25 May 2006

The many faces of treason

Yossi Sarid is a clever person. Witty, great speaker, knows to stand for what he believes in. There is one character flaw (to my taste) that stains the shiny armor and, incidentally, did not let his political career flourishing: his enormous ego.

In a moment of hindsight clarity he asks himself (and, of course, the reader):

I was asked to speak on "Treachery in politics." On my way to Jerusalem, I conducted a little soul-searching of my own: Did I betray? I remembered two incidents that raise the suspicion of treachery. [skipping the first incident]

The other case was in 2000. Finally, a centrist-leftist government was formed to be a "peace government." And once again, I slammed the door because I refused to pay NIS 100 million in black money, coalition-extortion fees. Maybe it was the first crack ahead of the great collapse. The horns of the dilemma butted at, and pained, me: On the one hand, it was as if our resignation was clipping the wings of peace, but on the other hand, we were fighting political corruption. So who was betrayed, and by what? Those who didn't hear the beating wings of history or those who did not agree to become corrupt? History has another trial to conduct.

We are not conducting polls here, so it is my personal opinion: yes, Yossi, it was a treason.

Just as a reminder: here is a picture where Yossi sits near the man he betrayed. Not a favorite hero for me, the betrayed. Somewhat of a buffoon, if you will. But the circumstances put him in spot in time where something good may have happened to all of us.

Unfortunately, the same circumstances put Yossi in a spot where his ego and inability to be a man enough to know when to shut his mouth prevented that other man from moving where we wanted him to move.

Still, Yossi naively expects a history judgment:

How can we learn to tell the difference between betrayal that will go down in infamy and betrayal that will be known for its glory? Here, too, the profit and loss test is proposed. If the tested, meaning the betrayers, are going to profit from the betrayal, then suspect them; and if they could lose their world - going against the evil current and swimming against the muddy waters, then surely respect them. That test may not be perfect, but it is a vital aid in judging intentions and innocence. If it is used wisely, it can even beat the judgment of history to the punch.

First of all, the profit test is insufficient. The ego test is no less vital in cases like this. Yossi fails the test miserably.

And another point: history does not deal in trifles. Unfortunately, this is where the betrayal relegated Yossi to. Too bad.