Monday 2 March 2020

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Israelis lie.
All Israelis lie some of the time.
Do some Israelis lie all of the time?
No... but Israeli politicians do.

They can't help it. They try to tell the truth at times but it is too painful. They are indicted to lying, so much so, that they reach a point where even they don't know if they are lying or not.

Maybe that is why President Trump is so highly regarded by many Americans and Israelis alike. Trump has taken lying to new heights. Not only does he publicly admit that he is a compulsive liar, but he prides himself in being so, wearing it like a badge. This trait was witnessed only too clearly by Canadians when Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, came to Washington on a State visit. Trump bragged afterward at a rally that he had lied to the Canadian Prime Minister about the trade deficit, making up information. They all had a chuckle about that.

 In his Nobel Lecture titled “Art, Truth and Politics,” Harold Pinter said: “The majority of politicians are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live ignorant of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us, therefore, is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.”

And where do Israeli politicians fit into all of this? Are they any better or any worse? Let's say that they are tone death. I have seen many an interview where an Israeli politician is shown what he said a few months back in another interview, which is the opposite of what he is saying now. They can't both be right. In one he must be lying. But he doesn't even flinch. "You must have understood," he says. "But it is here, in the public record!" the interviewer exclaims. The politician just shrugs, totally apathetic as to whether he did or didn't lie.

Israeli politicians have also perfected the political lie tag. Their chief sends them out, one by one, to the news shows to push a specific lie, or mix them up altogether. Spin after spin. By the time they are finished, the Israeli public doesn't know whether it is coming or going.

It appears that in today’s world, telling lies has become the new norm, which implicitly encourages us to view honest people as na├»ve and as potential losers. President Trump and politicians of his kind lead us to believe that it’s okay to lie and that truth just doesn’t matter anymore.

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