One of the things that we teach law students is how to address a jury in understandable terms without talking down to them. It is sometimes a delicate balance in dealing with complex questions or fact patterns. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed how not to strike that balance when he took the entire United Nation’s General Assembly through a “this is a bomb, this is a fuse” demonstration that instantly became a mockery around the world. That was a real missed opportunity when following Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who never fails to offer a clownish, absurd performance. It is one of those debates that you win by showing up and just stating your case . . . until you pull out cutout from the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.
What is odd is that Netanyahu has a strong case about the danger of Iran having a bomb but proceeded in dumbing down the presentation to the point of insulting everyone above the level of a pre-schooler. Did anyone actually watch this presentation in advance? Presumably so given the fact that it was prepared for the event. That leads me to think that people around Netanyahu are either so clueless or enabling that no one bothered to tell Netanyahu that it looked ridiculous. In fairness, one of the aides may have said “Prime Minister, this is a bomb” and Netanyahu might have thought he was suggesting an actual line for the presentation.
The funny thing is that he had me at hello in describing the danger of a sponsor of terrorism with the bomb (though I am against a war as the way of addressing proliferation concerns with Iran). Then he pulled out the cartoonish diagram of a bomb and I actually thought he was making some type of joke. He then continued to explain the bomb with Romper Room delivery to the General Assembly. The only thing that he didn’t do was say “this is Billy the Bomb.”
In my view, it is a great example of losing an audience with you delivery. What do you think?
In the end, I do not know why he didn’t show the actual footage of Ahmadinejad heading out to get the bomb: