White House Alinsky-izes Bibi

Alinsky rule No. 13:  “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Today’s news:

Senior officials in the White House have said that Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “is desperate and weak,” in reaction to Netanyahu’s remonstrations against the deal struck with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.

Israeli television Channel 10 quoted the officials as saying “His pronouncements show a lack of self-confidence,” in an unusually harsh personal attack on Netanyahu. “We are not perturbed by his vocal opposition.”

In fact, given that Israel’s former friend just stabbed her in the back and put a target on her for Iran’s benefit, Netanyahu is acting powerfully, not weakly. Weak would be to acquiesce to this evil conduct (and I have mentioned before that Obama has now aligned America with an Axis of Evil or an Evil Empire?). Strong is to speak out loudly, repeatedly, and clearly against a Chamberlain-esque travesty of “peace.”

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit

When a gun is a gun and not a flower

Hippie puts flower in gun
The photo above must be one of the most iconic images from the hippie, anti-war period.  A youthful anti-Vietnam War protester, faced with a ring of National Guard troops pointing their rifles at him, carefully places a flower in each muzzle.  He thinks, no doubt, that the flowers have magically converted the guns into harmless instruments.  The troops, however, know that their rifles are still rifles.  The only thing that’s preventing them from firing is their inherent decency and, of course, the lack of any order telling them to pull the trigger.  The flower didn’t change anything; it’s the underlying morality that matters.

I thought of this liberal delusion — that guns can magically be transformed into harmless flowers — when Hube brought to my attention the clarity with which Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the existential threat facing Israel, and about the West’s passivity in the face of this threat:

“The leaders of the Allies knew about the Holocaust in real time,” Netanyahu said at the opening of a permanent exhibit called “Shoah” in Block 27 at the Auschwitz- Birkenau State Museum.

“They understood exactly what was happening in the death camps. They were asked to act, they could have acted, and they did not.

“To us Jews the lesson is clear: We must not be complacent in the face of threats of annihilation. We must not bury our heads in the sand or allow others to do the work for us. We will never be helpless again.”

To stare down the muzzle of a rifle is a remarkably clarifying moment.  Why aren’t we having such clarifying moments in America despite the Islamists’ relentless war against America and Western values?  I think the problem is perfectly summed up by the young man in that photo:  reality-challenged Progressive think that, by pretending the rifle is a flower, it will magically become one.  That’s not how rifles or flowers work.

Sheldon Adelson schools an Israeli Leftist in logic

America’s not the only one with crazed Leftists.  I managed to miss the fact that Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just accused Sheldon Adelson of using Benjamin Netanyahu as his puppet in this election.  Adelson utterly destroys that canard and, to my delight, he does so in three short paragraphs that are a triumph of classic logic over arrant nonsense.  Go there and enjoy!

Our feckless president

We all recall how Michael Moore mercilessly savaged George Bush because, when the first reports about the 9/11 terrorist attacks began, Bush was reading a story book to small children, and chose not to run screaming out of the room.  Fast-forward eleven years and we have a president who boasts that he’s better than everybody at doing anything.  Apparently he’s now decided to one-up Bush’s insouciance in the face of imminent disaster.

Yesterday was not a good day for America.  First, it was the eleventh anniversary of the most deadly attack ever launched against U.S. soil.  More than 3,000 American civilians died, horribly, over the course of a few hours, and they did so at the hands of people in thrall to radical Islam.  Obama celebrated this anniversary by campaigning, talking music with a pimp with a limp, and by sending a nice message to the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery.  Feckless.

Moving on from past tragedy to imminent disaster, radical Islamists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.  The Embassy responded before the attack by apologizing explicitly for Free Speech and doubled-down on that apology after the attack.  Hillary Clinton — Obama’s highest State Department official — reiterated the spineless apology.  The administration has tried now to walk back the statement, claiming that it didn’t authorize it (something that rings untrue in light of Hillary’s conduct) but the damage is done:

But the damage control being performed in Washington isn’t enough to put the administration’s stand in a positive light. If the initial apology resonated around the world it was because it was very much in line with the tone of moral equivalence that was the keynote of President Obama’s speech to the Arab world given in Cairo in June 2009. Having set forth a credo that balanced understanding for grievances against U.S. policies with a desire to conciliate its critics rather than to forthrightly defend America and its allies, the president cannot now be surprised when the instinct of U.S. representatives abroad, and especially those in Cairo, is to apologize first and to be resolute later.

Feckless.

The news of what happened in Egypt was swiftly followed by a report that “rebels” had stormed the American embassy in Benghazi, killing one person.  It only got worse.  We learned today that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others were deliberately murdered — Christopher by alleged “suffocation,” and the three others by gun shots.  The murderers than did the usual Arab thing of dragging the Ambassador’s body through the streets.  Honestly, they’re so primitive out there that, if it wasn’t for the Koran’s dietary proscriptions, I suspect they would have gone all Aztec or Druid and eaten his heart.

Obama’s response was swift:  He’s heading for Vegas.  He did take time out from his busy campaign season this morning, however, to make a short statement.  Considering that he used this statement to jettison the First Amendment, maybe it would have been better if he’d just kept quiet and gotten on the Vegas plane.

Romney, incidentally, gave a speech in favor of Free Speech.  He clearly understands that yesterday’s events are not the pathetic Arab have-nots standing up against the arrogant and cruel American haves.  Instead, what we saw yesterday was the latest outbreak in a war between the backwards, repressed, bloodthirsty world and American exceptionalism, a doctrine founded on individual freedom, which is inextricably intertwined with Free Speech.

Maybe it’s no wonder that Obama was caught flat-footed.  He’s been so busy with campaigns and phone calls to rock stations and TV appearances that he hasn’t had any time for security briefings in the last week.  Yet more evidence, as if we need it, that Obama’s priorities are all about . . . Obama.  Feckless wretch.

Obama didn’t do any better in his dealings with Israel’s existential nightmare — a nuclear Iran.  The first reports were that Obama refused to speak to Netanhayu at all.  Fear not, Obama fans.  This doesn’t mean he’s too busy to do the really important stuff, such as making an appearance on David Letterman’s show.

When the uproar became too great to tolerate, Obama announced that he spoke on the phone for one hour with Netanyahu.  Think about that:  Israel, America’s only stable, democratic ally in the Middle East is facing a potential nuclear holocaust, and Obama is able to carve out a single hour from his busy schedule of shmoozing and begging for money.  As Roger Simon asks, how can Jews continue to ally themselves with Obama and Democrat party?

Obama is the most feckless president in American history, especially when it comes to the Middle East.  Or maybe he’s not feckless at all.  Worse, maybe this is part of a grand plan and ideology.

 

What? Obama couldn’t cancel one golf game to help save Israel from being destroyed? *UPDATED*

The situation between Israel and Iran is heating up dramatically.  Yesterday, Iran boasted it has a missile that can reach any Israeli city.  For years, Iran has been loud and clear about it’s intense desire to incinerate Israel.  The IAEA has conceded that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons.  With all this, Israel is rightfully nervous.  So, naturally, Netanyahu wants to talk to the country that is, ostensibly at least, Israel’s greatest ally.  And keep in mind that, even if we’re not Israel’s greatest ally (I think Canada probably is right now), we’ve technically been at war with Iran since 1979.

