Skip to comments.Just saw former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Posted on 04/11/2002 2:47:48 AM PDT by xm177e2
Just saw former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: I just got back from the American Enterprise Institute.
When I arrived there, police were everywhere. The line to go through security and get into the conference room was long, but by being near the end of the line (I was late, so sue me), I passed through the metal detectors just before Bibi came breezing in. I stepped forward to try to shake his hand and five Secret Service agents gave me the stare of death... so, no hobnobbing with greatness tonight. But I did listen to one of the most engaging and intelligent politicians I've ever encountered.
Netanyahu was Israel's ninth Prime Minister, serving from May 1996 to July 1999.
After Christopher DeMuth (president of AEI) introduced Bibi, everyone applauded for a few seconds. Not too much, I think everyone wanted to get down to business. Everyone except AEI's eminant demographer, Ben Wattenberg, who was the lone participant in a standing ovation.
Bibi began by stressing that he was not in the U.S. as an official representative of Israel, but that Ariel Sharon had asked him to come to make Israel's case to America. He said he was surprised and pleased by how supportive and amiable he had found us, "even... the media."
His first point was that Israel has not used overwhelming air power, as the U.S. did in Afghanistan. The Israelis are fighting on the ground, risking their people and losing their people, fighting house to house.
During question time, Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal asked Bibi if Israel was being as careful as the U.S. had been in Afghanistan. Bibi replied, no, they were being more careful. They were not useing their overwhelming air power and tanks cannot compare to bombers. The Israelis are "taking undue risks... in order to reduce civillian casualties."
UN General Secretary Kofi Annan has asked "Can it be that the entire world is wrong?"
Bibi's reply: "You're damned right."
"It's the regimes, stupid" Bibi dismissed the needle in a haystack metaphor: Going after the needle is a waste of time. Go for the haystack instead.
He sees two options for dealing with terrorists and their sponsors:
On restraining Israel: "If you start hedging, if you start equivocating... in the way that we can respond... then you will blunt [the war on terror]."
Per capita, Israel has suffered seven times the casualties as the U.S. did in the World Trade Center attacks.
Arafat does not want to create a state, "he wants to destroy one."
Policide - to kill a state.
Arafat has "con-artists" fronting to the Western media for his "bloody dictatorship." They are an "insult to a free press, free inquiry, free debate," etc.
Arafat promised to get rid of policide (the attempt to eliminate a state, i.e. Israel) and suicide. Once installed in power in Palestine, he proceeded to promote both.
He is not a King Hussein (a moderate who might be worth negotiating with) but a Sadaam Hussein.
Bibi did get in one self-serving point this evening. It was not necessarily self-serving, it can just be seen that way. He pointed out that under his government, there were only a handful of losses to terrorists in Israel, because he deterred Arafat. He worked through intermediaries to get one point across to Arafat - if you commits acts of terror or aid them, "We'll bring you down." That "had a way of focusing his attention."
Arafat is no longer capable of being deterred. "He has to go." Israel needs to "complete our action." Like with antibiotics, a partial dose cannot do the job. Arafat is a "cancer... If under pressure, we don't complete [our action]... if he comes out of his bunker with V-signs," it will come back against Israel, "and against you."
Powell's visit, no matter the reasons, will have no positive effect. Whether or not Arafat signs the 13th ceasefire is meaningless. His signatures and promises are worthless.
"We have to shut it down now... we have to finish the job."
Bibi invoked the history of Israel's preventive strike on Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981. They were condemend, but it was the only thing to do. It was the right thing to do. Just as the U.S. must now take care of Sadaam, Israel must take care of Arafat.
"I don't want to sound like a Nike commercial, but "Just Do It!" "
It is easier than everyone thinks and it will be faster than everyone thinks.
People ask, if we get rid of Arafat, what next? If we topple the Taliban, what next, who will replace them? Bibi answers that the question of "What happens next" should not blunt action, but should encourage supplementary action.
Will Hamid Karzai be around in Afghanistan in five years time? Bibi replies, "who cares?" Whomever is there will be deterred from terrorism. The U.S. has taught them the fruits of terrorism - and they are not sweet.
If Arafat remains, he will wash "the brains of another generation."
Bibi proposes the example of Nazi Germany. There are no Nazis left in Germany. Just democrats of one stripe or another. There are no militant bushido in Japan today, just democrats.
"Can we affect such a change? ... Not the same kind... but some kind of pluralism" is possible.
The U.S. must begin to introduce the concepts of democracy, etc., into the Arab world. You can go on about the dangers of Islamism in a democracy, but if you don't start a democracy, you can't get rid of Islamism.
"Give them a chance!"
"Uproot terrorism... and plant the seeds of freedom."
And don't let their elections be like Arafat's fake election, where he got 94 percent of the vote while controlling a hundred percent of the media and killing or silencing all his opposition.
