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.