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Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Netanyahu a liar? Define 'liar'
(A Rationale Map: Go argue...)
The big news of the day is that French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “liar” during a supposedly-confidential “chat” with United States President Barack Obama.According to the Associated Press, Obama did not dispute this assessment of Netanyahu’s honesty.
Many around the world - and even (especially?) in Israel - are heartily agreeing as they chuckle into their morning newspapers. Some might be remembering another such incident in 2001.The
major difference at the time was that it was Netanyahu himself who was allegedly caught unaware on tape.Wikipedia exposes Netanyahu’s big “but” with this quote from that recording:They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo Accords], I said I would, but… I’m going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders.How did we do it?Nobody saidwhat defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone.Go argue.
It is this type of semantics that probably caused 1990s United States “leading peace envoy” Dennis Ross to note that President Clinton had given up believing that Netanyahu “had any real interest in
pursuing peace.”Here it is two decades later, and President Obama is apparently feeling Clinton’s pain.
So who is this man that causes world leaders to repeatedly cringe? On the surface, his “resume” seems impressive enough.The “first and only Israeli prime minister born in Israel after the State of Israel’s foundation” – Netanyahu served as a team leader in the Israeli Defense Forces, and was “almost killed” while fighting in the front lines during the Yom Kippur War of 1973.His alma maters include two of the most prestigious universities in the world:Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.
Ah - but then there are the glitches in the otherwise superb track record of this ex-Pennsylvanian who “speaks American English with a Philadelphia accent.” Back in those same 90s, being called a liar was the least of Netanyahu’s worries.In 1997, he was being accused of “influence-peddling.”His alleged response was to appoint “an attorney general who would reduce the charges.”Two years later, Israeli Police were recommending that Netanyahu be charged with obtaining “$100,000 of free services from a government
Could allegations such as these be part of the reason why Sarkozy (who is generally known for being supportive of the Jews in both France and Israel – and whose own maternal grandfather was Jewish) called Netanyahu a liar?