I had an argument yesterday with Lady Liberty’s parents where they said you can’t make a deal with the Arabs because in their culture “truth” and “lying” don’t mean what they do to us. Lady Liberty agreed that any commitments from them would not be worth anything. She says that even the most enlightened Arabs, down to the last man, when the subject of the Jews come up, something washes over them and they are in a different mode. Wise men turn ugly, spewing forth invective possible only regarding this subject.
But is it really possible for a “people” to not know what truth is? Aren’t concepts of veracity and commitment and loyalty and reliability so intrinsic that it just isn’t meaningful to consider their not existing in a cultural framework? Yes, I would grant that there’s a sophisticated meta-language for mistrust and deceit, but it’s still a choice. In fact, to be human (and I think this is one of those unprovable things you take with you all along the way) I would say is to be aware of right and wrong, truth and falsehood.