident” and a guffawing attitude of “Well, what did you expect?” That in itself will in one fell swoop transform the critic retrospectively from an esteemed man of state into a dim and doubtful character who has long been suspect.
“I’m not surprised that it’s coming from him,” you will then say. “It was somehow to be expected.” (For the advanced group, the response is: “Good thing it came out now, before he did more damage.”)
2. Get down and dirty
Do not allow criticism of our lord, our lady or his non-policy to remain naked for more than three seconds before clothing it in the scratchy blanket of “mudslinging.” For “mudslinging” is our life blood, and from every affliction shall it save us. There is nothing like good mudslinging, which presents us as a victim of mysterious forces, in order to increase our shares at the polls or elections. So, wallow in the mudslinging, slide around in it, sling mud at every allegation, assuming it is indeed mudslinging. And never − but never − recognize the feasibility, probability, the very legitimacy or even the sanity of any opinions that contradict ours.
3. Be Freudians
Find the hidden id of the Yid. Look for the dark personal motive that is repressed behind every act or opinion that lies left of Migron: “He is warning against an unnecessary war only because he is envious of the autonomous status of Steinitz or, alternatively, of the spectacles of the minister of energy and water”; “He is saying the country is headed for disaster only out of frustration, because he was not appointed wife of the prime minister / masseur of Noa Tishbi.”
We are aware of the difficulty of ascribing a nefarious motive to those who just five minutes ago were considered the apotheosis of integrity. But remember: Every moment of hesitation or delay is liable to undermine the credibility of the analysis. As happened to our pal MK Shama-Hacohen, who was asked last week on the radio what exactly were the dark motives and “extraneous considerations” he ascribed to Diskin. His response: “I don’t exactly know the extraneous considerations in every detail.” Tip: Look into your own heart − and you will find an accessible, base motive.
4. Discover the charm of formality
“If he was critical of the policy, he should have said so in real time, put the keys on the table and resigned” (in case our ex-friend is maintaining a cooling-off period); “If he had criticism, he should have kept it to himself until the end of his term and voiced it after a cooling-off period (in case the above-mentioned is sounding off in real time or is resigning); “If he has criticism he should have said so out loud and openly” (in case the above-mentioned made his remarks in a closed forum); “He should have made his views known to his circle of friends” (in case of the opposite); etc. etc.
5. Stay cool, even a priori
Commit to memory: “There is no need to get upset, because in the year ahead we will hear strange things about the prime minister, certainly from frustrated still-cooling-off politicians who, to preserve their own relevance, will chatter themselves to death with extreme, frightening remarks” (MK Shama-Hacohen, ibid.).
6. Be fastidious
One of our most effective ways of avoiding having to deal with the substance of criticism is to assume an expression of refined delicacy and refer to the style instead of the content, as in “That is a coarse, unworthy style of speaking” (Yisrael Katz). “Where did he get that style in the first place?” (Avigdor Lieberman). This disgust is especially effective if you yourself are known for your coarseness and tough skin. However, beware of lapses like the one made by minister Yossi Peled (yes, we have one like that), who voiced disgust at Diskin’s style of speaking while comparing him to a mule.
7. Be historians
With every criticism transcend the passing moment and always offer a historical perspective that begins with the words, “I didn’t hear the left wing ...” or “Where were all the bleeding hearts when ...” (e.g., “I didn’t hear Grossman condemning the acts of the spy Israel Beer”; “Where were all the leftist bleeding hearts when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed?”).
As is the way of Likudniks, never say just “He is doing” or “I say.” Take care always to add a “come and” to every verb, as in “I come and say,” “He comes and utters criticism” (“I come and say: If you come to voice criticism of the prime minister, then why didn’t you come and resign before coming to grumble?”) The extra words will give you a few more seconds of air time, and also afford you time to organize your thoughts, or the possibility of uttering something when you have nothing to say.
Don’t forget “I have every confidence in the prime minister,” but let’s not go overboard when it comes to defending Barak. He − like everyone − can come and be the next fox.
That’s it for now. Until the next sheet of messages, we’ll part with “Shalom-Shmalom” (hourly updates can be downloaded at gvirteinu.gov.il).