Modern times should not be called an era of post-truth. Truth is valued. Even those who spread fake news often want it to be believed as true.
And truth is indeed valuable. It enables us to live in a shared conception of reality. It shows that we trust each other. The Hebrew term emet, which is translated today as truth, in biblical Hebrew means trust. Social relationships and societal structures depend upon truth, and trust.
Truth is not widespread in reports around the world about the attack of October 7 and the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. Examples are the supposed bombing by Israel of a hospital in Gaza, which was in fact caused by the Islamic Jihad.
Protests in city centers and on university campuses around the world take a view in support of Hamas as if it furthers the cause of Palestinian rights of self determination. Voices include those of so-called progressives on the left. Cries of “From the river to the sea” are raging. Calls are made for killing Jews.
My recent book The Ethics of Truth recalls the value of truth in society, and the way truth is strongly upheld in the Jewish tradition. I look to the historical of methods deemed proper for ascertaining knowledge of the truth. I pose educational and legal methods for restoring trust in the truth.