We can talk about campaign management, slogans and spins. But there is another explanation for these changes. The free world is changing before our eyes. It feels threatened. It is growing weaker. After the prime of the cosmopolitan era, which was reflected in the opening of gates, the demise of the concept of the nation, and the rise of the European Union, came the ills of this era. Globalization contributed to the loss of identity. Huge immigration waves deepened the frustration.
In France, several years ago, then-President Nicolas Sarkozy tried to hold a debate on the question of national identity. The intellectuals boycotted the debate. They saw it as an expression of nationalistic chauvinism. A similar debate began in England too. And once again, it was the intellectual elites that preached an “open society.” That is also the name of the foundation established by billionaire George Soros, one of the chief donors of Hillary Clinton and dozens of NGOs, in Europe and in Israel, which are affiliated, of course, with the radical left.
In January, upon Trump’s initial victories in the Republican primary elections, two political commentators from the Washington Post said it was forbidden to say “Merry Christmas” or “he” or “her” at Ohio’s liberal college, because someone – possibly a transgender, or a non-Christian – may be offended. It was a case of insanity which outraged many Americans. To be more accurate, it was the continuation of a revolt, after 68 percent of US citizens expressed the stance that “political correctness is a big problem” three months earlier.
Another milestone in Trump’s victory was written there, in that place. Most commentators kept living in denial. The Republican candidate told Americans what had been banned by the thought police, and he also stooped down to racism. And he was forgiven. Even 62 percent of the Democratic Party’s supporters, according to the poll from October 2015, are fed up of political correctness.
This correctness did not remain in the margins. It went up. In 2009, it was Nidal Malik Hasan, US Army Medical Corps psychiatrist at the Fort Hood base in Texas, who murdered 13 of his friends in a shooting spree. It was clear that Hasan was a “repentant” who had teamed up with jihad. But US President Barack Obama, who quickly neglected his position as the world’s police, soon became the leading cop in the thought police. He banned the use of the phrase “Islamic terror.” He pursued this puzzling policy throughout all his years in office. He even freed ISIS of any connection to Islam. Many decent Muslims found it difficult to understand the American president. After all, blindness will not help the war on terror. But Obama insisted. That was not the cause of Clinton’s defeat. It was just another milestone.
In the name of the same correctness, the support for “advanced” Islamist movements is increasing on campuses, and senior lecturers have become defenders of BDS and the endless lies against Israel. And so, feminist students voiced support for Hamas, although Hamas would have thrown them off a high roof. Most Americans had enough of this offense to common sense, and Trump was there to collect some of that loathing. It was just enough for him.
Three days before the elections, someone raised a pro-Trump sign at a rally in which Obama spoke in favor of Clinton. The audience booed, as expected, and Obama rushed to silence the audience in order to talk about the importance of freedom of speech. The interesting thing is that Trump took advantage of this incident to slam Obama, giving a completely false factual account of what happened there.
Trump knew he was presenting a series of lies. After all, it was all recorded and documented. That didn’t bother him. Because the great tragedy is that the public discourse has entered the post-factual era. Granted, Trump is not a representative of post-modernism, and it was actually the academia which entered this era with the “academic freedom of speech” excuse, but the public discourse – which originates in enlightened rather than unenlightened people – paved the way for Trump.
The lie has become a norm. Professors in prestigious universities lie constantly. Tel Aviv, one of them wrote, is the only city in the West with no Muslims. The Labor Party and Benjamin Netanyahu, another one wrote, support the transfer of Arabs. And the list is long. They lie and they know they are lying. Political correctness makes it impossible to say anything to them. They will also be promoted, because of the lie. Trump took the same path. He lied and he won.
The same self-deception is rising and blooming in Israel. Last week, it was Amos Oz who delivered an enthusiastic speech in favor of Breaking the Silence. The main argument was that the organization’s activists “make every Israeli proud.” According to Oz, they make it clear that Israel is a free country. That is the politically correct thing to say. That is what Oz is saying.
The facts are slightly different. Avner Gvrayahu, one of the organization’s senior members, spoke at the United Nations and gave the impression that IDF soldiers are robbers. Yehuda Shaul, one of the organization’s founders, gave foreigners a testimony about poisoned wells in an entire Palestinian village. He lied. He inspired Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ libel at the UN General Assembly. And after the organization’s representatives were in Ireland, Parliament Member Richard Boyd Barrett said they had stated that everything Israel did was intentional murder. Oz, what a disgrace, thinks that is the way to make us proud.
In order to win an election or a referendum, there is no need to convince masses of people. All it takes is the transfer of a few percentage points from one side to the other. It’s not the ignorant people who hesitate, but actually the thinking people. They are not ardent fan of either Netanyahu or Trump, but the alternative on the left just seems much worse.