Prime Minister Netanyahu Delivers Epic Speech Before US Congress
May 24, 2011
RUSH: You know, it's a real treat to watch a professional at work. It really is. Benjamin Netanyahu is about to wrap up a speech with a joint meeting of Congress. I know that it's about to wrap up because he knows when this show starts. He's getting near the end. It has been a great, just fabulous speech. It's indescribably good, particularly in the climate and context of what we hear from most politicians today.
Hi ya, folks, how are you? Great to have you back. Promised we're here, as I said we would be 21 hours. Rush Limbaugh, on the EIB. It's not a job; it's an avocation; it's a mission; it's a commitment. We're here at 800-282-2882, the e-mail address, ElRushbo@eibnet.com
I could not help myself. All through Netanyahu's speech -- and we're cutting it now. Cookie is going through it now. Wait 'til you hear this, if you haven't heard it. It's inspiring and it's just great. Throughout this speech I kept shouting at the TV, "Run, Bibi, run!" He-he-he. We can find a birth certificate for you somewhere, Philadelphia, Hawaii, or what have you. He spoke without a prompter. He's got some notes. He leans on the podium. What we're hearing, what you see, here is somebody who's very at home behind the microphone. He's entirely comfortable. It's easy when you actually believe what you are saying.
If you are one of those people that has a fear of public speaking, the best cure for it is to have total belief in what you say, because that is what breeds confidence, and confidence is what you need in a public setting when you're making a speech, and if you believe what you're saying, that's 80% of it, maybe even more, because then you can say what you actually mean without having to worry that you'll reveal too much about yourself, never be able to get reelected or what have you. He leans on the podium, injects his text with personal stories.
Somebody from Code Pink got in there and protested. It has to be Code Pink. Someone like John Conyers probably gave Jodie Evans a ticket to get in there. Code Pink protested Netanyahu last night at his AIPAC speech. But he turned it right around on them. He said, (paraphrasing) "You know, this is great. This is the essence of democracy right here." This could not happen in the farcical Republic of Iran. It could not happen in any of the Arab nations in the Middle East, and of course he's gotten a lot of standing O's. He's gotten a lot of unadulterated, full-throated applause in his speech.
RUSH: Benjamin Netanyahu gave an epic speech today before a joint meeting of Congress -- not a "joint session." Joint session, as a title or as a term, is reserved for a presidential appearance before Congress. So this is a joint speech. There have been about a hundred of them, a little bit more than a hundred of them over the course of the history of the country, and the most frequent speaker: Winston Churchill. He did more joint speeches prosecute Congress than anyone else. There are a lot of things in this speech. It went on for about 45 minutes, and I really do not want to try to paraphrase or repeat it. You really have to hear this speech as given.
It's a lesson in commitment. It is a lesson in confidence. It is a lesson in state craft and leadership. This was an epic, epic speech. It was a lesson for Republicans in dealing with President Obama, even though all Netanyahu did was praise President Obama today. That's all he did. There was nothing partisan in the speech whatsoever other than his obvious love and support for his nation of Israel. But it was filled with humor, it was filled with goose bump seriousness. It ran the emotional gamut, it ran the intellectual gamut. The timing was flawless. Just a fabulous speech. The lesson that is there for people is to say what you mean, to say it confidently, to be fearless, and don't feel the need to excuse what you think or make excuses for how you feel.
I guess fearlessness and confidence are the two characteristics of this speech in terms of attitude. The content also was flawless. I'll tell you something else. Netanyahu offered to give up some Israeli settlements. He understood. He said he understood what is necessary for peace, that Israel is going to have to give up a little more. He's willing to do so. He made it very clear he understands what's needed for peace, made it very clear that Israel willing to compromise again -- and thereby putting the onus back on the Palestinians. Where is compromise on their part? And I can guarantee you that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, and USA Today, they are going to seize on that, and that's all they are going to have heard in the speech.