So what does Obama do?  He says “No, I will not talk to you PM Netanyahu.”  And why won’t Obama talk?  Because he is too busy:

Yup, it’s right there on Drudge (in the upper left hand corner): Obama’s “schedule full.” This is a guy who spent more hours on the golf course than he did either spending time at his national security briefing or meeting with his job’s council. So one has to ask: Does Obama think that a potential Armageddon is not a good reason to cancel just one round of golf?

Obama, is a very, very bad man:

UPDATE: How could I have been so wrong? The President didn’t snub Netanyahu, a friendly nation facing an existential threat, because the President wanted to play golf. Really! What was I thinking? I don’t appreciate our President at all. The reason he’s got a full schedule is so that he has to go on the Letterman show. That explains it, of course.  My bad.

I guess he also needed time to spend on September 11, a sacred day of mourning to many Americans, campaigning (although he promised not to do so) and apologizing for Americans’ exercise of Free Speech. What a guy! What an American president. Really, it makes me all teary eyed to think that he’s ours.

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) *UPDATED*

As a Jew, the Holocaust is always with me.  When I whine about something (which I often do), I’m instantly stricken with guilt because I know that, 70 years ago, across Europe, women with lives similar to mine (middle-aged, middle-class) were suddenly pitched into a nightmarish maelstrom from which there was no escape.

Am I shlepping heavy groceries from the car?  At least I have food.  Do those new shoes I bought pinch my feet?  Not only am I shod, but my shoes haven’t been stripped from my body as a preliminary to herding me into a gas chamber.  Am I feeling a bit ill or suffering a migraine?  I could be laboring in the quarry at Mauthausen, starved, diseased, abused, and alone.

I don’t have survivor’s guilt.  I have second-generation survivor’s guilt.  On the one hand, I know how lucky I am and how blessed my life is.  On the other hand, I can never, ever escape the mental images of those who thought they had my luck, only to see it vanish as if it had never happened.

We only think we’re not on the volcano’s edge.  We all are.  It’s just that some of us have lives that allow us to pretend the sulfurous fumes aren’t actually rising up around us.  I may not live a Hobbesian life at this moment, but there is actually very little between me and a moral entropy that threatens violence and horrible death.

One day a year, we take the inchoate guilt and anxiety that plague most Jews (and many non-Jews?) and declare it an official remembrance day.  That day is Yom Hashoah.  With every passing year, there are fewer people alive who have first hand memories of the Holocaust.  It is therefore up to us to carry the torch and try, through the act of memory, to beat back the darkness surrounding us.

Here is my post on the Holocaust, one that looks at those who lived through it, those who escape from it, and those who were pitched into a Pacific, rather than European, Holocaust.

Here is Bruce Kesler’s post about the village that saw his family’s end.

Here is The Political Commentator’s post.

And here is a link to a book that Bruce recommended: Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. The book isn’t actually about Europe as a whole.  It’s about a specific geographic area bounded by Germany and the Soviet Union, but one that tellingly did not include Germany itself or the core Soviet States.  It was in this territory, Belarus, Poland, the Ukraine, etc., that the Nazis and the Soviets put into effect the greatest killing effort in human history, something that would not be seen again until Mao visited his Great Leap Forward on his own hapless Chinese people.

In this geographic area — the Bloodlands of the title — the Soviets and the Nazis systematically starved, shot, gassed, and creatively killed millions of fellow Europeans, many of whom the Nazis shipped in from far-flung geographic points.  The victims’ crime?  They were enemies of the state, whether because they were Jews, gypsies, farmers, POWs from the opposing side’s armies, political dissidents, political ignoramuses, or anything or anyone else the state feared.

The book’s lesson is clear from the first page:  While one can easily find individuals with no conscience, an individual’s reach is limited.  That’s not the case when it comes to a start whose citizens allow it to seize unfettered power.  A state that has no conscience (and when does a state collective ever have a soul?) can too easily become a killing machine.

When savvy people figure out that I’m a conservative, they often ask why.  I think they are surprised when I don’t launch into a long discourse about policies and goals.  I say only one thing:  “I fear anything that consolidates too much power.  The bigger an entity, the more mischief it can do.  I like to keep political power reasonable diffused.  A government should be big enough to be useful, but not so big that it becomes both unstoppable and very dangerous.”

UPDATEBenjamin Netanyahu’s Yom Hashoah speech.

The rhetorical clarity of moral clarity

If you haven’t listened to Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, you must.  And I mean listen.  I’m usually a speech reader, because I read quickly, and seldom have the time or the patience to sit down and listen to someone give a 45 minute speech.

In addition, some speakers have so many rhetorical tics and twitches that I find myself unable to focus on the speech’s content.  For example, Obama, when speaking on teleprompter, has a wooden delivery; is artificially rhythmic, as his head swings back and forth from left teleprompter to right; and he tightens his sphincter at the end of most words, which gives his voice a peculiarly hectoring quality.  Off teleprompter, in addition to that sphincter tightening, he’s an “uh-er,” with the sound “uh” punctuating his speech at frequent intervals.

Netanyahu’s speech, however, was a delight.  His affect was utterly relaxed; his words flowed with unimpeded fluency; his timing was perfect; and his emotional pitch varied appropriately and subtly, ranging from passion, to relaxed conversation, to humor.

The speech’s content matched the delivery.  It was pitch perfect:  Netanyahu flowed effortlessly from one subject to another, never loosing sight of his themes:  American and Jewish/Israeli exceptionalism, the tyranny Muslim Middle Eastern dictators impose on their hapless subjects, and the need for a true peace that involves Arab/Muslim acceptance of Israel’s right to exist.  It was a speech that was fully deserving of the applause and ovations Congress accorded it.

The brilliance of Netanyahu’s speech wasn’t just because he’s a bright man, who’s a seasoned orator, who is (or has) a good speech writer, and who believed what he was saying.  The speech also worked because moral clarity is the underpinning of all good rhetoric.

It’s no coincidence that the best writers on the Supreme Court are conservatives (Roberts and Scalia), while the worst writers are, and have been, liberals (Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter).  Liberals spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pretend that disparate ideas, false logic, unworkable syllogisms, bad law, and twisted facts can come together in a smooth, constitutionally whole fabric.

The conservative justices, however, since they begin each decision with the Constitution (itself a simply written document) as their guide, are easily able to bring facts and law together under that already logical umbrella.  They therefore repeatedly publish decisions that are well-written, comprehensible, and easy to sell to ordinary Americans, without translation through the Berkeley linguistic filter.

What applies to judicial opinions also holds true for political speeches.  The contrast between Netanyahu’s Middle East speech and Obama’s is compelling.  Obama’s speech was the usual platitudinous muddle, with rhetorical fluff about sacrifices and freedom sprinkled throughout the speech in an effort to obscure the speech’s real goal:  to reduce Israel to its manifestly indefensible pre-Six Day War borders.

