Eitan Haber
Photo: Shalom Bar Tal

The art of doublespeak

Op-ed: WikiLeaks exposed old secret – PMs say one thing to voters, another to US presidents

The thousands of documents published by the WikiLeaks website expose, imagine that, the doublespeak utilized by world leaders to promote their states’ interests.


Judging by the newspaper headlines and newscasts of the past few days, the only thing that interests journalists at this time is why statesmen told the public “we’ll examine this carefully” but when speaking to Barack Obama said “we’ll look into it and respond.” Imagine that, these leaders resort to deception, cheating, and lying.


Yet the phenomenon of doublespeak in talks between world leaders, and especially conversations involving the American president, is so well known that it needs no evidence. We have not yet seen the Israeli prime minister who had not described his vision to the US president or even coordinated his dreams with the White House.


This is the custom: In Israel, the prime minister looks to his voters, makes plenty of noise, and flexes his muscles like a Doberman. Yet when this PM visits the president, be it Obama or his predecessors, he speaks and acts like a Poodle. For that reason, the political lexicon includes the term “Poodlman” – one who barks and even bites like a Doberman, while becoming a Poodle in the president’s presence.


There’s no other way

All the self-righteous hypocrites who cannot bear this truth should be told that this is the only way to manage policy, especially vis-à-vis the Americans. There is no other way. This is the reason why a junior secretary at the White House knows better than Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman whether Bibi or his predecessors pledged to give up Ariel in the struggle for peace.


So what shall happen now? Our prime minister and his ministers are expected to exploit WikiLeaks’ leaks in favor of the State of Israel and tell their interlocutors in response to their questions: “We cannot trust you. Everything leaks over there.”


In any case, doublespeak, for better and for worse, serves policy, diplomacy, and manipulation. It appears that this has been the way things had been conducted ever since diplomacy came into the world and diplomatic ties were established.


Those who see wrong in this international approach, and there are some people like this, are hereby invited to propose another method for diplomatic and security work. In my view, the chance of winning the lottery is greater than finding such way.



פרסום ראשון: 12.01.10, 22:09
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