The irony in Netanyahu’s talk about the Holocaust, nuclear capabilities, and peace was astounding. I guess it's not really a forum for apologizing for one's mistakes so much as telling why you are so awesome, though. I thought Iran and Israel stood out for exceptional irony. Qaddafi just stood out-- but I'm not going there.
Interestingly, people walked out on Ahmedinejad's speech when he was critical of Israel, not for the legitimate (and obvious?) reason of the disputed elections- if I have heard the news report correctly. He made some good points about double standards and Palestine, but who’s going to listen to this guy what with the dubious election results, aggressive style and his country’s own human rights record?
Netanyahu, in his UN address, started off with condemning Ahmedinejad and Holocaust denial and those who didn’t walk out on him. He used this speech as a platform to “build” a case for invading Iran. He said of the UN and all nations that were either too critical of Israel or not critical enough of Iran that they were on the side of terror (!). I’m having Bush déjà vu. His comparison of Iran and Hamas with the Nazis was gratuitous. Forget about Iran’s disputed elections, it’s always about the Holocaust (the Jewish one, not the one the Jews perpetrated), right? He condemned Iran as backward and fanatic. Nice. That should help diplomatic efforts.
And he’s trying to channel former President Bush here- trying to con people into thinking that his pet project (or diversion) is the real problem of the day:
“The most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge?”
Netanyahu also condemned the recent UN report, the Human Rights Council, and the whole UN for daring to say anyone other than Israel is the victim:
“We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one.
That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.”
No one is allowed to deny or even debate facts surrounding the Holocaust. It’s taboo. Other people died too, but discussing it as anything but a Jewish tragedy is forbidden. But, on the other hand, saying there is no such thing as Palestinians (or making al-Nakba commemoration illegal) is not a problem. On the contrary, it’s a convenient solution. And surprisingly, it’s one people don’t dismiss out of hand. They consider it; they aren’t enraged at the suggestion and they don’t think the person who suggested it is racist or loony- like Holocaust denial or disputing various numbers or events surrounding it. If you say Palestinians didn’t exist, then you massacred nobody and nobody has a claim to the land you “found” totally (and conveniently) empty. You are occupying nobody’s land, oppressing nobody and therefore aren’t committing any crimes. Perhaps this is why Netanyahu is incensed? He’s being blamed for the tragedy of a people that he thinks don’t exist?
Here is an outright lie:
“In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza.”
(Dov Weisglass said the intent of his government at the time was “political formaldehyde,”- his term- the holding off of real negotiations, which would mean peace- for Israel, minus responsibility for past crimes- without justice for Palestinians)
His constant assertion, here, is that Israel wants peace, but his examples are telling. He names Jordan and Egypt as successes, but the only way they got those agreements was by taking Palestinian issues off the table. These agreements were probably of significant importance in subjugating and oppressing Palestinians, since both were regional heavyweights (Egypt- militarily; Jordan- diplomatically or politically), but not so much for solving the main issue causing unrest in the region.
Netanyahu also talks about the ridiculous demilitarized state idea:
“The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.”
He just got finished talking about how it is Israel’s right to defend itself and now he turns around and says Palestinians don’t have this right?? Israel may want peace, but it has to be on Israel’s terms! Notice that mentality where he wants delegates to choose Israel’s side and reject the report or else Israel can’t make any more ‘risks for peace’:
“This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow.”
To his credit, he didn’t mention equality or justice in his speech, so kudos for not lying about wanting or intending to bestow these gifts- I guess.
He goes there- to 1947. The Jews accepted this resolution; Arabs didn’t. Hmmm. What if the UN were to do the same today and give Palestinians 50% of the Israel/Palestine area. Would Jews accept that?? No way! Back then, Palestinians rightfully owned (not occupied) some 95% of the land and the UN decided to divide it in two and give 55% to this small population of Jews. That was crazy to them. Hindsight being 20/20, I guess they should have taken it, right? But, back then, I bet it seemed nuts to accept such an unfair division of their land. They didn’t really have a guarantee, though, that the Jews wouldn’t have invaded and taken more land, seeing as how they had connections to get more people and weapons from escaping Jews and all people against the Holocaust (one example, another).
*In both of those linked examples, you see the appearance of the idea that little David (Israel) was fighting big, evil Goliath (7 Arab armies), but check this, among other sources, before you swallow that whopper.
And there's the nukes. Israel won’t sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, like India and Pakistan, but we’re supposed to crack down on Iran. Israel succeeded in keeping their nuclear weapons program secret for a long time and considers Vanunu, who outed them, an enemy of the state who will never be free. No one thinks this odd, but Iran is assumed to be planning an imminent attack on Israel because it doesn’t want its enemies to know about its capabilities.
Freedom, justice and self-defense are Israel’s right, but not Palestinians’ as evidenced by the reservations to the Roadmap and the conditions under which Netanyahu would accept a Palestinian entity. Nuclear power and weapons are Israel’s right to have or disclose-- or not, but everyone else is subject to rules, inspections or bans.
Apartheid is bad, except when Israel does it. Ethnic cleansing is bad, except if Israel does it (it’s always “self-defense”). I’m starting to see a pattern? Are you?
Full text of the speeches (Sept. 23 & 24, 2009):
Netanyahu Speech at UN: Full Text Transcript and Video
Transcript of Ahmadinejad's U.N. Speech