The way they're going to spin that is: "Netanyahu, appearing in joint speech to the United States Congress, admits past errors!" That's what they're going to say. You mark my words, if that doesn't happen. "Netanyahu admits previous stance too rigid," or, "Obama agreed with by Netanyahu," or, "Netanyahu in public speech to US Congress acknowledges points made by President Obama!" It's gonna be like that; I guarantee you. If they're willing to go all smarmy and treat this Irish stop, this Ireland stop the way they did, then I guarantee you they'll be totally willing to shift and cherry-pick things from this speech to make it look like what Netanyahu was doing was desperately pleading for forgiveness from President Obama for the unfortunate disrespect accorded to the young president last Friday in the Oval Office.
I guarantee you this is what it's gonna be.
It's a shame.
If I'm right about this, it's gonna be maddening to me. Because, this was for the times in which we live, an epic and great speech -- and I'm gonna tell you: I would urge all of you, if you have time sometime later today or later this week, to get a copy of the video or the audio of this thing and listen to all of it, particularly... Well, period. But particularly if I (and I always am about these things) am right that the press will twist this as a total capitulation by Netanyahu to Obama.
RUSH: Back to this Israel business. The reason I'm spending time on it, folks, is words mean things. One of my earliest philosophical pronouncements from the earliest days of this program: words mean things. We live in a time when many politicians utter words that are meant to beguile and fool, not communicate properly. I, in a small way, as a conservative, relate to Israel. Surrounded, mischaracterized, blamed for things I'm not doing; blamed for things I don't think. Racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe. Israel is blamed for starting wars in the Middle East, all this stuff. Plus, I've had the good fortune of meeting Benjamin Netanyahu.
I have described in great detail a couple of times my five day trip to Israel in 1993 where I met Netanyahu, Rabin, Shimon Peres, three-hour private, personalized bus tour of the new settlements in the West Bank from Ariel Sharon who built them. Also in the nineties back when he was prime minister during his first stint, I remember it was a Sunday, I was returning to New York from -- I think I'd been out on a Rush to Excellence appearance somewhere. Netanyahu was in New York, and they were staying at the Essex House, and I received an invitation to come by and have a cigar. So I went by and Netanyahu's office had taken up residence somewhere in the Essex House. By the time you went through security and got through there it was a labyrinth of a maze that you had to go through to get to where he was.
We sat in there, maybe an hour and a half, just discussing Israeli affairs and the United States during the Clinton years, and smoking cigars. So I have a personal affection for Netanyahu. I think he's great, and he's getting better, he's maturing. He's plainly spoken. He's just good at what he does and I've often said one of the greatest perks of my success, one of the greatest benefits of my success is that I've been able to meet people who are the best at what they do, who have reached the pinnacle of their profession. That's a rare opportunity, and it's inspiring in and of itself. And he's got an impossible job. He runs a country that, not just the Middle East, but people all over the world wish didn't exist. He runs a place that is under constant fire. And, you know, in fact, the Jewish people for me, you look at their world history, wherever they've been, people have tried to wipe 'em out, exterminate 'em. And yet as a culture, they have not crumbled. Their values have remained strong and solid.
I dare say that there are other civilizations that can't say that. They have crumbled and withered, and they've fallen by the wayside. But also, folks, in another sense it's nothing more than I just have a really great appreciation at the same time for people who are great at what they do, and Netanyahu is. He has reached that moment in life. He is doing what he was born to do. He is in power at a crucial moment for his country, and he's doing the best job any prime minister in recent years has done, and I just marvel watching it. I have profound admiration. And what happened last Friday at the White House -- you know, a lot of people think it was disrespectful to sit there as he did, sit there and disrespect the president of the United States. The stakes for Israel are much too high. He's being told by the leader of the free world to basically preside over the destruction of the state of Israel. He is being ordered to do that and he's simply refusing to. But I have great admiration for it.
I also happen to believe that this country, as you well know, would be much, much better off if Obama's only serving one term here, and I think Netanyahu is giving a clinic in how to defeat, not just Obama, but every enemy of freedom and liberty and everybody on the left. Now, Netanyahu had his turn at AIPAC. You know, we played you sound bites of Obama at AIPAC, and I've got a couple sound bites. But I want to go through a quick summary of Netanyahu at AIPAC, and I want to thank the guys at PowerLine for putting this together. At the heart of his speech -- you could find this at Powerlineblog.com -- at the heart of Netanyahu's speech is this set of propositions. And remember, brevity is the soul of wit. Shakespeare. The fewer words it takes you to make a point, the more powerful the point will be made.
