. "The Max Perutz Memorial Lecture: The Archimedean Lever: Right in the Face of Might." International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies: Proceedings - Symposium and Seventh Biennial Meeting, London, May 18-20, 2005. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies
conditionally—i.e., not as a negotiating position but as a final package, and not as a permanent offer but as a last offer for two states. The Israeli public can be won over to the Palestinian side, or to a rational solution, or be made into a peace partner, and can thus be mobilized to exert its own pressure dynamic to change Israeli government policy.
In conclusion, then, it would seem that Palestinians are best positioned to embody the role of an Archimedean moral lever. This not only consists in replacing force by nonviolence as they set about to achieve their human political objectives. It also consists in identifying what form of nonviolent response to be employed would be best suited to the attainment of those objectives. While resistance tactics would seem best suited in some contexts, attraction tactics may prove more effective in other contexts. The latter draw upon two principles: that a protagonist can be transformed (that a peace partner can be made), and that the most suited agent for such transformation is none other but the second protagonist.
Needless to say, a success achieved in the explicit employment by Palestinians of an Archimedean moral lever in their conflict with Israel should prove to be a lesson to the world. It would serve as a model in the universal effort at refining human conduct in international affairs. The super powers could perhaps draw a useful lesson from such an experiment. Rather than being informed by narrowly defined notions of force and self-interest, such powers could see how they would be better served through a peaceful and proactive intervention in international affairs that is informed by the principle of enhancing those economic and humanitarian conditions that would bring about freedom and equality and therefore peace and stability.
Wiesel – From my perspective, the concept laid out here is, in some ways, revolutionary. We should give serious consideration to these issues. It is idealistic to think in those terms, but if we are not dreamers and visionaries, nothing changes. The fact that Sari is willing to put this forward at this time is beautiful as a concept, and this is in tune with this network’s whole concept of trying to assist in various conditions. Are you going to publish this speech?
Nusseibeh – It is part of a longer piece that I’ll be putting out. I’m trying to explain to people who ask, Why shouldn’t we use violence? These people are shooting at us—aren’t we correct in the response of shooting back? Could we actually affect anything? This example suddenly occurred to me and I told them, suppose two people among you were wrestling and one of you got the other to the ground, who do you think has more power? With this story, they liked it. They liked that you can actually tell that, if you are grounded, you have a choice—you can either lay quiet, or you can go out kicking. Either way, you’re still grounded. You can always go back to kicking after laying quiet. Now, for the guy on top, once he lets go and the other party starts speaking, they might actually overthrow him. So, in terms of power, who has more power? If you define power as a choice, options, it turns out that the guy underneath actually has more choice and therefore has more power.
Wiesel – This is clearly something we all have to think about. One can think of Gandhi, who had a similar way of thinking about conflicts and how to solve them.