Uri Avnery in Arab News. HereYOU CAN lie to all of the people some of the time, and to some of the people all of the time, but you cannot lie to all of the people all of the time.”
This slightly altered quotation from Abraham Lincoln has yet to be absorbed by Benjamin Netanyahu. He thinks it doesn't apply to him. Actually, that is the core of his entire political career. This week, he was given a very instructive lesson. After being treated to dozens of cordial encounters between Netanyahu and Nicholas Sarkozy, Israeli TV viewers got a glimpse of reality. It came in the form of an exchange of views between the presidents of the US and of France.
Sarkozy: “I cannot stand him (Netanyahu). He is a liar!”
Obama: “YOU are fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day!”
That came after it was leaked that Angela Merkel, the German chanceller, told her Cabinet that “every word that leaves Netanyahu's mouth is a lie.”
Which makes it more or less unanimous.
Before proceeding, I must say something about the media angle of this affair. The dialogue was broadcast live to a group of senior French media people, because somebody forgot to turn the microphone off. A piece of luck of the kind that journalists dream about.
Yet not one of the journalists in the hall published a word about it. Because the senior journalists who were present are friends and confidants of the people in power. That's how they get their scoops. The price is suppressing any news that might hurt or embarrass their sponsors. This means in practice that they become lackeys of the people in power — betraying their elementary democratic duty as servants of the public.
I know this from experience. Luckily, with the Internet now everywhere, it has become almost impossible to suppress news.