Obama, naively, hoped that no one would notice.  When they did, he spent the next several days trying to walk his speech back, explaining to all and sundry that he meant what he said, but that they didn’t understand it; or that he didn’t mean exactly what he said; or that ill-wishers (racists all, I’m sure) were misinterpreting what he said.

This wasn’t the first time that Obama — the so-called “Great Communicator” — has found himself stuck in this kind of rhetorical quagmire.  Nor should it be a surprise that this happens to him so often.  As with the liberal Supreme Court justices, Obama’s speeches, which are all intended to achieve goals that most Americans find distasteful, are always a complicated amalgam of false and true facts, unworkable syllogisms, meaningless platitudes, illogical conclusions, all intended to hide the little content and time bombs buried within.

What made Obama’s latest speech stand out was that, for the first time, the world had the opportunity to contrast it with someone else’s speech on the same subject.  Netanyahu didn’t have to rely upon rhetorical misdirection and other tricks to make his point.  Because his speech had a starting point of moral clarity — nations that are built upon Judeo/Christian principles and individual freedom are the best — everything he said flowed without rhetorical tricks, traps, or lies.

In other words, the best way to give a good speech (and, if you’re brilliant) a great speech, is to speak the truth.  That’s what Netanyahu did, and that’s what Obama was and is incapable of doing.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

Other people’s thoughts on Obama’s Israel speech *UPDATED*

I agree with the following thoughts, and pass them on to you for what they’re worth.

From Peter Wehner, giving the historical context that makes Obama’s position appalling:

To be specific: Is Obama aware that Israel has been willing to “act boldly to advance a lasting peace” since before its existence, when Israel accepted a U.N. proposal to establish two states in the region—one Jewish, the other Arab? We know that Arab states rejected that plan, which granted Israel land that constituted one-sixth of one percent of what was known as the Arab world, and five Arab armies invaded Israel the day after its independence was declared in order to annihilate her.

Is the president aware that from 1948 through 1967 Jordan and Egypt controlled the West Bank and Gaza—and during that time neither nation lifted a finger to establish a Palestinian state? Or that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), whose declared purpose was the elimination of Israel, was founded in 1964—three years before the West Bank and Gaza fell under Israeli control? Or that in 1970 King Hussein of Jordan announced a war on the PLO, his army’s slaughtering tens of thousands of Palestinians and eradicating the PLO from Jordan? Or that when the PLO moved to Lebanon and created a state within a state and that by 1975 Lebanon—once known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”—was ruined?

Is President Obama aware that the land Israel won in 1967—including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai desert and the Golan Heights—was the result of a war of aggression by Arab states against Israel? Or that after its victory in the so-called “Six Day War” Israel signaled to the Arab states its willingness to relinquish virtually all the territories it acquired in exchange for peace—but that hope was crushed in August 1967 when Arab leaders met in Khartoum and adopted a formula that became known as the “three noes”: no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, and no recognition of Israel.

Does the president realize that in 1978 Prime Minister Menachem Begin submitted an accord with Egypt to the Knesset that won overwhelming bipartisan approval—and as a result Israel returned to Egypt the strategically crucial and oil-rich Sinai desert—territory three times the size of Israel and more than 90 percent of the land Israel took control of in the 1967 war? Is Obama aware that in the summer of 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered up an astonishing set of concessions to Yasir Arafat, including having Israel withdraw to virtually all of the 1949-1967 boundaries, so that a Palestinian state could be proclaimed with its capital in Jerusalem? And that Arafat not only turned down the offer but responded with a second intifada?

I wonder, too, if President Obama is aware that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally and entirely withdrew Israel from the Gaza strip, only to watch as the militant group Hamas took control and began to shower Israel with rocket attacks.

From Ace, summarizing an NRO article, both regarding Obama’s double standards:

It’s all pretty neat, but these word-choices matter: These words have been chosen carefully. Including the passive/active voice and declarative or commanding tenses. This is essentially a publicly-delivered diplomatic cable.

There are other neat things, but the best observation, to me, is the fact that when Obama speaks of Israel, he speaks in terms of concrete demands that he, Obama, is laying upon Israel.

When he turns to the reciprocal concessions most urge on Palestine, however, he stops speaking in the command tense, stops speaking of demanding this or that, and simply says that Palestinians will do better if they stop killing Jews.

Not that they must stop killing Jews, mind you, like Israel must stop building settlements; just that hey, it would be better, you know? Or not, you decide.

For contrast, the writer quotes Bush, who was pretty command-tense with Palestinians: They must crack down on terror and dismantle the terror infrastructure.

Perceptive. Obama makes demands on Israel, but makes promises to the Palestinians. Tells you pretty much where he’s coming from.

From Lee DeCovnick, expressing a complete lack of surprise regarding Obama’s almost naked hostility to the Jewish state:

The citizens of the United States elected a President who attended a strict Muslim madrassa (parochial school) for two years. Our current Commander-in Chief, while an impressionable young boy between 6 and 10 years old, bowed down toward Mecca five times a day while praying to Allah. He studied the Koran, including Sura 7:166, Sura 2:65, and Sura 5:60 and its repeated calls for the transformation of Jews into apes and swine. Barry Soetoro was   indoctrinated, as were millions of young Muslim boys, in the  same anti-Semitism that has always been taught in the Muslim madrassa’s for the past thousand years.  Let’s be very clear, Barry Obama surrounds himself with anti- Semitic advisors who relish the elimination of the Jewish state, attended a church for 20 years where the clergy spewed anti-Semitic hate, and now bows, scrapes and sends millions of US taxpayer dollars to Muslim countries and terrorist groups such as Hamas, who are the most lethal anti- Semites on the planet.  So where exactly does Barack Obama stand on life and death issues important to world Jewery, since almost all of his public actions toward Israel and the Arab world strongly reinforce this notion?

From Jonathan Tobin, explaining why those who don’t like Obama won’t like Mitch Daniels (include me in that list):

According to Politico, Daniels had this to say about Obama’s demand that the 1967 lines be the starting point for peace negotiations in the future:

What is going on in the Arab world these days has little or nothing to do with Israel or Palestine, it has to do with tyrannical regimes which have really stifled prospects for their people who are now restless for a better life. . . . I don’t think right now it pays very much of a dividend to try to cut the Gordian Knot of Israel and Palestine.

Daniels is right that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with the Arab Spring. But he failed to note how Obama had tilted the diplomatic playing toward the Palestinians or the significance of the 1967 lines for efforts to re-partition Jerusalem (a point that Pawlenty highlighted). Nor did notice, as Bachmann and Romney did, the fact that this was clearly intended as an insult to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who arrives in the United States today for a visit.

