Is He Truly A Prime MInister


                      by Kenneth Bagnell


 I know that it’s somewhat abstract but how would you feel when The Washington Post catered to its sophisticated readers with this heading: “Netanyahu’s Faustian pact with the racist right is about saving his own skin…” How do you like: “Saving his own skin….” As for me, I’ve been an editorial writer years ag    o on The Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail. Hence I’m doubtful that either paper would be so crude or rude.  

     The more objective and skillful journalist, Lisa Goldman, wrote a professional essay entitled simply Never Trust Netanyahu. A few sentences will reveal Ms. Goldman’s point of view: “In recent weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown once again that he will do pretty much anything it takes to stay in power. If that means weakening Israel’s relationship with the United States, its most important ally, he will do that. If it means sinking to the level of crude, Jim Crow-like race-baiting, he will go there. If it means telling a huge whopper of a lie that anyone with a reasonable level of intelligence can see through it, he will tell that lie…. The key to understanding Netanyahu’s personality is to take it as self-evident that he cares about only two things: staying in power and maintaining Israeli control over the Golan and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

      In any case, the American press – much of it – does what it wants, as did the influential Washington Post. What do we say to that headline of that paper’s?  I say the major problem is indeed Netanyahu. Himself.  Mind you, a friend I refer to, would support a very particular document with the title Honor Thy Brother: The Strengthening of Christian-Jewish Relations in Canada, 1968-1995.  Reading it again was reassuring. What does it attain? It supports brotherhood.  Indeed and absolutely. I have had the privilege of speaking in the most elegant Synagogue in Canada, Holy Blossom, House of worship for liberal Jewish people. In that era, the leading Rabbi was the legendary and fine Gunther Plaut. He actually helped me along the way of improving religious expression and extending it to all but with no attitude of superiority.

    A friend, who reads much, suggested I locate the recent references that are made by Netanyahu. I did, and to be frank and honest, I was shocked. The son of Netanyahu is up before the court. The judge quizzed the son and the replies were difficult to believe, for they were full of off-color language and a very crude style. One question will be a window on his coarse personality. The judge in the courtroom seems reasonably courteous as he asked this and that.

    One example must do: He is asked this: “What if someone said of you that you sleep around….”

     Netanyahu, the son, replies this way: “They wrote that I am a pussyfoot. F… k them…” (This of course is Israel’s Prime Minister’s son. How do you feel about it?) Those who listened in the room reminded others that his language is “not particularly sophisticated.” I leave it to you to draw your opinion of Israel’s Prime minister’s son. As for me, I find it hard to believe. He could surely speak in decent language. Where’s his father?

      Well that latter question can be answered but the answer is not inspiring. One of the sophisticated journals, Foreign Policy, ran a story with this title: “Never Trust Netanyahu.” I tend to agree except the fact that it ignores morality and, also spirituality. So far as I can infer from the media, the foul language is not just Benjamin’s, but also his son’s. I’m told that he swears not quietly but publically. And his son follows him. It’s no joke and to the dignified rabbis, it’s humiliating. Father is as crude as is son. Somehow the Israeli public accommodates it, at least to a degree. In my research the vulgarity of swearing is beyond my printing it. Can you possibly imagine our Prime Minister Trudeau swearing? I guess not! Canadian Jewish culture is embarrassed.

    I’m sorry but many journalists have little good to say about Netanyahu, but he somehow continues to be the Prime Minister. My research proved the skepticism of the public and the media.     I’m neither surprised nor shocked at the survey polls regarding a crude man like Netanyahu daring to maintain his position as Prime Minister. Just imagine. I took time to list at least the last ten Prime Ministers — a few I knew — but the dignified entire ten would not swear publically some not at all: William MacKenzie King. Louis St. Laurent. John George Diefenbaker. Lester Pearson. Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Joe Clark. John Turner. Brian Mulroney. Kim Campbell.  Jean Chretien. Stephen Harper. Justin Trudeau. If Canada can present such fine men and women to the highest position in the country, surely Israel can do better than it recently did. I thought of a reference a great man of history once uttered, a perspective that is very true. His name was Martin Luther King Jr. a man I knew and he left me with a perspective that is always valid: “The time is always right to do what is right….” Netanyahu might be a wellbeing, but I wish for his silence and not his swearing.

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