“Hypocrisy: The practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case” (Oxford English Dictionary)
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A few days ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with two members of the U.S. Congress. “We are closely following the events on the Golan Heights,” he told them, adding, “What we see is that the Nusra Front, Hamas, Hezbollah – backed by Iran, Al-Qaida, and these other terrorists groups – are basically defying all international norms.”
So said the man who had just finished killing some 2,100 people, most of them civilians, breaching every norm of international conduct.
“And I think the United Nations would do itself a great favor if, instead of the automatic Israel-bashing, they actually turned their attention and their investigative committees against these terrorists who trample every norm on which the UN was founded,” the prime minister also added.
So said the man whose air force only a few days before had wiped out whole residential neighborhoods, sometimes together with their inhabitants, trampling quite a few values and norms upon which the UN was founded.
After that conversation, Netanyahu went home. The next day he “expropriated” another 4,000 dunams (almost 1,000 acres) of occupied land to build more settlements, and transfer to them thousands more of his country’s citizens.
Thus, there was not one value, norm, international law or treaty – of all the values and norms and laws and treaties on which the United Nations was founded – that he did not break, crush, smash and pulverize.
One might therefore say – and even with a great deal of certainty – that from everything noted above, Benjamin Netanyahu very successfully meets all the requirements of the dictionary definition of a hypocrite.
But for those who still doubt the magnificence of the prime minister’s hypocrisy, here are some more examples.
On August 20, Mr. Netanyahu was recorded on film expressing his deep shock at the beheading of an American journalist by the knife of an Islamic State murderer. Truly, a wicked deed.
On August 19, just one day before that horrific execution, the prime minister approved the killing of an 8-month-old baby together with his mother, in the hope that the father would be with them and also be killed.
The assassination was carried out. Success was partial; baby and mother were crushed, the fate of the father is unknown. (Never mind. He will probably get married again, and we’ll have another chance.)
Strange. Just one day passed from one convenient execution to shock-to-the-very-core at another execution? And how is the honor of a baby less than that of a journalist?
Perhaps this only comes to teach us a lesson in the ways of hypocrisy. It turns out that, sometimes, when the needs of hypocrisy require, it is not the deed that is the decisive element but the tool. Did you use a knife to kill? You are the epitome of animal barbarity. Did you use a laser-guided missile? You are the epitome of moral advancement.
But Netanyahu reached the apex of his hypocritical abilities after the terrible death of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman on August 22. His face somber, the prime minister declared the killing of Daniel a “double war crime.” True words. He also pledged that Hamas would pay a heavy price. Sharp words.
The catch is that in the 50 or so days prior to that bitter day, the Israeli army killed 10 children every day. At least. Every day. A total of more than 500 children killed. Or – as Netanyahu put it – 500 double war crimes. And who will pay for these?
And that, dear readers, is not just a piece of the finest hypocrisy. That is an impressive candidate to win the title for the height of temerity.
King Alexander Jannaeus, so the Talmud tells us, told his wife Salome the following (more or less): Fear not the Pharisees, nor the Saduccees, but only the hypocrites, who ape the Pharisees; because their deeds are the deeds of Netanyahu, but they expect a reward like Nelson Mandela.
Jannaeus convinced me. I certainly do fear.