Netanyahu Got It Right – Pontificus Minimus of The Delta Bohemian Opines about the Prime Minister’s address to Congress

By PONTIFICUS MINIMUS

The former Temple Beth Israel, located at the juncture of Catalpa and Seminole Streets in Clarksdale. Pontificus spent many a Friday night there as a child with his friend Darryl Labens. He drives by it often and the daily site of it brings back many pleasant memories! Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The former Temple Beth Israel, located at the juncture of Catalpa and Seminole Streets in Clarksdale. Pontificus spent many a Friday night there as a child with his friend Darryl Labens. He drives by it often and the daily site of it brings back many pleasant memories! Photo by The Delta Bohemian

INTRODUCTION: Pontificus Minimus, while wearing all the rough off a treadmill, read the subtitles to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s May 24th address to a joint session of Congress. This was his second such address; the first being during his first term as Prime Minister in 1996. Not many folks have every twice addressed a joint session of Congress.

Following this introduction is a complete transcript of Netanyahu’s speech in plain text, accompanied periodically by Pontificus’s comments in bold and italics. It is quite lengthy and probably not fodder for the casual/non-causal reader.

Long a staunch, if not sometimes ill-informed, supporter of Israel and its struggle for independence and security, Pontificus was blown away with Netanyahu’s honesty, willingness to compromise on issues that will have ultra-Zionists within his own country calling for his head on a proverbial platter, and his non wishy-washy Trumanesque plain-speak, regarding what he and Israel will not compromise on. This level of public honesty is very refreshing in a world where pundits and politicians engage in non-stop, specious, dubious, double-talk.

For the sake of honesty and self-disclosure, Pontificus Minimus did attend a Bible college in Dallas, Texas during the late 80’s, where a strong emphasis was placed on Christians supporting Israel and it’s historical, present, and future significance for not only Christians, but also people of faith everywhere.

Pontificus remembers vividly telling a community-based youth group he was a member of in the mid-seventies that he was drawn to Christianity out of a fear of the chaos and uncertainty created due to Arab Guerillas wreaking havoc in the Middle East. He also attended the local synagogue often on Friday nights with his friend Darryl Labens; the same former synagogue he can see from his carport one block away.

Plus, Pontificus always pulls for the underdog, and Israel with its 7.7 million citizens (75% are Jewish and 21% are Arab) amidst over 300-million Arabs and 1.4-billion Muslims is surely an underdog.

Israel and its ultra-Zionist detractors are not without fault and they do not speak for God, all Jews, or all Christians; however, Israel is to be commended in Pontificus’s humble opinion for staying focused, even existing after the Holocaust (which Iran denies ever happened), providing more freedom of worship and speech than any other country in the tenuous region, and defending its citizens at all costs and often with global condemnation that would wilt a lesser nation.

The entire speech by Netanyahu can be read below, along with Pontificus’s limited and minimal comments in italics. Pontificus is not an authority or distinguished erudite scholar on Israel, the Arab Nations, or Middle Eastern history; he is but one slightly informed guy with an opinion and a website to air his opinions. Please feel free to disagree with him, Netanyahu, or any aspect of the speech or Pontificus’s pontification. Comments, as always, are welcome! Seek the Truth! Vaya con Dios! PM

TRANSCRIPT: ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BINYAMIN NETANYAHU’S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS, MAY 24, 2011

NETANYAHU: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

He obviously loves Elvis!

Vice President Biden, Speaker Boehner, distinguished senators, members of the House, honored guests, I’m deeply moved by this warm welcome. And I’m deeply honored that you’ve given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time.

Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time that we were the new kids in town?

And I do see a lot of old friends here, and I see a lot of new friends of Israel here, as well — Democrats and Republicans alike.

Israel has no better friend than America, and America has no better friend than Israel.

We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism.

Wise to reach out to both parties and to remind them that friendship with Israel is good for Israel, America, the Middle East, and the entire world.

Congratulations, America. Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance.

He ain’t skeered to say the phrase, “Good riddance.” For all we know the Mossad (Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) might have provided the intelligence leading to the successful and heroic Seal Team operation. Israel doesn’t want the glory; they just want to sleep at night without the fear of bombs raining down on their children.

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.