[snip]

Daniels has always been something of a cipher on foreign policy. As for his support for Israel, the sum total of proof provided by his friends of his affection for the Jewish state was one speech given at an ADL dinner. On the other side of the ledger, there was his recent appearance at a dinner given by the Arab-American Institute, a left-leaning anti-Israel group that honored him because the Indiana governor’s grandparents came from Syria. While his heritage means nothing in this discussion, his reaction to the president’s speech does tell us he doesn’t appear to have strong feelings about American support for the Jewish State

And once again, Benjamin Netanyahu, beating the horse pucky out of Obama with exquisite politeness:

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UPDATE: From Stanley Kurtz, a little more on what those of us paying attention knew was Obama’s big lie, namely, his claim that he was a friend of Israel:

The Los Angeles Times has long refused to release a videotape in its possession of a farewell dinner, attended by Obama, for scholar and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi. Obama spoke warmly of his friendship for Khalidi at that event. Unfortunately, the continuing mystery of that video tape has obscured the rather remarkable article that the LA Times did publish about the dinner — and about Obama’s broader views on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In light of the controversy over Obama’s remarks on Israel in his address yesterday on the Middle East, it is worth revisiting that 2008 article from the LA Times.

The extraordinary thing about “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Obama” is that in it, Obama’s supporters say that in claiming to be pro-Israel, he is hiding his true views from the public. Having observed his personal associations, his open political alliances, his public statements, and his private remarks, Obama’s Palestinian allies steadfastly maintain that Obama’s private views are far more pro-Palestinian than he lets on.

Having pieced together Obama’s history, I make much the same argument about Obama’s broader political stance in my book, Radical-in-Chief. Obama’s true views are far to the left of what he lets on in public. Yet it’s striking to see Palestinian activists making essentially the same point — not in criticism of Obama, but in praise.

Notice also that, in this article, Rashid Khalidi himself claims that Obama’s family ties to Kenya and Indonesia have inclined him to be more sympathetic to Palestinians than other American politicians are. That sort of claim often gets ridiculed when conservatives make it.

The point of all this is not that, as president, Obama is going to make policy exactly as Rashid Khalidi might. Obviously, no American president could take such a position and survive politically. Rather, the point is that Obama’s stance is going to tilt more heavily toward the Palestinians than any other likely American president, Republican or Democrat — just as Obama’s Palestinian allies argued in that LA Times piece.

And from me, a little finger wagging, directed, not at Jerry Seinfeld, but at Obama:

UPDATE II:  Ronald Reagan, of course, understood.  Here he is, speaking on September 1, 1982:

In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.

Hat tip:  Rob Long, who heard it from Richard Miniter

Oh — and Barry Rubin noticed a . . . hmmm . . . let’s call it a telling factual misstatement.

Bibi’s speech regarding the flotilla incident

I like Bibi.  I have always liked Bibi.  The world might have been a different place if his arrogance hadn’t knocked him out of the running for a while there.  Here, in its entirety, is his post-flotilla statement.  The statement also includes video embeds, so I urge you to follow the link and view the videos.

Once again, Israel faces hypocrisy and a biased rush to judgment. I’m afraid this isn’t the first time.

Last year, Israel acted to stop Hamas from firing thousands of rockets into Israel’s towns and cities. Hamas was firing on our civilians while hiding behind civilians. And Israel went to unprecedented lengths to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Yet it was Israel, and not Hamas, that was accused by the UN of war crimes.

Now regrettably, the same thing appears to be happening now.

But here are the facts. Hamas is smuggling thousands of Iranian rockets, missiles and other weaponry – smuggling it into Gaza in order to fire on Israel’s cities. These missiles can reach Ashdod and Beer Sheva – these are major Israeli cities. And I regret to say that some of them can reach now Tel Aviv, and very soon, the outskirts of Jerusalem. From the information we have, the planned shipments include weapons that can reach farther, even farther and deeper into Israel.

Under international law, and under common sense and common decency, Israel has every right to interdict this weaponry and to inspect the ships that might be transporting them.

This is not a theoretical challenge or a theoretical threat. We have already interdicted vessels bound for Hizbullah, and for Hamas from Iran, containing hundreds of tons of weapons. In one ship, the Francop, we found hundreds of tons of war materiel and weapons destined for Hizbullah. In another celebrated case, the Karine A, dozens of tons of weapons were destined for Hamas by Iran via a shipment to Gaza. Israel simply cannot permit the free flow of weapons and war materials to Hamas from the sea.

I will go further than that. Israel cannot permit Iran to establish a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem. And I would go beyond that too. I say to the responsible leaders of all the nations: The international community cannot afford an Iranian port in the Mediterranean. Fifteen years ago I cautioned about an Iranian development that has come to pass – people now recognize that danger. Today I warn of this impending willingness to enable Iran to establish a naval port right next to Israel, right next to Europe. The same countries that are criticizing us today should know that they will be targeted tomorrow.

For this and for many other reasons, we have a right to inspect cargo heading into Gaza.

And here’s our policy. It’s very simple: Humanitarian and other goods can go in and weapons and war materiel cannot. And we do let civilian goods into Gaza. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Each week, an average of ten thousand tons of goods enter Gaza. There’s no shortage of food. There’s no shortage of medicine. There’s no shortage of other goods.

On this occasion too, we made several offers – offers to deliver the goods on board the flotilla to Gaza after a security inspection. Egypt made similar offers. And these offers were rejected time and again.

So our naval personnel had no choice but to board these vessels. Now, on five of the vessels, our seamen were not met by any serious violence and as a result, there were no serious injuries aboard those ships. But on the largest ship, something very different happened.

Our naval personnel, just as they landed on the ship – you can see this in the videos – the first soldier – they were met with a vicious mob. They were stabbed, they were clubbed, they were fired upon. I talked to some of these soldiers. One was shot in the stomach, one was shot in the knee. They were going to be killed and they had to act in self-defense.

(Video embed)

It is very clear to us that the attackers had prepared their violent action in advance. They were members of an extremist group that has supported international terrorist organizations and today support the terrorist organization called Hamas. They brought with them in advance knives, steel rods, other weapons. They chanted battle cries against the Jews. You can hear this on the tapes that have been released.

This was not a love boat. This was a hate boat. These weren’t pacifists. These weren’t peace activists. These were violent supporters of terrorism.

I think that the evidence that the lives of the Israeli seamen were in danger is crystal clear. If you’re a fair-minded observer and you look at those videos, you know this simple truth. But I regret to say that for many in the international community, no evidence is needed. Israel is guilty until proven guilty.

Once again, Israel is told that it has a right to defend itself but is condemned every time it exercises that right. Now you know that a right that you cannot exercise is meaningless. And you know that the way we exercise it – under these conditions of duress, under the rocketing of our cities, under the impending killing of our soldiers – you know that we exercise it in a way that is commensurate with any international standard. I have spoken to leading leaders of the world, and I say the same thing today to the international community: What would you do?  How would you stop thousands of rockets that are destined to attack your cities, your civilians, your children? How would your soldiers behave under similar circumstances? I think in your hearts, you all know the truth.

Israel regrets the loss of life. But we will never apologize for defending ourselves. Israel has every right to prevent deadly weapons from entering into hostile territory. And Israeli soldiers have every right to defend their lives and their country.

This may sound like an impossible plea, or an impossible request, or an impossible demand, but I make it anyway: Israel should not be held to a double standard. The Jewish state has a right to defend itself just like any other state.

Thank you.

Jennifer Rubin had only one thing to add, and I heartily concur: “To our Israeli comrades, I can only offer one suggestion — do it in the first news cycle.”