"It's time to stop blaming Israel for all of the region's problems. Let me stress one thing.
Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a vital need for us. Peace would be the realization of a powerful and eternal dream. But it is not a panacea for the endemic problems of the Middle East." This is akin to Pawlenty going to Iowa and telling 'em there ain't gonna be any more ethanol subsidies. This is akin to Romney renouncing Romneycare. For Netanyahu to say, "Peace in the --" 'cause you understand, diplomatically in Washington "peace in the Middle East," I mean it's taken on aspects of a fantasy. It's gotten to the point where if we achieve peace in the Middle East, then it really is utopia. And of course there's no such thing and Netanyahu is reminding people of that. It's not a panacea.
Peace "will not give women is some Arab countries in the Middle East the right to drive a car. It will not prevent Churches from being bombed. It will not keep journalists out of jail. What will change all this? One word. Democracy. Real, genuine, democracy. By democracy, I don't just mean elections. I mean Freedom of Speech. Freedom of the Press. Freedom of Assembly. The Rule of Law. Rights for women, for gays, for minorities, for everyone. What the people of the Middle East need is what you have in America, and what we have in Israel. Democracy. It's time to recognize this basic truth: Israel is not what's wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what's right about the Middle East."
Just as it's truthful to say the United States is not the source of the world's problems, which Obama believes, the United States is the solution to the world's problems. Netanyahu made a very penetrating bold point today in his speech before Congress. He talked about the Arab population of Israel. It's small, but there are Arab citizens of Israel, and he pointed out they are the only Arabs that enjoy freedom and peace throughout the Middle East, those Arabs who are citizens of Israel. He followed with a statement of the essence of a dispute that escapes Obama. This is also good.
RUSH: Netanyahu said, "Israel wants peace because we know the pain of terror and the agony of war. We want peace because we know the blessings peace could bring to us and to our Palestinian neighbors. But if we hope to advance peace with the Palestinians, then it is time that we admitted another truth. This conflict has raged for nearly a century because the Palestinians refuse to end it. They refuse to accept the Jewish state." All true. "This is what this conflict has always been about." The Palestinians don't want peace. They don't want "side by side with Israel." They want no Israel! That's why there's no solution to this. Not with words, doctors, nurses, clean water, all that rot business.
RUSH: Here's Benjamin Netanyahu. We have cut the applause in the interest of time, but the applause was loud, and it was long. The standing ovations that he received were numerous. Bibi Netanyahu, joint meeting of Congress today...
NETANYAHU: Israel has no better friend than America, and America has no better friend than Israel. (applause) We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations, America. Congratulations, Mr. President. You got Bin Laden! (cheers and applause) Good riddance!
RUSH: Boy, the Democrats were out of their seats on that one! Here's more...
NETANYAHU: In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America's unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American, Israel will always be pro-American. (applause) My friends, you don't have to -- you don't need to -- do nation building in Israel; we're already built. (laughter) (applause) You don't need to export democracy to Israel; we've already got it. (applause) And you don't need to send American troops to Israel; we defend ourselves! (applause)
RUSH: There was a protester that disrupted his speech. I thought he was being heckled by a Democrat. I was listening with my head turned away. I was watching the computer, so I knew watching the screen, but I was listening and I heard all hell break loose, and I thought, "Well, that's some Democrat didn't like what was just said." Turns out it was some protester up in the Visitors Gallery. Here's how Netanyahu handled it.
NETANYAHU: You know, I take it as a badge of honor, and so should you, that in our free societies you can have protests. You can't have these protests in the farcical parliaments in Iran or in Tripoli. This is real democracy! (applause)
NETANYAHU: This path of liberty is not paved by elections alone. It's paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men -- and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule. Israel has always embraced this path. In the Middle East that has long rejected it -- in a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted -- Israel stands out. It is different.
RUSH: Here's his line about the Arabs in the Middle East who are free.
NETANYAHU: Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel's Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. (applause) I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one half of 1% are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel! (applause) This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East; Israel is what is right about the Middle East! Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East.