My friends, you don’t have to — you don’t need to do nation- building in Israel. We’re already built.

You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.

And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves.

Wow! What a fine statement concerning self-direction and self-reliance. Though they do receive United States aid, they are not completely dependent, as are far too many nations, on the American teat!

NETANYAHU: You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you, President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security.

A gracious and wise thank you to President Obama in light of his confusing and wavering support of Israel in recent weeks.

I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Some of you have been telling me that your belief has been reaffirmed in recent months that support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future, for an epic battle is now under way in the Middle East between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states. They’ve toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting.

Now, this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. There are millions of young people out there who are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives.

This is a fine acknowledgement of the shakiness in the Middle East, while reaffirming the importance of democracy and democratic ideals in an area of the world where a dearth of freedom is apparent.

They demand dignity. They desire liberty. These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet, as we share their hopes…

(A protester heckles 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 Tehran or in Tripoli. This is real democracy.

Thank you.

So as we share the hopes of these young people throughout the Middle East and Iran that they’ll be able to do what that young woman just did — I think she’s young; I couldn’t see quite that far…

Netanyahu handled a heckler well and acknowledged the liberty she possesses in the free world to heckle. Should she try that in many other countries, she would likely be imprisoned, tortured or killed.

… we must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out, as they were in Tehran in 1979.

You remember what happened there. The brief democratic spring in Tehran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. And it’s this same tyranny that smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution and inflicted on that long-suffering country the Medieval rule of Hezbollah.

So today the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. And like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less traveled, the path of liberty.

No one knows what this path consists of better than you. Nobody.

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.

He affirmed that elections alone do not ensure democracy, good governance and a willingness to hear and heed dissent do.

Israel has always embraced this path in a 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.

Pontificus is amazed how often folks who cry the loudest about their perceived abrogation of rights in America are the most silent when it comes to the injurious and freedom-robbing behaviors of misogynistic, gay-hating, Christian-persecuting, non-democracies.

And this was seen…

There was a great English writer in the 19th century, George Eliot. It’s a she. That was a pseudonym in those days.

George Eliot predicted over a century ago that once established the Jewish state — here’s what she said, “The Jewish state will shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.”

Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates.

Now, don’t laugh.

Ah, you see, you think you’re tough on another — on one another here in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Laws and compromise are even more contentious in the Israeli Knesset than in the United States Congress. The current makeup of the Knesset has 120 members from 18 different parties. In America, Congress only has to deal with two parties to produce legislation.

According to Ahlul Bayt News Agency, the Arab members of the Knesset, have said Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday was an attempt at deception. The important thing to note here is that there ARE ARAB MEMBERS OF ISRAEL’S GOVERNING LEGISTLATIVE BODY and they are free to voice their opinions! Hello, non-free world, how often do you see Jewish citizens elected or admitted to Arab parliamentary bodies?

Courageous Arab protesters are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies.

We’re proud in Israel that over 1 million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades.

Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights.

Now, I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one percent are truly free and they’re all citizens of Israel.

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong with the Middle East; Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

May sound cocky, but he is right!

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 region — in the Middle East.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium. By the way, it hasn’t changed.

I stood here and I said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab world. Well, it’s begun to take root. And this beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. Because I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope for the best and while we work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future.

They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace.

Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, the hinge of history may soon turn, for the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam.

Netanyahu acknowledges that militant Islam threatens legitimate Islam. How often does one hear militant Islamic leaders acknowledge the legitimacy of the Jewish people to have even a divided homeland, or to even exist as individuals?

Now, I have no doubt, I’m absolutely convinced that it will ultimately be defeated. I believe it will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. It depends on cloistering young minds for a given amount of years, and the process of opening up information will ultimately defeat this movement.

The suppression of information in despotic countries and regimes is intended to keep the populace ignorant and enslaved.

But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact an horrific price from all of us before its eventual demise. A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world.

I want you to understand what this means, because if we don’t stop it, it’s coming.

They could put a bomb anywhere. They could put it in a missile. They’re working on missiles that could reach this city.

They could put it on a — on a ship, inside a container. It could reach every port.

They could eventually put it in a suitcase or in a subway.

Now, the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after 6 million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet.

Now, there’s something that makes the outrage even greater. And you know what that is? It’s the lack of outrage. Because in much of the international community the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence.