It baffles me how such a smart nation can be so stupid at fighting the PR war, a war that is as devastating as the guns aimed against it. Israel seems at ease with the guns but, bizarrely, the people of the Book seem lost in the war of words. James Lewis has some good suggestions.

Since the IDF is slow on figuring this one out, though, bloggers are stepping in.  Evelyn Gordon starts on the daunting task of debunking the lies.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC

I like the speech that Netanyahu gave to AIPAC.  It’s straightforward and practical.  It hurls no insults, but also pulls no punches and tells no lies.  It acknowledges threats, but responds to them without ugliness or panic.  And it draws big, clear, non-weasely bright-lines, telling what a viable, ancient nation will do to protect itself and its sovereign rights:

In recent decades the hatred of the Jews has reemerged with increasing force, but with an insidious twist. It is not merely directed at the Jewish people but increasingly at the Jewish state. In its most pernicious form, it argues that if only Israel did not exist, many of the world’s problems would go away.

My friends,

Does this mean that Israel is above criticism? Of course not. Israel, like any democracy, has imperfections but we strive to correct them through open debate and scrutiny. Israel has independent courts, the rule of law, a free press and a vigorous parliamentary debate – believe me, it’s vigorous. I know that members of Congress refer to one another as my distinguished colleague from Wisconsin or the distinguished Senator from California.

Members of the Obama Administration,
Senators,
Members of Congress,
Ambassadors,
Leaders of AIPAC,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the world faces monumental challenges, I know that Israel and America will face them together. We stand together because we are fired by the same ideals and inspired by the same dream – the dream of achieving security, prosperity and peace. This dream seemed impossible to many Jews a century ago.

This month, my father celebrated his one-hundredth birthday. When he was born, the Czars ruled Russia, the British Empire spanned the globe and the Ottomans ruled the Middle East. During his lifetime, all of these empires collapsed, other powers rose and fell, and the Jewish destiny swung from despair to a new hope – the rebirth of the Jewish state. For the first time in two thousand years, a sovereign Jewish people could defend themselves against attack.

Before that, we were subjected to unremitting savagery: the bloodletting of the Middle Ages, the expulsion of the Jews from England, Spain and Portugal, the wholesale slaughter of the Jews of the Ukraine, the pogroms in Russia, culminating in the greatest evil of all – the Holocaust. The founding of Israel did not stop the attacks against the Jews. It merely gave the Jews the power to defend themselves against those attacks.

My friends,

I want to tell you about the day when I fully understood the depth of this transformation. It was the day I met Shlomit Vilmosh over forty years ago. I served with her son, Haim, in the same elite unit in the army. During a battle in 1969, Haim was killed by a burst of gunfire. At his funeral, I discovered that Haim was born shortly after his mother and father had been freed from the death camps of Europe. Had he been born two years before, this daring young officer would have been tossed into the ovens like a million other Jewish children. Haim’s mother Shlomit told me that though she was in great anguish, she was proud. At least, she said, my son fell wearing the uniform of a Jewish soldier defending the Jewish state.

Time and again the Israeli army was forced to repel attacks of much larger enemies determined to destroy us. Recognizing that we could not be defeated in battle, Egypt and Jordan, embraced the path of peace. Yet there are those who continue the assault against the Jewish state and who openly call for our destruction. They seek to achieve this goal through terrorism, missile attacks and most recently by seeking to develop atomic weapons.

The ingathering of the Jewish people to Israel has not deterred these fanatics. In fact, it has only whetted their appetite. Iran’s rulers say “Israel is a one bomb country.” The head of Hezbollah says: “If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

My friends,

These are unpleasant facts, but they are the facts. The greatest threat to any living organism or nation is not to recognize danger in time. Seventy-five years ago, the leading powers in the world put their heads in the sand. Untold millions died in the war that followed. Ultimately, two of history’s greatest leaders helped turn the tide. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save the world. But they were too late to save six million of my own people.

The future of the Jewish state can never depend on the goodwill of even the greatest of men. Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.

Today, an unprecedented threat to humanity looms large. A radical Iranian regime armed with nuclear weapons could bring an end to the era of nuclear peace the world has enjoyed for the last 65 years. Such a regime could provide nuclear weapons to terrorists and might even be tempted to use them itself. Our world would never be the same. Iran’s brazen bid to develop nuclear weapons is first and foremost a threat to Israel, but it is also a grave threat to the region and to the world. Israel expects the international community to act swiftly and decisively to thwart this danger. But we will always reserve the right to defend ourselves.

We must also defend ourselves against the lies and vilifications. Throughout history, the slanders against the Jewish people always preceded the physical assaults against them and were used to justify them. The Jews were called the well-poisoners of mankind, the fomenters of instability, the source of all evil under the sun. Like the physical assaults, these libelous attacks against the Jewish people did not end with the creation of Israel. For a time after World War Two, overt anti-Semitism was held in check by the shame and shock of the Holocaust. But only for a time.

Obama and Israel

Caroline Glick spells out what Obama has done:

Obama’s ultimatum makes clear that mediating peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not a goal he is interested in achieving.

Obama’s new demands follow the months of American pressure that eventually coerced Netanyahu into announcing both his support for a Palestinian state and a 10-month ban on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. No previous Israeli government had ever been asked to make the latter concession.

Netanyahu was led to believe that in return for these concessions Obama would begin behaving like the credible mediator his predecessors were. But instead of acting like his predecessors, Obama has behaved like the Palestinians. Rather than reward Netanyahu for taking a risk for peace, Obama has, in the model of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, pocketed Netanyahu’s concessions and escalated his demands. This is not the behavior of a mediator. This is the behavior of an adversary.

With the US president treating Israel like an enemy, the Palestinians have no reason to agree to sit down and negotiate. Indeed, they have no choice but to declare war.

And so, in the wake of Obama’s onslaught on Israel’s right to Jerusalem, Palestinian incitement against Israel and Jews has risen to levels not seen since the outbreak of the last terror war in September 2000. And just as night follows day, that incitement has led to violence. This week’s Arab riots from Jerusalem to Jaffa, and the renewed rocket offensive from Gaza are directly related to Obama’s malicious attacks on Israel.

And she posits why Obama has done it.  Here are just two of her (not mutually exclusive) theories:

First, Obama’s assault on Israel is likely related to the failure of his Iran policy. Over the past week, senior administration officials including Gen. David Petraeus have made viciously defamatory attacks on Israel, insinuating that the construction of homes for Jews in Jerusalem is a primary cause for bad behavior on the part of Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. By this line of thinking, if Israel simply returned to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, Iran’s centrifuges would stop spinning, and Syria, al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would all beat their swords into plowshares.

[snip]

The final explanation for Obama’s behavior is that he is using his manufactured crisis to justify adopting an overtly anti-Israel position vis-à-vis the Palestinians. On Thursday, The New York Times reported that administration officials are considering having Obama present his own “peace plan.” Given the administration’s denial of Israel’s right to Jerusalem, an “Obama plan,” would doubtless require Israel to withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines and expel some 700,000 Jews from their homes.

