Lies & The Art of Politics (Yair Lapid)


Fascinating profile on Yair Lapid here at Ha’aretz. Apparently Lapid has figured out how to take the center of the Israeli political spectrum. Conceal your true intentions (in this case regarding the occupation and a two state solution) while giving, at the same time, the public what it wants, i.e. rightwing bromides and attacks against the “radical left.” This may be what it takes, by grabbing the center right represented by the Old Likud away from Netanyahu. Reflected here is the art of politics, the mingling of truth and lies, something that the Israeli left either has either not figured out or refuses to play.

Here’s the upshot from the article:

“This is the 2016 version of Lapid. Attacking and relenting, stinging and stroking, making declarations and contradicting himself. After basing two election campaigns on rivalry with the ultra-Orthodox parties, he realized that to become prime minister he had to change his tone towards them. Since then he has been conciliatory, emphasizing his connection to religion, and making sure to remain in the warm bosom of the mainstream – to align himself with the opinion of the masses (even the belligerents among them), to walk between the drops with statements everyone can agree on to some degree, to play on emotions and patriotic sentiment, and to season his words with a dollop of militarism and mentions of the Holocaust.

In that way he moves deceptively in the space between cynicism and Zionism, between moralism and the double standard: ‘The tactic was to engage as much as possible with unifying issues as compared to divisive ones,’ Yesh Atid’s MK Yaakov Perry acknowledged. ‘It turns out, at least according to the surveys, that the public likes and appreciates that.'”

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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