Moshe Ronen – Yes
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded his speech at the United Nations by urging the Palestinians to talk “dugri.” He used a Turkish world that entered Palestinian and Hebrew slang dozens of years ago. He urged Abbas to talk dugri, that is, straight forward.
The question is whether Netanyahu himself spoke dugri. Did he tell the truth? Was he right?
Any Israeli would agree: Netanyahu provided an accurate historical review that was wholly truthful at the General Assembly in New York. He did not resort, like his Palestinian counterpart, to distortions (“the Israelis are digging next to Temple Mount in order to undermine its pillars.”)
Netanyahu presented the Israeli narrative in a clear, direct way that could be understood by any listener willing to listen. There is no doubt about it - the prime minister was completely dugri.
Netanyahu opened his speech by extending his hand in peace. That was dugri. There can be nothing that is more honest. “I came to speak the truth, and the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace.” These were clear, direct and honest words.
Some will claim that what came later wasn’t fully honest. when he said that up until now, the Palestinians refused to negotiate. Is that the truth? Or did they agree to negotiate, but only based on pre-conditions that Netanyahu and his government refused to accept? In a “dugri” speech it’s a shame to fail in such nuances.
Yet the question is not only whether Netanyahu spoke the truth. He certainly voiced our argument, and that’s his job as a prime minister who arrived at the UN in order to respond to the Palestinian statehood bid. However, he completely ignored the need to move forward and also to understand the other side’s story.
In order to promote peace, Netanyahu should have also referred to the things that Palestinian leader Abbas did not say in his speech. For example, mention that Abbas wholly ignored the right of return. It would have been worthy to mention that.
At the end of the day, such speeches are important for our public relations effort. It’s important that a talented orator who speaks perfect English like Benjamin Netanyahu tells the world such words, “dugri.” Yet it’s more important for him to speak “dugri” behind closed doors as well, with American or European mediators, or with Palestinian, Egyptian or Turkish representatives, in order to do what a captain needs to do: Bring the ship to shore safely.
Yehuda Nuriel – No
At least it was funny. The prime minister stood at the UN podium and declared: “Let’s talk dugri. “
Sorry, Bibi, but you don’t talk dugri, and you have no intention of making peace with the Palestinians. Regrettably, you are not the star of a reality show – this is our life.
But don’t only take my word on it. Ask those in the know: For example, Moshe Kahalon, Gideon Sa’ar and Gilad Erdan, three senior ministers and future Likud leadership candidates. They have been pleading with Netanyahu to lead a historic diplomatic move. The answer you will hear from all of them is “no” – the prime minister simply cannot do it.
There is only one person in the world Netanyahu speaks dugri with: Professor Benzion Netanyahu, Bibi’s father and the “man who influenced me more than anyone else,” in the prime minister’s own words.
Netanyahu senior holds on to extreme rightist views, and in his opinion “the State of Israel is facing the threat of extermination, not just an existential threat. You think the Holocaust is over? That’s a mistake. It continues all the time.” In that rare joint interview, shortly before he was elected prime minister, Netanyahu junior said: “Any territory we evacuate will be taken by Israel’s bitterest enemies. Likud will not be evicting communities during this term in office.”
This, citizens of Israel, is the rare truth of the Netanyahu family: Not an inch. Not on Netanyahu’s watch.
Hence, the entire “dugri speech” by Netanyahu was a masterpiece of deception and an effort to buy time, Yitzhak Shamir-style. Just like the lowliest talkbacker, it included insults against the UN, against Islam, and against the Palestinians (not being present at their speech? So who the hell are you extending a hand to?)
The prime minister must be happy now: Dad, I managed to secure another postponement. Dad, did you see how I spoke with the Arabs “in their language” and slammed them with this “dugri”? Yet the truth is that all these seemingly Mideastern expressions are a terrible, grim Western that will bleed for eternity.
If you want to talk, talk. If you want to shoot – talk dugri.