The classic definition of a campaign gaffe is when a politician inadvertently speaks a truth that will hurt him politically. The first George Bush committed a gaffe when he said that the idea that cutting taxes would increase government revenue was “voodoo economics.” Similarly, it was a gaffe when Barack Obama said that insecure right-wingers “cling” to religion and guns. In other words, a gaffe is a politically inconvenient truth.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gaffed big time this week. In fact, this gaffe is even more colossal than when he said back in 1999 that if he were a stateless young Palestinian, he would “have joined one of the terror organizations.”
But Barak’s remark this week is breathtaking in both its honesty and in its utter deviation from an Israeli government line that has not only been sold to the Israeli people, but also to the United States government — especially to Congress, where anything from Bibi Netanyahu’s office is treated as gospel.
Appearing on PBS’ Charlie Rose, Barak was asked if he would want nuclear weapons if he were an Iranian government minister. He said he probably would.
BARAK: Probably, probably. I know it’s not — I mean I don’t delude myself that they are doing it just because of Israel. They look around, they see the Indians are nuclear, the Chinese are nuclear, Pakistan is nuclear, not to mention the Russians.
Barak won’t “delude” himself with the belief that Iran’s nuclear weapon program is “just because of Israel.”
Well, it’s always nice to be true to yourself. (After the Israeli right went ballistic over Barak’s remarks, he qualified them, but in such a half-hearted way that it is clear what he said on PBS is what he believes.)