…but they were completely upstaged by his Wile E. Coyote climax.
These parts are highly worth revisiting. Bibi’s brazen, out-and-out racism and lunatic brand of nationalist-supremacy, were expressed in no uncertain terms upon the United Nations stage. The man’s true colors were there for all to see.
I owe the discovery of the lesser-known first half of Bibi’s speech, to Palestinian-American comedian Amer Zahr, a.k.a. The Civil Arab. Myself, I was probably going to ignore the Bibi speech altogether – had the Web not suddenly exploded with images of Acme bombs.
But Zahr, as he says, must listen:
As a Palestinian, I tuned in. It’s my duty. Plus, I say the guy’s name at least 3-4 times a day (I won’t tell you how), so the least I could do was to listen to his speech.
And here’s the speech itself. Some gems (with my comments), starting from the very first sentence:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem.
Leave aside the universal consensus among archaeologists and historians (except far-right Zionist ones) that the David-Solomon kingdom’s extent, and possibly even existence, was dramatically overblown by the Old Testament writers who lived several centuries later.
There is one fact that is beyond dispute. That kingdom, or city-state, or chieftainship or whatever David presided over (if he really existed), was Israelite. Not Jewish. As even the Biblical record grudgingly admits, the Israelites happily worshipped multiple gods, including regular human sacrifice right there in our eternal Jerusalem, in a ravine we call Gei Ben Hinom and the English transliterated as Gehenna. So much for “Jewish State.”
The Jewish religion in any form recognizable to us today, was still about 500 years in the future, to be born upon the ashes of the Israelite period, and bearing a very distinctive Diasporic character. In fact, the only period of full Jewish sovereignty between the religion’s true birth and modern times was the Hasmonean kingdom, a short-lived, corruption-ridden little operation that eventually succumbed to its incessant internal strife.
Considering Bibi’s bragging later in his speech, and his attempt to pose as the all-knowing teacher lecturing a willfully ignorant world, it is ridiculously ironic for him to begin with such a piece of blatant, crappy, ignorant antiquity-worship in his first sentence. And he’s just getting warmed up:
Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Every year, for over three millennia, we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past. We pray for our future. We remember the sorrows of our persecution; we remember the great travails of our dispersion; we mourn the extermination of a third of our people, six million, in the Holocaust.
But at the end of Yom Kippur, we celebrate. We celebrate the rebirth of Israel. We celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David, and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern Jewish state.
I know Yom Kippur. Dammit, I’ve fasted every Yom Kippur for the past 30 years. This junk of Bibi’s has almost nothing to do with Yom Kippur. And please, let other Jewish (or Judaism-knowledgeable) readers correct me if I’m wrong. Yom Kippur is mostly for atoning for one’s personal sins, and for the community’s sins. Not for reaffirming our collective sense of external persecution and its myth of supremacy. For that, we have plenty of other holidays, thank you very much.
And the central figures of Judaism, surely during Yom Kippur, are not Joshua-David-Maccabees who flexed the Jewish Muscle (the latter are rarely mentioned outside of Hanuka), but the prophets who spoke truth to power and pointed to the community its own sins.
But the speech is just about to get much, much worse:
In Israel, the past and the future find common ground. Unfortunately, that is not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval.
The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred. The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.
These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East.
Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens: men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – all are equal before the law.
Clash of Civilizations? Really? In 2012?!? Has this guy stepped out of a time machine? And in whose books is the idealization of Medieval times bad, but the idealization of an imagined 3000-year-old past good? Of course, in a hypocritical racist bigot’s books: “my ancient history good, your ancient history bad”.
Regarding the great treatment of non-Jewish citizens, forgive me, dear Smug Prime Minister, but I prefer the direct testimony of their own legal-advocacy NGO Adalah over your childish self-congratulations. Their current headline reads “NCPB (National Committee for Planning and Building) reaffirms plans to build Jewish town on ruins of Bedouin village.” Par for the course of the Enlightened Jewish State.
Where were we? Oh, yes, explaining how great we are. And modest.
Israel is also making the world a better place: our scientists win Nobel Prizes. Our know-how is in every cell-phone and computer that you’re using. We prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia.
…And gratuitously induce hunger by strangling the West Bank and Gaza. Let us not forget that if it was not for a certain 2010 Flotilla, to this very day your government would have still rationed the food allowed into Gaza, to make sure those medievalists don’t get too fat and lazy.
And Israel’s exceptional creativity is matched by our people’s remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world – in Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey Indonesia and elsewhere – Israeli doctors are among the first on the scene, performing life-saving surgeries.
Like they did just a few weeks ago… oops. no. A few weeks ago, Israel deliberately let a group of Eritrean refugees almost die of thirst and hunger inside its own territory, stranded between border fences in plain view of its soldiers who were under strict orders not to offer any assistance, only limited amounts of water. And this was not an isolated incident: Bibi government has set a disgusting precedent, inciting against this recent wave of African refugees, and building massive concentration, sorry, “internment” camps for them.
Should we laugh or cry? I say laugh:
President Abbas just spoke here. I say to him and I say to you: We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. That’s not the way to solve it.
Says the guy who just slandered the entire Middle East except his own country.
We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish State.
Because that is what negotiations are all about: me dictating to you a-priori how they must end.
Ok, enough about us good guys. Let’s go back to some bad-guy classics that never get old:
Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.
Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this. They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.
Where’s Jon Stewart when we need him?
They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict. I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness.
We’ve seen that happen before. Some five hundred years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age. Eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment.
So too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology. When this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity.
In last year’s UN speech, at least, Bibi was careful to pay a completely phony lip-service to the Arab Spring, despite being the most notoriously anti-Arab-Spring world leader from day one. Now all pretenses are gone. He made a boastful “I told you so” Knesset speech in late 2011 (Haaretz summarized, “Netanyahu: Arab Spring pushing Mideast backward, not forward”). By September 2012, Bibi is sure that his anti-Arab-Spring view has been scientifically proven correct, a closed case. He was right and everyone else was wrong, and it’s not even worth deliberating upon.
So what is worth mentioning at length?
Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at an horrific cost. My friends, we cannot let that happen again.
At stake is not merely the future of my own country. At stake is the future of the world. Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons.
Oh yessssssss, now it’s nearing perfection. To juxtapose Nazism and Iran within two sentences, in one “Islamo-Fascist” fell rhetorical swoop – and to top if off with a modest 70 spoons or so of personal and nationalist megalomania. mmmmmm…
From here, the road is open to an escalating tirade against Iran and its nukes – right up to the Wile E. Coyote bomb that everyone saw.
What I find most amazing, is that among Israelis – this bunch of supposedly savvy, world-weary political cynics – Bibi is considered a great speaker. Haaretz even ran an article, claiming that after the speech Republicans were wishing Bibi could run for President instead of their own batch of clowns.
It has been a while since I’ve read such a bad speech. The cartoon-bomb skit turns out to have been the least douche-baggy part of it!