Bibi cites the example of Turkey. The arguments that the Islamic world, genetically or culturally, cannot be free just cannot survive the case of Turkey. It is not perfect, but we are happy that it is as good as it is.
"It's not a perfect democratic model, but its a hell of a lot better than Taliban Afghanistan."
During the question period, a Turkish TV reporter asked Bibi about the recent strains in Israeli-Turkish relations, after the Turkish leader's "genocide" remark about the Israeli actions in Palestine. "An unfortunate term." Turkey is under pressure to say these things, to take that kind of stance. But Turkey has taken the same, necessary actions in its own country to root out domestic terrorism.
Iraq: Defeating Sadaam is not a puzzle, it is a foregone conclusion. Bibi had a recommendation on how to defeat Sadaam with ease. "When you land your first landing craft, I would say [to the Iraqi Republican Guard], you will all die [if you do not surrender]." Tell the same to the missile commanders. Make it public knowledge that those who side with Sadaam will simply die.
The wall: Bibi favors a "physical line of separation" between Israel and the Palestinians. There is a fence around the Gaza Strip, and the bombers cannot get through. But he claims not to favor setting up a comparable fence. He stresses that it is a physical boundary, not a political one. It is not a political solution. It is "agenda neutral."
It should be one-way: The Israelis can go into Palestinian territories if need be, but the Palestinians cannot come into Israel.
"You have it in order not to get killed."
A Palestinian State: A representative from the Egyptian Embassy asked Bibi if he supported the establishment of a Palestinian state. Bibi replied that he supported Palestinian self-government, but would hold off on a state. When it can be run by non-terrorists, a state might be possible. One that won't import masses of weapons and make military pacts with terrorist states.
"I don't want them to have the power to destroy my state."
Anyone who supports an Arafat-ist state has "learned nothing from history."
The Saudi Plan: It is not a peace plan, just a plan. It has two goals:
The Arabs are offering the words of peace, but the conditions of destruction.
Negotiators: Dr. Zinni (Bibi made fun of his name - "That's your name? You're serious?") from the Council of Democracy asked if the U.S. should send Clinton or Bush senior to the Middle East to negotiate.
Bibi said it does not matter who you send. Arafat cannot be negotiated with.
Iran: Bibi says Syria is only passively involved in the Hizbullah attacks from Lebanon, but Iran is actively orchestrating them.
"It is not by accident that Iran is doing what it is doing... they know they're next..."
Europe: - When asked, 'what should the Europeans do,' Bibi replies, "Be ashamed."
- Sadaam's missiles are of a range to threaten Europe, but instead of opposing him the Europeans support him
- How to explain European attitudes and actions? How to build understanding? Bibi says he will try to give a constructive answer rather than a nasty one.
Bibi says Europe is "twisted" because their formative experience was colonialism. They see Israel as practicing a new colonialism, no different from French Algeria, the Belgian Congo, and so forth. Their prism makes them eat up the anti-colonialist message put forth by Arafat's cronies.
Bibi's grandfather came from America in the 19th century to Zion and he was the only person to do so who stayed. The Jews built a country from a wasteland of sand. That is why Churchill said, in the interwar years, "The Arabs have no grievances whatsoever against the Jews." The Jews made Israel.
But America, "The New Jerusalem," is immune to the colonialist frame. The U.S. has a "basic affinity" for Israel "which cannot be cluttered even by bad media coverage."
And just like that, Bibi was gone. He was at the National Press Club this morning, the Senate at mid-day and G-d knows where else before he met with us this evening. Not a bad day's work.
" it will come back against Israel, "and against you."
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I just finished reading a Colin Powell statement, and the two juxtaposed are...........uh, um, interesting.
Netanyahu talks words with meaning, Powell says words with all the nutrition of ping pong ball centers.
I've always liked Binjamin! now If find out he dislikes the press...AAhh Goodnight all!|-}
Sad, Sad, Sad.
Could anyone else have put it better . . . and more concisely?
Bush will be in trouble if Netanyahu gets back in. He will not only ignore Bush's 'restraint at all costs' policy for Israel but will do what America is doing and keep on doing it ......like we are doing.
Netanyahu talks words with meaning, Powell says words with all the nutrition of ping pong ball centers.
Often, diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggie!", whilst looking about for a rock. I'm hoping Powell is just the guy charged with saying "nice doggie", and doesn't really believe half of the crap he is saying for Euro/Arab consumption. For a great editorial that says the above and more, much more eruditely, see JohnHuang2's piece from this AM Israel keeps fighting, with Powell on the way [Operation Bamboozle]. It's worth the time to read.
I saw Bibi giving one of his speeches yesterday on Fox, I think this one, but it might have been the Senate. The guy is just awesome.
Ah.......the power of words. LOL.....freepers are so good at it.
How come I didn't see any of this on CSPAN? I'd love to see Bibi speeches...if someone will just show them.