Likewise, the crisis Obama has manufactured with Israel could pave the way for him to recognize a Palestinian state if the Palestinians follow through on their threat to unilaterally declare statehood next year regardless of the status of negotiations with Israel. Such a US move could in turn lead to the deployment of US forces in Judea and Samaria to “protect” the unilaterally declared Palestinian state from Israel.

Lastly, Glick looks at Netanyahu’s increasingly narrow range of options.  I think the second piece of advice is the most important:

Second, Netanyahu must remember that Obama’s hostility toward Israel is not shared by the majority of Americans. Netanyahu’s goal must be to strengthen and increase the majority of Americans who support Israel. To this end, Netanyahu must go to Washington next week and speak at the annual AIPAC conference as planned, despite the administration’s threat to boycott him.

Read the whole thing here.

I have nothing to add to this.

Hat tip:  Sadie

Grading Netanyahu’s speech

I commented on and graded Obama’s much heralded speech to the Muslim world, so I think it only fair to grade Bibi’s speech, which is directed to much the same audience (plus the western world, too).  As I did with Obama’s speech, I’m making me comments in real time, without having read ahead, so every phrase is taken on its own terms, without the benefit of subsequent information.  The summary in the next two paragraphs is something I wrote after inserting my red font comments in the speech.

I give Bibi’s speech an “A” for factual accuracy, structure, logic, and intelligent national self-interest.  Bibi sets out his goals, lays out his facts, and establishes his conditions.  Bottom line:  The precondition for any negotiations with the Palestinians is their recognition of Israel’s right to exist, coupled with an end to the killing.  If Palestinians will do that, Israel will bow to the two state solution (which will no longer be a suicide pact on Israel’s part), and it will work in every way to strengthen the Palestinian economic position.

The speech is also a very polite slap in the face to Obama.  Bibi corrects error after error in Obama’s speech, reminds everyone about modern Israel’s contributions to the world (without even mentioning the Jews’ wider contribution in terms of Western monotheism, justice and morality), and calls Obama out on his campaign promise that Jerusalem will never be divided.

Obama should be humiliated by this speech but Bibi is counting on Obama’s narcissistic egotism to isolate him from feelings of shame.  What we hope happens, though, is that Jews will realize that one man speaks truth, and one man doesn’t.

And now the speech:

*********************************************************

Honored guests, citizens of Israel.

Peace was always the desire of our people. Our prophets had a vision of peace, we greet each other with peace, our prayers end with the word peace. This evening we are in the center named for two leaders who were groundbreakers for peace -Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat – and we share their vision.  [Elegant opening.  Let's see where it goes.]

Two and a half months ago, I was sworn in at the Knesset as the Prime Minister of Israel. I promised that I would establish a unity government, and did so. I believed, and still believe, that we need unity now more than ever before. We are currently facing three tremendous challenges: The Iranian threat, the financial crisis, and the promotion of peace. [I like speeches that tell you what will follow.]

The Iranian threat still is before us in full force, as it became quite clear yesterday. The greatest danger to Israel, to the Middle East, and to all of humanity, is the encounter between extremist Islam and nuclear weapons. [This is calling something by it's true name.  Interestingly, there is no invective here about "evil Iran" or, on the opposite side, the employment of euphemisms.  This is admirably straightforward.]  I discussed this with President Obama on my visit to Washington, and will be discussing it next week on my visit with European leaders. I have been working tirelessly for many years to form an international front against Iran arming itself with nuclear armaments.  [Interesting that Bibi says nothing about Obama's response.  Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence, but I think it's telling that Bibi is unable to state affirmatively that he and Obama view Iran through the same lens.]

With the world financial crisis, we acted immediately to bring about stability to the Israeli economy. [And I understand that it was a market based reaction.]  We passed a two-year budget in the government and will pass it through the Knesset very soon.

The second challenge, rather, the third, so very important challenge, facing us today, is promoting peace. I discussed this also with President Obama. I strongly support the idea of regional peace that he is advancing. I share the President of the U.S.A’s desire to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region.  [I'm so glad both these leaders want peace.  Is this a genuine peace, or is Bibi being bullied into the Tacitus description of peace as reducing a civilization to a desert?  I anxiously await the specifics.]

I discussed this in my meetings with President Mubarak in Egypt and with King Abdullah in Jordan to obtain the assistance of these leaders in the effort to expand the circle of peace in our region.  [Again, one wonders how those discussions ended.]

I appeal tonight to the leaders of the Arab countries and say: Let us meet. Let us talk about peace. Let us make peace. I am willing to meet at any time, at any place, in Damascus, in Riyadh, in Beirut, and in Jerusalem as well. (Applause)  [Smart.  Positions Israel as a country willing to reach out to anyone and any nation that it is willing to work with it to promote true peace.  Also, because Bibi is a known hawk, his audience trusts that he won't sell Israel down the river.]

I call upon the leaders of the Arab countries to join together with the Palestinians and with us to promote economic peace. Economic peace is not a substitute for peace, but it is a very important component in achieving it. Together we can advance projects that can overcome the problems facing our region. For example, water desalinization. And we can utilize the advantages of our region, such as maximizing the use of solar energy, or utilizing its geographical advantages to lay pipelines, pipelines to Africa and Europe.  [Implies that peace is possible with less pressure on natural resources.  With many enemies this might be true, as a struggle for precious resources is often a trigger for war.  Here, of course, Israel faces an enemy that seeks its existential annihilation, without regard to water rights.  The fact that the Palestinians have burned through billions of dollars without becoming economically viable suggests that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in actual nation building.  They are religious nihilists.  So, to me, this sounds good but is functionally meaningless.]

Together we can realize the initiatives that I see in the Persian Gulf, which amaze the entire world, and also amaze me. I call upon the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world, to come and invest here, to assist the Palestinians and us, to give the economy a jump-start. Together we can develop industrial zones, we can create thousands of jobs, and foster tourism that will draw millions, people who want to walk in the footsteps of history, in Nazareth and Bethlehem, in the heights of Jericho and on the walls of Jerusalem, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and at the baptismal site of the Jordan. There is a huge potential for the development of tourism potential here. If you only agree to work together.  [See above.]

I appeal to you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. Let us begin peace negotiations immediately without prior conditions. Israel is committed to international agreements, and expects all sides to fulfill their obligations.  [Again, probably wise for Bibi to say loud and clear to the world that it's not Israel that wants war -- but that Israel expects an equal negotiating partner.]

I say to the Palestinians: We want to live with you in peace, quiet, and good neighborly relations. We want our children and your children to ‘know war no more.’  [This has always been Israel's want.  I don't think the world can hear this often enough.]

We do not want parents and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, to know the sorrow of bereavement. We want our children to dream of a better future for humankind. We want us and our neighbors to devote our efforts to ‘plowshares and pruning hooks’ and not to ?swords and spears?? I know the terror of war, I participated in battles, I lost good friends who fell [in battle], I lost a brother. I saw the pain of bereaved families from up close ? very many times. I do not want war. No one in Israel wants war. (Applause)  [True, although I doubt this statement will penetrate the brains of those in the West who believe that Palestinians are peace-loving and Israelis are war-mongering -- all evidence to the contrary.]

