Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bibi's "Other" New York Speech

I found this link to the speech at the American Thinker blog site. Writer Ethel C. Fenig points out that, unlike Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was invited two years in a row to speak at Columbia University (you know--"free speech" and all that), Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not invited to speak at Columbia University. But not to worry, New York's 92nd Street Y (Young Mens Hebrew Association) did.

The entire speech is here, with an introduction by Elie Weisel. Fenig points out that other introductions are long, but be patient because Netanyahu's speech is well worth the wait.

Netanyahu is the real deal. As Weisel says in his introduction, he is a statesman, a diplomat, a military man, and a visionary. As I listened to him introduced and then listened to him begin his remarks, what went through my mind was that Benjamin Netanyahu is the antithesis of Barack Obama--in every way.

The video runs for 52:25. I couldn't find a way to stop and start it, so you have to just let it run through.
Elie Weisel's remarks start at 10:00.
Netanyahu begins his remarks at 17:30 and he speaks until 40:00.

I jotted down some notes as I listened to the video. These are not necessarily exact quotes, but I tried my best to get the sense of what was said.

One of the presentors, I didn't catch his name: The Jewish people look back in order to look forward. The past reminds us of our responsibilities to the future. We all have a collective as well as a personal responsibility: to tell the story of truth and defeat the lies, misrepresentations, and distortions.

Elie Weisel: Trust more the threats of the enemy than the promises of the friends. Bibi is a master communicator, he has a stunning gift in defending Israel's name and honor. Whatever motivates him is not a political game, nor is it for political gain.

When Netanyahu was introduced and began speaking, you could literally have heard a pin drop in that large crowd.

Netanyahu's comments about Weisel: You are the greatest witness of the Holocaust. You speak truth of the mind and truth of the heart. You don't let them lie. You have dedicated your life to maintaining memory. We know that all it takes for memory to be erased and lies propogated is for the lies to go unopposed.

In the Jewish people, we see the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, faith, and people.

Then Netanyahu told a story about a time when he was Ambassador to the United Nations, in 1984. The story concluded with something that a New York Rebbe told him. The Rebbe said to Netanyahu: You will go into a house of lies. Remember, in a hall of perfect darkness, if you light one small candle, its precious light will be seen from afar. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people.

Next, Netanyahu spoke of three great lies that must be dispelled.
  • The first great lie is that the Holocaust did not occur, a poisonous lie. This is an example of what Mark Twain said, the greater the lie, the more unopposed, the quicker it spreads.
  • The second lie is that Israel has been the aggressor in the conflict. No. We have made unbelievable concessions. Israel has made painful compromises. We are willing to make peace; they attack us. We want peace. And we expect the other side to make peace with the Jewish State of Israel.
  • The third lie is the most preposterous, that the Jewish people are foreign colonialists in the land of Israel. We have been around here for some time--for 3500 years. This is the land of our forefathers. This is our past. This is our future.
Netanyahu ended his remarks with a request: I ask you, when you light the candles for Yom Kippur, I ask you to light one other candle, the candle of Truth and Justice for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

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