It’s even worse, because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.

Not you. Not America.

You’ve acted differently. You’ve condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran.

History will salute you, America.

Netanyahu has no need to play nice here with those who seek his country’s demise. If Canada, Mexico, Cuba, or Venezuela used this rhetoric, denied that 9/11 happened as Iran has denied the Holocaust occurred–over 6-million Jewish people killed– advocated killing Americans whenever and wherever possible, had already fired thousands of missiles at our border towns killing our citizens and our babies, and demanded unequivocally that we return all lands stolen from Native Americans and the Mexican people to those they first belonged to, then most liberal-minded (not used here as a pejorative) Americans would be dusting off the A-bomb, putting on Kevlar, and volunteering for duty.

It is too easy for armchair theologians, pundits, politicians, and taxpayer-funded beltway employees to decry Israel’s defending itself against hundreds of millions of detractors, haters, abrogators, and nihilists. But, let their comfortable lifestyles, neighborhoods, Starbucks, and families be even slightly threatened, and one would think their “persecutions” were the first to ever exist in the known world. How about that for a “soapbox” ladies and gentlemen?

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The president successfully led the Security Council at the U.N. to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions.

Nice to attempt to co-opt Obama here, and to subtly acknowledge that Congress “passed even tougher sanctions.”

Now, these words, and these, are vitally important. Yet the ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear weapons program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. In that same year, Moammar Gadhafi gave up his nuclear weapons program and for the same reason.

The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation.

And this is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message that America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Weakness has never produced peace. The only way to deal with a bully is head on–knock him down and step on his neck until he cries Uncle and gives back the lunch money.

In the days leading up to World War II, many in the British aristocracy, including Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, believed in the ultimate goodness of mankind and they thought they could appease and “reason” with Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. They couldn’t; nor can Israel appease or reason with countries, fanatics, theologies and ideologies bent on erasing it and its people from the face of the earth.

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.

Israel always reserves — Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.

My friends, while Israel will be ever-vigilant in its defense, we’ll never give up our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it.

Because we want peace. Because we need peace.

Now, we’ve achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and these have held up for decades.

Peace with Egypt and Jordan were earned and negotiated with blood, sweat, fears, and tears; they were not easy peace agreements to achieve, but once achieved, they produced fruit.

I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal — I mean that literally — inside the Suez Canal. I was going down to the bottom with a 40- pound pack — ammunition pack on my back, and somebody reached out to grab me. And they’re still looking for the guy who did such a stupid thing.

I was nearly killed there.

And I remember battling terrorists along both banks of the Jordan.

Too many Israelis have lost loved ones, and I know their grief.

I lost my brother. So no one in Israel wants to return to those terrible days.

Netanyahu, like almost all Israelis, is not a draft-dodger or rear-echelon (REM) soldier; he almost lost his life in the service of his country and lost his brother and other friends in the conflicts. He knows the price of war and the true cost of real, lasting peace.

The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East. And this peace…

This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.

The peace agreements between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan are vital, but they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state.

I’m willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel it’s my responsibility to lead my people to peace.

Now, this is not easy for me. It’s not easy…

… because I recognize that in a genuine peace, we’ll be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland. And you have to understand this: In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.

Netanyahu is willing to give up what he views as ancestral Jewish lands for the sake of peace; whether one agrees with his motives or the intent of his statements, he is willing to compromise for the sake of peace.

We’re not the British in India. We’re not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace.

Unlike too many professing Christians today, Netanyahu appears to believe in a literal translation of at least many of the seminal events that occurred during what Christians refer to as the Old Testament and Jewish people often refer to as the Law (Torah–first five books of the Bible) and the Prophets.

No distortion of history — and boy, am I reading a lot of distortions of history lately, old and new — no distortion of history could deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace…

… in which they’ll be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state.

They should enjoy a prosperous economy where their creativity and initiative can flourish.

Now, we’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves.

By the way, Prime Minister Fayyad has led this effort on their part and I — I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation.

We’ve helped, on our side, we’ve helped the Palestinian economic growth by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10 percent a year. And Palestinian cities — they look very different today than what they looked just few — a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses, but you can’t see that when you visit them.

That’s what they have.

