The Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner articulates well why Binyamin Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress was so damn good.
Watching Benjamin Netanyahu’s barn-storming address to a joint meeting of the United States Congress today, I was struck not only by the forcefulness of his message, but by the sheer conviction and sense of purpose that drove it. There was no teleprompter in sight as the Israeli prime minister delivered a speech worthy of a warrior statesman fighting literally for his nation’s survival. It was in part a response to President Obama’s Middle East address last week. The president was away in London today on an official state visit, but his aides would have been closely watching, and his vice president Joe Biden was present.
You know where you stand with Netanyahu, who is unyielding in his defence of his country and his people, and in no mood to negotiate with enemies who threaten his homeland’s destruction. There was not a hint of dithering or uncertainty in his words, or any kind of apology for the actions of his country – in great contrast to the distinctly weak leadership style of his US counterpart. This was a magnificent address, one which drew several standing ovations from the large number of Senators and Representatives attending, from both sides of the political aisle.
As I explained in a previous post, I do not agree with everything Netanyahu said, especially regarding the issue of a palestinian state. However, I think I understand Realpolitik well enough to realize what our Prime Minister was doing was putting the ball back in the palestinian’s court, knowing full well that the Fatah-Hamas doubles partners will never agree to the formula of peace he described. He managed to move us out of the corner we were being boxed into by the palestinians and US President Barack Obama, while signalling to the latter that we won’t be bullied. But most importantly, he rebutted the “Zionist as occupiers” myth, explaining to a receptive Congress (and the world) our connection to the land of Israel spanning thousands of years.
I believe those who have criticized Netanyahu for agreeing to a palestinian state and “painful concessions” are missing the point.