Sunday, June 14, 2009

Netanyahu Speaks at Bar Ilan University

This speech was generally seen as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's answer to Obama's Cairo speech (Berman Post: Obama Speaks in Cairo (Egypt)).

It was a very good speech. Many people are focusing on his opening few minutes, that he wants peace and is willing to accept a Palestinian state. They see it as some sort of concession to Obama's will. I do not see it that way. The how is what people should be focusing on. Neranyahu basically said; you want a Palestinian state, fine, but in return you need to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, we get to keep Jerusalem, and you have to renounce the 'right to return'. Neranyahu was also clear in saying that they only way this would work is if the new country remained disarmed. This is a not so subtle reference to how Gaza has been militarized and a call for it to be disarmed before moving forward. A large portion of his speech was a history lesson, one that Israel's critics would be wise to learn to understand why Israel is the way it is.

The reason the speech was was so good is because it flips things back at Obama and points the finger at the Arabs (especially the Palestinians). When Obama puts pressure on Israel to make moves to help create a Palestinian state, Neranyahu can say that the reasonable conditions he set have not yet been met. Thus the lack of forward movement on the matter becomes the fault of the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

Further analysis on the speech at

Full transcript at

Videos embedded below. (from

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