It’s a great change.

Now, Pontificus cannot attests to the growth mentioned here, but he firmly believes if peace can be established between the Palestinian authorities and the state and people of Israel, then, and only then, can true economic growth be spurred in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

And all of this is happening without peace. So imagine what could happen with peace.

Peace would herald a new day for both our peoples, and it could also make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here’s the question — you’ve got to ask it — If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us?

Because all six Israeli prime ministers since the signing of the Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state, myself included. So why has peace not been achieved?

Because so far the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about.

If the Palestinian people and their leaders will not concede the Israeli right to have a homeland, then peace agreements are futile and peace will never be attained. The same deterrents in Palestine are the same ones who could be seen cheering in the streets of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip when the twin towers collapsed. Now, if that is not upsetting to Americans, then they should walk a mile in an Israeli’s shoes.

In 1947 the U.N. voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said “Yes.” The Palestinians said “No.”

In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli prime ministers to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six-Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has seen wars and battles in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982. During several of those conflicts–even when first attacked in 1948, 1973, and 1982–Israel gained new lands and later gave much of it back to Egypt and Syria. How often do conquering countries give back lands garnered during warfare?

And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And, worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy the Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end.

President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people — and I told you it wasn’t easy for me. I stood before my people, and I said, “I will accept a Palestinian state.”

It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, “I will accept a Jewish state.”

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.

When young Palestinian children are seen lobbing bombs and rocks at Israeli soldiers, Pontificus’s heart is broken. What children are told by their parents and governing authorities will indeed govern how the children will live their lives and govern in the future. If this is the Palestinian legacy, then peace will never be achieved and most Palestinians will be regulated to living bitter, unfulfilled, and socio-economically deprived lives.

With such a partner, the Palestinians — or, rather, the Israeli people will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise; I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise.

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967.

The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv.

Now, these areas are densely populated, but they’re geographically quite small. And under any realistic peace agreement these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I’m saying today something that should be said publicly by all those who are serious about peace: In any real peace agreement, 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.

So I want to be very clear on this point: Israel will be generous on the size of a Palestinian state, but we’ll be very firm on where we put the border with it.

Whether one agrees with Netanyahu or not, he is not blowing smoke up the proverbial rear of anyone.

This is an important principle; shouldn’t be lost.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, to be independent, to be prosperous.

All of you, and the president, too, have referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as you’ve been talking about a future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people.

Well, Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the one and only Jewish state.

And Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state.

And here’s what this means: It means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

You know, everybody knows this. It’s time to say it. It’s important. And as for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected the freedom of worship for all faiths in the city.

Throughout the millennial history of the Jewish capital, the only time that Jews, Christians and Muslims could worship freely, could have unfettered access to their holy sites, has been during Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel.

I know this is a difficult issue for Palestinians, but I believe that with creativity and with goodwill, a solution can be found. So this is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well that in the Middle East the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend. So peace must be anchored in security.

“The only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.”–Honest and true words.

In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and from Gaza. We thought we’d get peace. That’s not what we got.

We got 12,000 rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas.

Picture 12,000 rockets over a few-year span raining down on a state the size of little ole New Hampshire, with no apologies, and then picture the independent-minded American people saying, “Let’s give them more land and let’s ‘break bread’ with them, even though many of them continue to bomb us and many want us annihilated.” Israel, in Pontificus’s opinion, has been pretty darn conciliatory.

The U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon, they failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza, they evaporated overnight.

Do-gooders with little understanding of other cultures and long-standing conflicts rarely stay vested in the troubles in another land when the going gets tough. Only the indigenous remain.

So 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?

The answer is NO!

Well, we’re not going to live that way, either.

Nor should you President Netanyahu!

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements, because of its unique size. It’s one of the smallest countries in the world.

Mr. Vice President, I’ll grant you this: It’s bigger than Delaware.

It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it.

Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now, here’s a bit of nostalgia. I came to Washington 30 years ago, as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway.

But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.

A country nine-miles wide at one point surrounded by millions upon millions of folks, with terrorists-funded weapons, who want them to no longer exist. Americans, picture this in our own front yard! Tiger Woods and Big Jim Dent could hit a few drivers and clear the country.

So it’s therefore vital, absolutely vital, that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized.

