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Debate: Was Netanyahu's speech to Congress a step in the right direction for peace?

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quite the charmer as he flattered and thanked the U.S. in a speech to Congress on Tuesday. But did he adequately address how Israel might forge peace with the Palestinians? He said he was willing to make painful compromises, but he also laid out a lot of ground rules that didn't make him appear all that flexible.

Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary said the speech was a triumph.

During the course of an eloquent and brilliant speech that laid out Israel's desire for peace as well as the threats that face it, Netanyahu was interrupted with standing ovations from the assembled Congress over 50 times. The cheers were not mere form; they were a genuine expression of the heartfelt support that huge majorities of both parties in both chambers feel for Israel. The speech was a triumph that can well be compared to the applause earned by Winston Churchill when he spoke to Congress as a wartime ally. It didn't just highlight the bonds between Israel and America but the willingness of this Congress to view Netanyahu personally as a special friend of the American people.

Debra DeLee, president and CEO for Americans for Peace Now, disagreed, saying the speech was a step backward.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was today granted a podium that few world leaders receive. He had the chance to demonstrate to the world that, contrary to many people's expectations, he grasps the urgency of the moment. Unfortunately for Israel, he did not rise to the occasion.  […] 
 
Israel desperately needs peace with the Palestinians -– to secure Israel's future as a Jewish state and a democracy, to protect Israeli security, and to head off a confrontation at the United Nations in September.  Unfortunately, rather than laying out his promised new vision of peace, Netanyahu stayed mainly on the well-worn path of grandstanding, blame-laying, and fear-mongering.  Rather than embracing the opportunity offered by President Obama to work together to get peace efforts back on track, Netanyahu offered little more than disingenuous words of support for peace.

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--Alexandra Le Tellier

 

Comments () | Archives (15)

The comments to this entry are closed.

jose

it was a step in the right direction for israels right to exist!

carol

Intelligent and straight forward presentation. I think Netanyahu gave compelling testimony and clearly stated where Israel can and will compromise without losing their security.

Hamzi Moghrabi

Natanyaho repeated himself as if no change has happened in the world. He misled the Congress and offered no genuine peace for a sustainable peace in the Middle East. How can the Congress accept a Jewish State that is democratic? Has the Congress reveiwed Israel treatment of the Palestinian Israelis that were killed by hi police in addition to the daily two or three Palestinians kelled daily?????
No peace without the Palestinian Right of Return and Jerusalem future.....

Sabastian748

It is unfortunate that Netanyahu get so much attention in the U.S. Congress and in the Press. He is an arrogant individual and he has no plans to allow a Palestinian State ever. He thinks, the issue will just go away, if he keeps ignoring the world opinion. Unfortunately, his unilateral actions will haunt the Israeli people for a long time and they will have one of the biggest surprises one of these days when the UN General Assembly recognizes Palestinian State and all the Arab Spring results in more Arab states enjoying freedom.
Netanyahu’s actions will destroy Israel. The U.S. Jewish community will do Israel a favor by ignoring Netanyahu and helping some moderate person come to power in Israel.

Mike

I am not sure why it is necessary for there to be a change and something "new" in his speech. Compromises are made at the negotiating table when there is a give and take. Why would he agree to anything and move the negotiable items further in the direction of Israeli compromise? I challenge anyone to come up with one compromise that any Palestinian leader ever came out and said, one! Remember, the negotiations are total based on Israels giving up what they have control of, and the Palestinians giving up nothing but their expressed desire to destroy Israel. The Arabs are the ones teaching their children to hate Israel and the goal is it's destruction. They would be much better off with neighbors that trust them and join the world economically and socially, and they would get all that if they would not insist on things that would only make Israel more vulnerable to lead up to there ultimate stated goal and that is Israel's destruction.