Let us join hands and work together in peace, together with our neighbors. There is no limit to the flourishing growth that we can achieve for both peoples – in the economy, in agriculture, in commerce, tourism, education – but, above all, in the ability to give our younger generation hope to live in a place that?s good to live in, a life of creative work, a peaceful life with much of interest, with opportunity and hope.  [Ditto to all of the above comments re Bibi's reiterated desire for peace.]

Friends, with the advantages of peace so clear, so obvious, we must ask ourselves why is peace still so far from us, even though our hands are extended for peace? Why has the conflict going on for over 60 years? To bring an end to it, there must be a sincere, genuine answer to the question: what is the root of the conflict? In his speech at the Zionist Congress in Basel, in speaking of his grand vision of a Jewish homeland for the Jewish People, Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the State of Israel, said: This is so big, we must talk about it only in the simplest words possible.  [Good question.  What's Bibi's answer.]

I now am asking that when we speak of the huge challenge of peace, we must use the simplest words possible, using person to person terms. Even with our eyes on the horizon, we must have our feet on the ground, firmly rooted in truth. The simple truth is that the root of the conflict has been ? and remains – the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own state in its historical homeland.  [Yes.  This is the answer.  This is an absolute truth, and explains why Bibi spent 7 paragraphs going on about Israel's desire for peace and her willingness to work towards it.  The problem is the Arab/Muslim refusal to recognize Israel.  Jews will compromise by granting miles here and miles there, but to Arabs/Muslims there is no compromise:  Israel must be destroyed.]

In 1947 when the United Nations proposed the Partition Plan for a Jewish state and an Arab state, the entire Arab world rejected the proposal, while the Jewish community accepted it with great rejoicing and dancing. The Arabs refused any Jewish state whatsoever, with any borders whatsoever.  [Correct.  Bibi doesn't need to make up this fact.]

Whoever thinks that the continued hostility to Israel is a result of our forces in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is confusing cause and effect. The attacks on us began in the 1920s, became an overall attack in 1948 when the state was declared, continued in the 1950s with the fedaayyin attacks, and reached their climax in 1967 on the eve of the Six-Day War, with the attempt to strangle Israel. All this happened nearly 50 years before a single Israeli soldier went into Judea and Samaria.  [Correct -- and a pointed message to Obama and others who imply otherwise.  Once again, Bibi can rely on real facts to support his thesis.  He doesn't need to make anything up.]

To our joy, Egypt and Jordan left this circle of hostility. They signed peace agreements with us which ended their hostility to Israel. It brought about peace.  [Well, aside from Egypt's fomenting of violent antisemitic hatred true "peace," he is correct. Egypt has honored its territorial promises.]

To our deep regret, this is not happening with the Palestinians. The closer we get to a peace agreement with them, the more they are distancing themselves from peace. They raise new demands. They are not showing us that they want to end the conflict.  [Factually accurate again.  It's fascinating how, unlike Obama, Bibi doesn't need to make up facts to make his point.]

A great many people are telling us that withdrawal is the key to peace with the Palestinians. But the fact is that all our withdrawals were met by huge waves of suicide bombers.  [And another factually accurate statement.]

We tried withdrawal by agreement, withdrawal without an agreement, we tried partial withdrawal and full withdrawal. In 2000, and once again last year, the government of Israel, based on good will, tried a nearly complete withdrawal, in exchange for the end of the conflict, and were twice refused.  [Boy!  Bibi just keeps spilling one truth after another, supporting his contention that one side (that would be Israel) does everything it can for peace and the other side (that would be the Palestinians) keeps raising the bar.]

We withdrew from the Gaza Strip to the last centimeter, we uprooted dozens of settlements and turned thousands of Israelis out of their homes. In exchange, what we received were missiles raining down on our cities, our towns and our children. The argument that withdrawal would bring peace closer did not stand up to the test of reality.  [True -- and reality is an awfully good standard by which to measure a theory's virtue.]

With Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north, they keep on saying that they want to ‘liberate’ Ashkelon in the south and Haifa and Tiberias.  [Accurate, again.]

Even the moderates among the Palestinians are not ready to say the most simplest things: The State of Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish People and will remain so. (Applause)  [Nailed it.]

Friends, in order to achieve peace, we need courage and integrity on the part of the leaders of both sides. I am speaking today with courage and honesty. We need courage and sincerity not only on the Israeli side: we need the Palestinian leadership to rise and say, simply “We have had enough of this conflict. We recognize the right of the Jewish People to a state its own in this Land. We will live side by side in true peace.” I am looking forward to this moment.  [Good rhetorical stand.  I am willing to be brave.  Bring forward a Palestinian leader who will match me.  He also knows that this statement commits him to nothing, because no such Palestinian leader will step forward.  The current leadership is committed entirely to Israel's destruction.]

We want them to say the simplest things, to our people and to their people. This will then open the door to solving other problems, no matter how difficult. The fundamental condition for ending the conflict is the public, binding and sincere Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People. (Applause)  [This is absolutely an excellent condition to place on the Palestinians.  Palestinian leadership over the years has lied, broken promises, and prevaricated, but even the most duplicitous leader has not been able to force over his tongue the words "Israel has the right to exist."]

For this to have practical meaning, we need a clear agreement to solve the Palestinian refugee problem outside of the borders of the State of Israel. For it is clear to all that the demand to settle the Palestinian refugees inside of Israel, contradicts the continued existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish People. We must solve the problem of the Arab refugees. And I believe that it is possible to solve it. Because we have proven that we ourselves solved a similar problem. Tiny Israel took in the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were uprooted from their homes.  [Good paragraph.  Rejects the right of return (which Israel must do), and reminds the world that Israel, teeny Israel, absorbed hundreds of thousands of Jews ejected from Arab countries seeking to make themselves Judenrein.]

Therefore, justice and logic dictates that the problem of the Palestinian refugees must be solved outside the borders of the State of Israel. There is broad national agreement on this. (Applause)  [He stated his facts, and presented the only logical conclusion.  As a lawyer, I like this way of speaking.]

I believe that with good will and international investment of we can solve this humanitarian problem once and for all.  [Yeah, like that's going to happen.  The international investment will continue to shower money without condition on the Palestinians, rewarding them for their hatred and intransigence.]

Friends, up to now, I have been talking about the need for the Palestinians to recognize our rights. Now I will talk about the need for us to recognize their rights.  [It's smart that Bibi positioned this concession at this point in this speech.  Instead of starting with the self-abasement, as Obama would do, he stated Israel's goals, made a demand from the opposite party and then promised a return should the opposite party abide by really quite limited preconditions.  In other words, in terms of the speech's structure, Bibi did not commit Israel to recognize a Palestinian state unless Palestinians accept that Israel has the right to exist in the first place.]

The connection of the Jewish People to the Land has been in existence for more than 3,500 years. Judea and Samaria, the places where our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked, our forefathers David, Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah ? this is not a foreign land, this is the Land of our Forefathers. (Applause)  [A direct refutation of Obama's statement to the effect that the Jews got Israel from Europe as a consolation prize for their slaughter in the Holocaust.  Obama's worldview implies that the Jews could have been sent anywhere, and that it's not fair to the Arabs that they got stuck with this religiously unclean group of people.]

