Ramon Conviction / It Isn't the Kiss

The hero in a Greek tragedy brings disaster upon himself; the minute he does something shameful, his fate is sealed. The tragic figure of Haim Ramon is a victim of his own doing, and not of a vengeful system that was out to destroy him. But his real tragedy is that he could have altered his fate, even after he committed the shameful deed.

The mouth that sinned was the same mouth that could have put a stop to the conviction: had he only stuck to the truth, the case would not have reached the court. All he had to do was admit to the act, say that "I erred" and ask forgiveness from the complainant. Most probably she would have been satisfied, and, in any case, the attorney general would not have filed an indictment (or so he has hinted to reporters).

But Ramon was scared to admit the truth. He chose to hide it, to distort it, to argue that "I have been framed," and in the end to try to discredit the complainant, who did nothing wrong. For this, he was punished. The forced kiss could have been forgiven (had he admitted to it), explaining it as an embarrassing error, but a human one. But the lies and mudslinging that were used to cover this mistake were unforgivable. They were indecent acts that in the end determined his fate. In this light, the whole media campaign in favor of Ramon ("a spontaneous kiss of two-three seconds") missed the point. It isn't the kiss, my friends; it's the whitewash.

This is, therefore, the real mistake of Ramon (and his lawyers): You erred, admit it, even if the price you have to pay appears high. Do not lie and do not besmirch others, because that will lead to your fall. Ramon, a skilled and promising politician, failed in this test. Those who are weeping over his expected departure from the political scene can calm down. He was not as courageous, honest and sophisticated as we thought. After all, it is not such a major loss.

Three clear messages emerge from the court's unanimous ruling: A French kiss without consent is a criminal offense; the rule of law is alive and kicking and even winning; and quite a few reporters need to ask themselves where their professional skepticism went.