Wakethe

First off, Israel will never be satisfied with just peace and security with the Palestinians and the rest of the Islamic middle east. That’s because they want to be a rich nation beyond their capacities and the only way they can achieve that goal, is by way of dominant commerce with those very same Islamic nations. They want the Islamic middle east to be forced into economic servitude to them. This has been the agenda of the Israeli governing body, since they completed taking the lands that they wanted. Yes, a collection of Islamic nations attacked Israel, back in the sixties, but Israel had been provoking those groups as far back as 1949 and that can be verified by anyone who chooses to do the research and except the facts as they truly are. In the beginning, Israel did it to justify pushing the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese off borders and lands that the Allies of WWII had brokered for them. Now, it’s to enrich their economy, but trying to enrich their economy in and of itself is not a bad thing. What is bad though, is their desire to control and exploit those same Islamic nations natural resources. That’s what they want now. They have no serious natural resources of their own, except their obvious subjugation of the U.S. government/purse strings and to a lesser degree, that of the UK, but they know that won’t continue forever. We’re close to not being able to $afford$ their friendship right now. They are an extremely cunning people. They knew back in the sixties as they know now, that as long as they could provoke the Islamic middle east into warlike postures against them, the U.S. and others of the Christian west would pony up, over and over again. What’s also apparent is that so called Christian faithful in this country of which I am one, don’t even know what their own (WORD) = (The Christian Bible) says. They take the statements of spiritually blind zealots as biblical gospel and equate biblical text as international law, which of course it is not. I had another Christian to argue me down that the Israelis were the first people to occupy Canaan/Palestine and when I showed him the truth as written in the KJV bible, he got upset and accused me of making it up. This is after I showed it to him, in the KJV bible. Not to mention the historical data that shows that Abram and his offspring were not the first people there. And finally, a large portion the Christian faithful in this country believe that today’s Israeli Jews are the only member group of that biblical covenant with God. This also is not true, via the KJV bible. All the descendents of Isaac share in the promised inheritance. That includes the descendents of Esau, as well as Jacob. Please U.S. Christians, if you’re going to believe in the bible, read it and here what it’s saying, not what spiritually blind zealots tell you.

Howard Siegman

I was very touched by Mr. Netanyahu's speech before Congress. Though myself not a big fan of his (he's been too arrogant in the past for my liking), I'm a Zionist and, no one I've heard in years could have expressed my feelings regarding the key issues in the Middle East more eloquently that he did yesterday.... beautifuly, Churchillian, as Mr. Tobin expressed above.

For those who don't agree, including the writers of the Times article, Mr. Sanders from Jerusalem and Mr. Richter, I couldn't disagree with you more.

For those who heard him speak and, considered it either a) arrogant, b) anti-peace or, c) not an open invitation to Israel's neighbors to make peace, we see things very differently. You simply live in another galaxy than I and I doubt if you could recognize a true statesman, and a mench as well, if you tried. What a pity!

I'm for peace, Mr. Netanyahu's for peace and most Jews and Israelis are for peace and always have been. But, we're not suckers.

Let them recognize the right for a Jewish state; renounce terrorism. Let Israel's neighbors demonstrate that they can conduct their own affairs as progressive modern states do. If so, they'll have a partner for peace with Jews and Israelis in a New York second, including Mr. Netanyahu and myself joining in. And, that's not a revelation. That's been the case since the inception of the State and, if someone disagrees, please provide an example.

No more unnecessary Jewish blood. We've seen that, done that, know about that from World War II, among other events.

Let Israeli's neighbors demonstrate a will for peace and, we'll have peace. It's simple. Just do it. No problems.


Howard Siegman

me.yahoo.com/a/OdYMp9d2q5dlq9G1Lkg_U1KFd0xTr9edV9Lt

Given Mr. Netanyahu's history of disrespect to the U.S. president, why is he addressing Congress at all, let alone getting standing ovations? We have way, way too many people in our government who support a foreign country over the United States. If Israel is first in their hearts, they should move there.

Reason Prevails

You're kidding, right? Not only is the man is a war criminal, but one who has repeatedly and publicly called out a succession of U.S. presidents as irrelevant. His extreme conservatism, rooted in a disconnected belief system like only Zionism could produce, means that nothing he says, neither to the press nor to world leaders, is worth a plug nickel. He's repeatedly lied, and been caught in those lies, and repeatedly expressed his utter unwillingness to compromise on his country's continued illegal military occupation of the Palestinians.

