When long-standing Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas met US President Donald Trump on May 7, he came out with what we British call a whopper, a huge lie. Here is what Abbas said with a straight face:
“Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace. And we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world, along with the Israeli children, in peace, freedom and security.”
We expect politicians to lie out of all sides of their mouths, to use doublespeak in order to seduce citizens to vote for them. Whether they be government officials or opposition hopefuls, a certain amount of economy with the truth is par for the course. Political analysts and well-informed journalists know this, of course, and work hard to untangle these webs. Facts matter. Sources make a difference. And in democratic countries that value free speech and the freedom of the press, politicians are held to account. Not many falsehoods get off Scot-free, and serial liars are regularly brought to book.