Netanyahu's speech to Congress shows America will buy anything
The man who explicitly said he would do his level best to destroy the Oslo Accords suddenly says he's in favor of peace with the Palestinians.
By Gideon Levy
It was an address with no destination, filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions. Only rarely is a foreign head of state invited to speak before Congress. It's unlikely that any other has attempted to sell them such a pile of propaganda and prevarication, such hypocrisy and sanctimony as Benjamin Netanyahu did yesterday.
The fact that the Congress rose to its feet multiple times to applaud him says more about the ignorance of its members than the quality of their guest's speech. An Israeli presence on the Jordan River - cheering. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel - applause. Did American's elected representatives know that they were cheering for the death of possibility? If America loved it, we're in big trouble.
The fact that the only truth spoken in the Capitol was that of a former Israeli shouting "equal rights for Palestinians" is a badge of honor for us and a mark of shame for America. Netanyahu's "speech of his life" was the speech of the death of peace.
It was a 1970s show. Maybe back then people still bought the piles of pretty, wise words shoveled by a peace-loving Israeli prime minister. How can an Israeli prime minister dare to say his country "fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely" without spitting out the entire bitter truth - as long as they aren't Palestinian. Suddenly Netanyahu marvels at the Arab Spring, but where was he when it began? He was on his standard scare campaign, warning of the dangers of an extremist Islamic regime and rushing to build a fence along our border with Egypt. And yesterday, suddenly, it's "the promise of a new dawn." Apparently there is no end to hypocrisy.
And how could he rain praise on Israeli democracy when his government has done more than its predecessors to deal the mortal blow to that democracy, to pass completely anti-democratic laws? How can he boast of the status of Israel's Arab citizens, while his right-wing, nationalistic coalition is passing racist laws against them? Saying that Israel's Arabs have more freedom in Israel than in any Arab state is like saying that blacks in American have more rights than those in Africa. So what? Does that mean that African-Americans had equal rights for generations, that they didn't have to fight for their rights?
And how dare he speak about freedom of worship in Jerusalem at a time when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been denied that freedom for years. Freedom of worship in Jerusalem is for Palestinians aged 35 and up, sometimes 45 and up; sometimes even 65 isn't old enough. And for the 2 million people of the Gaza Strip, there is no such freedom at all.
How can Netanyahu praise the peace with Egypt, when it's easy to guess he would have voted against it? The man who explicitly said he would do his level best to destroy the Oslo Accords suddenly says he's in favor of peace with the Palestinians.
Last night we saw that the Americans will buy anything, or at least their applauding legislators will.