What's to discuss here?

Sam Lupowitz

Although what many Palestinians actually want is not a homeland side-by-side with Israel at all, but rather all of what is today known as Israel for themselves "and" the death of all Jewish Israelis, the stalemate has got to be brought to an end already. Putting it mildly: enough is enough is enough already!!! All peoples deserve a home. Therefore, what I would have liked to have seen yesterday was for Netanyahu to have explained to Congress in detail (using a map) why the pre-1967 lines are so indefensible, which they most definitely are. Additionally, I would have liked to have heard a reasonable counter-plan that would give the Palestinians a contiguous homeland. And, in my opinion, part and parcel of such plan should be a deal that has Israel get Gaza in exchange for giving the Palestinians part of East Jerusalem and some additional "contiguous" land. As small as Israel is, much of it is unused desert, and as we have seen in Las Vegas - for example, a desert can be converted into an oasis. All it would take to achieve such conversion is money, something the Palestinians' oil-rich brothers have plenty of. Let them ante-up, if they would! The Golan Heights is a different story altogether. The Palestinians don't need it; it belonged to Syria and has nothing to do with Palestinian history; it's not contiguous with what would become Palestine anyway; and Israel must retain it for security reasons.

Clark Sargw

This is great...Now everyone's true colors will finally be exposed, you are either pro-terrorism or you are pro-freedom. There is no middle ground. And people are now clearly exposing what they are underneath the fancy clothes, speeches on teleprompters, etc. Obama revealed that he is no friend of Israel, no friend of peace, no friend of America, no friend of freedom! And all those who oppose Bibi's speech are revealing the same ugly truth about themselves. Long live America! Long live Israell! Long live freedom!!!

Guy DeWhitney

Heretics Crusade says: For Peace, Muslims Have to Show Respect to Reality
http://wp.me/pWgxP-uF

ACHE

Let the world be truthful for once.We all know the contents,intents and motives of the Palestinians/Arabs people-not the land but the annihilation of the Israelis.If you are truly for peace do not give these people a chance.a leopards can never change its spot.
Israel have right to live like everyone else and they needs enough security space.If the UN and the whole world WANT PEACE for all these people let them be bold enough and truthful enough to create it.They have enough resources to resettle the Arabs among theirs kinsmen.But should they choose the part of deception and falsehood,all of us will suffer the consequences.

Eric Gibbs

This picture of Israeli Prime Minister netanyahu laying down the law to the US Congress is not just a portent of things to come. It is, in fact, a portrait of who really runs US foreign policy.
While many Americans were watching Oprah or worrying about steroids ruining baseball, Israel assumed control of our government. The picture(above) of Bibi lecturing Congress was orchestrated by Republican House Speaker John Boehner with the help of all those other Zionist politicians we elected to office in campaigns financed by the Israel Lobby.
Two things stand out about the cheering Congressional mob that greeted Bibi’s series of lies and distortions:
One, the American media accepted this insult to the current American president with barely a whimper of protest. Their real leader had spoken and who are they to say otherwise.
The sight of a right-wing Zionist leader standing at the podium normally reserved for American presidents, and harshly repudiating the current president, was sad in the extreme.

Eric Gibbs

This picture of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu laying down the law to the US Congress is not just a portent of things to come. It is, in fact, a portrait of who really runs US foreign policy.
While many Americans were watching Oprah or worrying about steroids ruining baseball, Israel assumed control of our government. The picture(above) of Bibi lecturing Congress was orchestrated by Republican House Speaker John Boehner with the help of all those other Zionist politicians we elected to office in campaigns financed by the Israel Lobby.
Two things stand out about the cheering Congressional mob that greeted Bibi’s series of lies and distortions:
One, the American media accepted this insult to the current American president with barely a whimper of protest. Their real leader had spoken and who are they to say otherwise.
The sight of a right-wing Zionist leader standing at the podium normally reserved for American presidents, and harshly repudiating the current president, was sad in the extreme.


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