The right of the Jewish People to a state in the Land of Israel does not arise from the series of disasters that befell the Jewish People over 2,000 years — persecutions, expulsions, pogroms, blood libels, murders, which reached its climax in the Holocaust, an unprecedented tragedy in the history of nations. There are those who say that without the Holocaust the State would not have been established, but I say that if the State of Israel had been established in time, the Holocaust would not have taken place. (Applause) The tragedies that arose from the Jewish People?s helplessness show very sharply that we need a protective state.  [Ditto.]

The right to establish our sovereign state here, in the Land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: Eretz Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish People. (Applause)  [Ditto.  What he could say, but didn't, is that Jews have inhabited the land far longer than either Arabs or Muslims.]

As the first PM David Ben Gurion in the declaration of the State, the State of Israel was established here in Eretz Israel, where the People of Israel created the Book of Books, and gave it to the world.  [Ditto.]

But, friends, we must state the whole truth here. The truth is that in the area of our homeland, in the heart of our Jewish Homeland, now lives a large population of Palestinians. We do not want to rule over them. We do not want to run their lives. We do not want to force our flag and our culture on them. In my vision of peace, there are two free peoples living side by side in this small land, with good neighborly relations and mutual respect, each with its flag, anthem and government, with neither one threatening its neighbor?s security and existence.  [This vision is acceptable at this point in the speech because it follows, rather than precedes, a demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel and cease constant warfare against the Jewish people.]

These two facts ? our link to the Land of Israel, and the Palestinian population who live here, have created deep disagreements within Israeli society. But the truth is that we have much more unity than disagreement.  [Acknowledgment of political realities.  Let's see where he goes with it.]

I came here tonight to talk about the agreement and security that are broad consensus within Israeli society. This is what guides our policy. This policy must take into account the international situation. We have to recognize international agreements but also principles important to the State of Israel. I spoke tonight about the first principle – recognition. Palestinians must truly recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. The second principle is demilitarization. Any area in Palestinian hands has to be demilitarization, with solid security measures. Without this condition, there is a real fear that there will be an armed Palestinian state which will become a terrorist base against Israel, as happened in Gaza. We do not want missiles on Petah Tikva, or Grads on the Ben-Gurion international airport. We want peace. (Applause)  [Absolutely rock solid.  Everything demand here arises naturally from the accurate facts he stated previously.  This is the logical culmination of his two rhetorical threads; namely that Israel wants peace and Palestinians must give up their drive for Israel's destruction.]

And, to ensure peace we don?t want them to bring in missiles or rockets or have an army, or control of airspace, or make treaties with countries like Iran, or Hizbullah. There is broad agreement on this in Israel. We cannot be expected to agree to a Palestinian state without ensuring that it is demilitarized. This is crucial to the existence of Israel ? we must provide for our security needs.  [This statement is good domestic politics:  "All of us in Israel, regardless of politics, want to stop being targeted for death."]

This is why we are now asking our friends in the international community, headed by the USA, for what is necessary for our security, that in any peace agreement, the Palestinian area must be demilitarized. No army, no control of air space. Real effective measures to prevent arms coming in, not what?s going on now in Gaza. The Palestinians cannot make military treaties.  [I wonder if, with this statement, he's publicly calling out Barack Obama.]

Without this, sooner or later, we will have another Hamastan. We can?t agree to this. Israel must govern its own fate and security. I told President Obama in Washington, if we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state. (Applause)  [Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but it's again telling that Bibi reports what he told Obama, but fails to report that Obama agreed.]

Whenever we discuss a permanent arrangement, Israel needs defensible borders with Jerusalem remaining the united capital of Israel. (Applause)  [This again calls out the Obama.  As you may recall, when running for President, Obama promised Jews he would never seek to divide Jerusalem (although I pointed out the dubious nature of that promise almost a year ago), and who has backed off this promise completely.  As for the defensible borders, all nations need defensible borders and Israel shouldn't even be forced to insist on this.]

The territorial issues will be discussed in a permanent agreement. Till then we have no intention to build new settlements or set aside land for new settlements. But there is a need to have people live normal lives and let mothers and fathers raise their children like everyone in the world. The settlers are not enemies of peace. They are our brothers and sisters. (Applause)  [Bibi stuck to his guns on this one.  He will allow normal growth in the settlements.  This is another polite thumb on the nose to the Obama administration.]

Friends, unity among us is, to my view, vital, and unity will help with reconciliation with our neighbors. Reconciliation must begin now. A strong Palestinian government will strengthen peace. If they truly want peace, and educate their children for peace and stop incitement, we for our part will make every effort, allow them freedom of movement and accessibility, making their lives easier and this will help bring peace.  ["Palestinians:  if you stop killing us, we will give you access to our free society."  Sounds like a fair deal to me.]

But above all, they must decide: the Palestinians must decide between path of peace and path of Hamas. They must overcome Hamas. Israel will not sit down at conference table with terrorist who seek to destroy it. (Applause)  [This is another nose-thumbing to Obama, who welcomes Hamas to the discussion.]

Hamas are not willing to even let the Red Cross visit our abducted soldier Gilad Shalit who has been in captivity three years, cut off from his family and his country. We want to bring him back whole and well.
With help of the international community, there is no reason why we can?t have peace. With help of USA, we can do we can do the unbelievable. In 61 years, with constant threats to our existence we have achieved so much. Our microchips power the worlds computers unbelievable, we have found cures for incurable diseases. Israeli drip irrigation waters barren lands throughout the world. Israeli researchers are making worldwide breakthroughs. If our neighbors only work for peace, we can achieve peace. (Applause)  [We are a nation among nations.  Treat us as one.]

I call upon Arab leaders and Palestinian leaders: Let?s go in the path of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein. Let?s go in the path of Prophet Isaiah, who spoke thousands of years ago, they shall beat their swords into plowshares and know war no more.

Let us know war no more. Let us know peace

Obama versus Israel *UPDATED*

It will be interesting to see how Obama’s talks with Netanyahu go.  Netanyahu is light years ahead of Obama in terms of intelligence and experience.  Obama, however, has dense ideological filaments in his brain that may render him incapable of deviating from his biases.  In other words, I doubt that anything Netanyahu says will deter Obama from his Leftist belief that Israel is an evil imperialist force oppressing the poor 200 million Muslim nations surrounding her and destabilizing the entire world. What is possible, though, is that Netanyahu, given his smarts, might be able to use an intellectual flank attack to make Obama aware of the fact that his current stance, such as completely undermining Israel at the UN, thereby blackmailing her to yield to Obama’s demands, might be a mistake.

During the election, people who were paying attention warned that, for all that Obama (without any actual voting record to prove it) claimed to be Israel’s bestest friend evah, his record and his advisors clearly signaled the opposite.  In other words, he lied with his words, but his actions were always there, telling the truth.

Those American Jews who both support Israel and who voted for Obama were credulous fools.  The irony is that, having cast their votes, it’s Israel, not these fools, that will suffer.

UPDATEMax Boot provides today’s post explaining why Obama’s approach comes from la-la land.