Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Called Leadership

This afternoon we were hosted for lunch by Avremi Adamov, an Israeli businessman and signatory of the Israeli Peace Initiative, at his home. The Israeli Peace Initiative is a framework for a peace plan put together by former  members of Israel's security establishment, current business leaders and some others. The plan was made public at the beginning of April and was intended as a response to the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Joining us were Koby Huberman, one of the founders, Akiva Eldar, a Haaretz journalist, Tamar Herman, a political science professor at Hebrew University, and Efrat Elron, an organizational psychologist. While Mr. Eldar (who I have been reading for years), Ms. Herman (founder of the Israeli Peace Index) and Ms. Elron spoke quite eloquently of the initiative and their roles in it, Mr. Huberman's comments drove home something very important.

In explaining that the plan has significant "support" from the Israeli public, he explained the polling they conducted. The poll did not ask whether Israelis supported or favored certain positions. Instead, respondents were asked two questions. First, whether they could "stomach" the positions put forth in the initiative. And second, if people could not "stomach" the positions, whether they had both the energy and the legitimacy to challenge it.

In other words, the founding members of the initiative were not pandering and did not seek to present a "popular" plan, but a plan they believed would be realistic and which they could persuade the Israeli public to accept. To me, this is what leadership is all about.

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