RUSH: I'm wondering what Obama thinks when he sees this, when he hears this. I'm wondering what he thinks as a competitor. Here's a guy giving a great speech. Well, that's Obama's territory. ("I have a gift, Harry.") Obama used to dazzling audiences. Here's Netanyahu dazzling this audience -- and Netanyahu was not using a teleprompter. He's got some three-by-five cards, some eight-by-ten pieces of paper. But he doesn't need much because he knows what he's going to say. He's entirely confident, and he owns the room. All of these things are said to be characteristics of Obama. But more than that, what does Obama think of the content when he hears this? 'Cause this is diametrically opposed to what Obama believes: Israel is the problem in the Middle East. Yes, it does tick him off. We saw the pictures. Friday afternoon in the Oval Orifice we saw Obama sit there with his chin in his hand, staring daggers at Netanyahu. Here he asks us not to let the Iranians get nukes.
NETANYAHU: I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message that America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons. (applause) Now, as for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say "Never again!" we mean "Never again!" (applause) Israel always reserves... (applause) Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.
RUSH: Right, and Obama's constantly (applause) Right on, right on. Obama's constantly saying, "Well, of course you've got the right to defend yourself, just don't." That's what Obama basically says. Once again, Netanyahu making it clear: There ain't gonna be in the return to the 1967 lines.
NETANYAHU: In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel's borders. Now, the precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We'll be generous about the size of the future Palestinian state, but as President Obama said: The border will be different than the one that existed on June 4th, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967. (applause)
RUSH: Now, Obama never really said that! This is a great technique here. Obama went to AIPAC on Sunday and said (paraphrased), "Look, you idiots, here's what I really meant." This is what smart bullies always. They're always misunderstand. "Okay, look, here's what I really meant, and I'm really offended I have to say this again. You stupid fools! This is what I meant," and then he simply reiterated what he said last Thursday and Friday about the '67 borders, and he did not say that they would be different. He said, "The '67 lines, with some land swaps, mutually agreed land swaps," which, if you want to know what that means, it means that Obama is suggesting he would tolerate Israel keeping a couple of settlements in the West Bank. But the lines would be the lines. Israel would be a nine-mile-wide country with a couple of pockmarked settlements in the West Bank. That's what Obama means. Netanyahu (chuckling) has now said that, "As President Obama said, the border will be different." When Obama sees that (I'm sure he already has) there will be smoke, smoke coming from the Dumbo ears on both sides of Obama's head. Here's Netanyahu pledging compromise on the part of Israel.
NETANYAHU: Those six words will change history. They'll make it clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end -- that they're not building a Palestinian state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it -- and those six words will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the Palestinian -- or, rather, the Israeli people -- will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise. (applause)
RUSH: Right on, right on. We got one more, and this is the promise that Israel will not live under constant threat.
NETANYAHU: If Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked, and missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that, too. Imagine there's a siren going on now, and we have less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Do you think anybody can live that way? Well, we're not gonna live that way, either! (applause)
RUSH: How can you have anything but total admiration here? You want to talk gutsy? He probably doesn't even think it's gutsy, but it is. I gotta take a brief time-out here. A little long in this segment, which means that the next one is gonna be a little shorter than usual. By the way, I was right: The heckler of Netanyahu today was from Code Pink (and I'll further speculate that she got in on a ticket from John Conyers). That's how it's happened in the past, so I'm going with intelligence guided by experience. Her name was Rae Abileah, lives in San Francisco, 28 years old. She's Netanyahu's personal stalker, disrupted his speech yesterday at AIPAC, his speech to the UN General Assembly back in November 2010 and numerous other times before. She doesn't have money on her own to be funding all this. It's gotta be Code Pink paying her to do this.
RUSH: Well, that's it. It's over. Except for this. A top Palestinian official has said that Bibi Netanyahu's speech today, joint meeting of Congress, is a declaration of war. Now, what can you do with people like that? This guy will not even take "yes" as an answer. Netanyahu told him "yes" to compromise. Declaration of war. Nabil Shaath, aid to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, called it a declaration of war.