The Netanyahu Puzzle

For many years now, Israel is ruled by the Netanyahu coalition. The coalition is composed of an unbelievable bunch of incompetents, including religious lunatics, right- wing fanatics, who are often described as sympathizers of Fascist ideologies, and a great multitude of petty followers who constantly vie for personal emoluments, and whose greed blunts their cognitive ability to tell right from wrong.

Yet, our Prime Minister is often hailed as an intelligent genius whose IQ score, according to his admirers, exceeds 180 points. Personally, I am inclined to believe that he is indeed an intelligent individual, even if his skills to navigate the nation through the rough Mid –Eastern waters happen to be deliberately exaggerated and deviously aggrandized.

Based on that assumption one may be puzzled to explain our leader’s tragic failure to listen to advice and to timely warnings, and to lead the nation, complacently and obtusely, towards its worst human disaster ever.

A clue to the puzzle does not lie in his sub-standard intelligence, but in some other personality trait outside of the cognitive realm. A clear trail of hints is observable.

The first and most obvious sign of what his personality consists of is his unique contempt for the value of Truth. Politicians often lie, a phenomenon widely recognized as endemic in the normal tool- kit of political survival, but the secret behind this strategy lies in its moderation and in a given leader’s capacity to distinguish between his own strategy of deception and a sober analysis of what others are trying to say. If this sensible instinct is so obviously lacking as in the case of Netanyahu, a chronic fairy-tale practitioner soon loses credibility and is automatically taken as floating in a universe of his own, far removed from relevance or reality.

However, our leader’s stubborn resistance to adhere to the truth does not capture his entire personality. He is not a uniquely evil person, or at least as far as I can tell. Rather, he is an a-moral person, whose only calculations, of which there are many, are purely instrumental. He is interested in political gain, in popular support, or in augmenting his personal treasure of playthings, whether they be monetary or otherwise.  None of these desiderata is reprehensible per se, except that many of these goals are obtainable only through the suffering and anguish of countless other human beings, whose very humanity is constantly abused, ridiculed or stamped upon, whenever doing so serves the utilitarian purposes of our leader. To borrow, with a slight variation from Hannah Arendt’s famous observation, his demeanor is an exemplary case of the “banality of a-morality”.

However, the totality of being human cannot be squeezed into sheer capacity for moderate intelligence. It is a composite structure containing, besides cerebral faculties, a measure of compassion for others, some willingness to suffer a degree of personal setbacks in furtherance of some nobler cause, and in general, a recognition of broader reasons for our human existence. Absent any of these, none is qualified to station himself at the forefront of our bruised camp, and Mr. Netanyahu is no exception.

With this said, it is not too soon to consider the hoped for reaction of the international community to the Netanyahu syndrome. In particular, the United States has vowed to assist Israel to confront the recent atrocities committed by the Hamas. Nevertheless, the American sympathetic support of Israel, noble and well intentioned as it is, cannot remain the terminal phase of the crisis. Many Israelis, including members of our top leadership, are bent on a campaign of revenge, and openly vow to reduce Gaza to smoking ashes.

The campaign is predictably orchestrated by the Prime Minister himself and is publicly supported by a whole bunch of the incompetents that his government consists of. This is not surprising, but it cannot be tolerated as a matter of moral principle. The Gaza strip is densely populated by more than two million civilians, some of whom are Hamas sympathizers, to be sure, but countless others are simple folks attempting to hold on to the primitive style of their livelihood, to raise children, to feed their families and to somehow survive with a modest portion of human dignity.

If the civilized world wishes to step into the action, it is now the time:  not tomorrow but instantly,  when our country valiantly fights for its very existence, when it is critically dependent on outside support, to use this unique opportunity and take a firm grip on this rare moment in time: To pressure the government to both incapacitate the Hamas from ever threatening Israel again, and to save the rest of the population from an unjust destiny of bombardments, elimination of all hope and loss of lives,  and to offer them some capacity of dreaming up a better kind of existence, free of terror, free of religious persecution and fundamentalism, liberated from nationalistic slogans and  free of the diabolical specter of the Netanyahu nightmare.


About the Author
Uriel is an expert in corporate law, law and economics and law and culture. He has been a visiting professor many times in several academic institutions in the United States and Europe and a concerned citizen.