ISL: First, thank you for agreeing to talk to us, despite all the tensions and violence.
Dr. Tamimi: You are welcome. I always was a big believer in peace with the Jews.
Dr. Tamimi: Of course not. Do you think I want to get myself killed?
ISL: I get it - you were lying!
Dr. Tamimi: Exactly! The first principle in dealing with Palestinians is to assume that we are lying.
ISL: I'm sorry, but aren't you being a bit too hard on your own people? Surely some people say the truth some of the time?
Dr. Tamimi: In my research, I have discovered that this is not so. We lie all the time.
ISL: But why? And how can a society possibly conduct itself in this manner?
Dr. Tamimi: Have you heard of the story of The Boy Who Tried to Tell the Truth?
ISL: No, never heard of such a thing.
Dr. Tamimi: This is a well-known Palestinian fable. Every child grows up on it. Basically, it is the story of Ahmad, a poor boy who lived in a village near Jerusalem. One day, he said to his mother "Mother, I do not want to kill Jews. I do not want to kill anybody." His mother cried and beat her chest and tore her hair, because she is a good Palestinian. She gave Ahmad a terrible beating, and then she locked him in a cupboard for three days without food or water.
ISL: Dear me! Isn't that a little harsh? After all, he was a small child.
Dr. Tamimi: Yes, but life is hard and the sooner children learn this lesson the better. Anyway, after three days his father released him, but Ahmad was a very stubborn child and he still insisted that he would not kill anybody, not for his religion, or his people, or even his family. This was a terrible insult of course, so his father did the only thing possible.
ISL: He talked to his son and tried to understand his point of view?
Dr. Tamimi: No, he sodomized him. Of course, this was for the child's own benefit.
ISL: Of course...
Dr. Tamimi: But this Ahmad was a perverse boy, a spawn of the devil. Iblis himself mated with a hoary Jewish witch to produce this vile mutation. So, even though he had been beaten and and starved and sodomized repeatedly - he still refused to say that he would kill other people. Finally, his parents had no choice. They strapped an explosive belt on him and dropped him off at the Shoefat checkpoint. When he was approached by Israeli soldiers, his father blew him up, and two Israeli soldiers were killed. So as you can see, the story has a happy ending.
ISL: But that's terrible. What kind of parent kills his own child?
Dr. Tamimi: My friend, you are missing the point.
ISL: Which is...
Dr. Tamimi: That the Western custom of telling the truth is not acceptable to us.
ISL: No, seriously, when you talk to one another, how do you know when you are telling the truth?
Dr. Tamimi: Who knows what is the truth?
ISL: The truth is the exact opposite of a lie. I don't understand...
Dr. Tamimi: There, you said it yourself!
ISL: I did?
Dr. Tamimi: Yes! truth and lies are the opposite, and everyone knows that opposites are actually the same. So, there is really no difference between telling the truth and lying.We reject this false Western dichotomy. Every truth is a lie, and every lie is the truth.
ISL: But, if that is true, then how do I know if even what you are saying right now is the truth?
Dr. Tamimi: Are you deaf? Of course it isn't the truth.
ISL: So you were lying?
Dr. Tamimi: Allah! Were you even listening to what I have been saying? God, you Jews are stupid! Forget about truth and lies. There is no such thing.
ISL: There isn't?
Dr. Tamimi: There isn't.
Dr. Tamimi: But what?
ISL: But, how do you know what to believe in, how do you form an opinion, how do you conduct scientific research, how do you know who to love and marry? For all these things you have to know the truth - the truth about nature, about your feelings, about how others feel and think.
Dr. Tamimi: We live a simpler life. Marriages are arranged - what does love have to do with it? We don't do scientific research so that's not a problem, and for the rest, when your very life and your livelihood depends on what to think and what to say, what does the truth matter?
ISL: So you just say what you are expected to say; believe in what everyone else believes in?
Dr. Tamimi: If you want to live and perhaps thrive, then yes, that's what you do. The truth, as you call it, is a function of power, of the will to kill.
ISL: That's terrible. How can you live like that, in such an atmosphere of fear and terror?
Dr. Tamimi: Actually, it really is terrible. That is why I live in the United States and not in Palestine.
ISL: Seriously? If so, then how did you conduct the research for your book?
Dr. Tamimi: I didn't. I made it all up.
ISL: You did?
Dr. Tamimi: Of course. What did you expect? I am a Palestinian...
ISL: (Whimpers helplessly)
Yes, this is what we are dealing with. This never was a "War against Terror", which is a terrible idea anyway (can you imagine Reagan declaring a "War against Spies" to end the Cold War? We would all be slaving away in dirt-poor communes by now) - it is a War for Truth.
The Israeli philosopher of science Zeev Bechler calls this post-modern phenomenon "Brutalism", meaning that when the moral power of truth is abolished, brute force carries the day (English synopsis of his amazing book is offered by the author here and a shorter review is here). And guess who has no qualms and no moral inhibitions whatsoever about using brute force to achieve their goals? Liberals, leftists, and Islamists.
As a small nation, we will never be able to coerce the world into siding with us. The only thing that we can do is to tell the truth over and over and over again and become, at at the very least, a rallying point for a moral majority, a beacon of light in the world's darkness. That is our role. Always has been, perhaps it always will be.