Those who see Netanyahu as Machiavellian, guided solely by political interests, miss his deep need to sidestep the truth even when the truth is unlikely to hurt him and a lie offers no political advantage. A year after claiming that the mufti of Jerusalem gave Hitler the idea of annihilating European Jewry, Netanyahu explained that evacuating settlements amounts to an ethnic cleansing of Jews. What these statements share, together with his insinuation that the criticism of him in Haaretz is linked to the distant Nazi past of one of the paper’s shareholders, is not that they “sidestep the truth” but rather that they assault it as a human value and rationality as a means to achieve it.
These statements can be termed “contra-rational” or “contra-historical,” because even if their overt aim is to substitute one historical argument for another, they are driven by the fantasy that reality is inherently totally subjective and that there is no added value in striving for truth. Listening to the raving of a madman, one asks whether his words have any connection to reality. Listening to Netanyahu, one is tempted to ask whether there is such a thing as reality.