And it’s vital, absolutely vital, that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River.

Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they’re necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. Because in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.

Even if the Palestinian authorities agree to peace, there are still hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims with power, adherents, money, and means to change the equation over night. This DOES NOT APPLY to ALL Arabs and Muslims, but it does apply to enough to make Israel’s continuous and tentative existence non-secure.

And, my friends, when I say “Tomorrow,” I don’t mean some distant time in the future. I mean tomorrow.

Peace can only be achieved around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace.

It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.

I appreciate the president’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated.

Lasting peace will never and can never be imposed. Peace must be agreed upon.

But peace can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace, and Hamas is not a partner for peace.

Hamas — Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism.

They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, it says kill the Jews everywhere you find them.

Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior.

Palestinians leaders and the Palestinian people as a whole must, must, must stand up to Hamas and say, “NO MORE!” If not, then Israel will be the target today and America will be tomorrow!

Now, again, I want to make this clear: Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority.

I believe we can fashion a brilliant future for our children.

But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaida. That we will not do.

So I say to President Abbas, “Tear up your pact with Hamas, sit down and negotiate, make peace with the Jewish state. And if you do, I promise you this: Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as the new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.”

My friends, the momentous trials of the last century and the unfolding events of this century attest to the decisive role of the United States in defending peace and advancing freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All people who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation.

Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds in ancient and modern times alike.

I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America, thank you.

Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world.

May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America.

AMEN!

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

Elvis has left the building! PM

The former Temple Beth Israel, located at the juncture of Catalpa and Seminole Streets in Clarksdale. Pontificus spent many a Friday night there as a child with his friend Darryl Labens. He drives by it often and the daily site of it brings back many pleasant memories! Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The former Temple Beth Israel, located at the juncture of Catalpa and Seminole Streets in Clarksdale. Pontificus spent many a Friday night there as a child with his friend Darryl Labens. He drives by it often and the daily site of it brings back many pleasant memories! Photo by The Delta Bohemian

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Comments

  1. Amen Brother.

    • I had a feeling I might get some LD love on this one! I actually felt stronger about it than I dare share! Appreciate ya brother! Had Swamp Rat and his wife over tonight to join Miss Madge and me in hearing John Ruskey and his lovely wife, Sarah, talk about his recent excursions on the Mississippi River at crest. He showed us about a 1,ooo photos on a slide show! Incredible!

      • I have a lot to say on this topic. Only much of it wouldn’t come out nearly as eloquently as your writing. Plus, my blood starts to boil at the though of Israel handing over its land to a bunch of murdering thugs who seeks its destruction. Pretty soon I start to foam at the mouth, and next thing you know, well see Lon Chaney Jr./Lawrence Talbot. Anyone buying into this land for peace nonsense is delusional. Netanyahu gets it. Too bad our president doesn’t.

        I digress; you are doing a bang up job covering the Mississippi River flooding. The pictures alone are crazy. Glad you got the Swamp Rat out of his cage for a bit. You guys are due for a change of luck. I feel good things coming down the road soon.

        Stay well. I really dig the DeltaBo site.

  2. Lil John says:

    “And you don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves.”

    —he’s not from Israel; he’s from TEXAS!

  3. What’s with the interest of Israel in the home page of the Delta Bohemian? Are you trying to get Abe’s BBQ as a sponsor?

    • Unc, The owners of Abe’s are Lebanese, not Jewish! The interest my good friend is, “It’s what the hell Pontificis wanted to write about! Ha! Now, get yo BBQ-eatin’, beer swillin’ ASS back to the DELTA, soon! Miss ya!!!!

  4. Wow! You boys must be country club bohemians. For someone to be blown away by a rabid racist like Netanyahoo must mean one of three things: that Texas Bible college sure did a number on your ability to think for yourself, or they’re putting an overdose of Israeli propaganda in Delta water, or, despite your grandiose “Pontificus” appellation, you’re an intellectual featherweight. Have a dose of reality, from about 3 hours West of you:

    http://levantium.com/2011/05/26/it-was-all-rather-disgusting/

    And by the way (if I can disturb the tranquility of your mutual admiration society), the owners of Abe’s are Americans, not Lebanese, although their DNA is probably a lot more in common with Sephardic Jews than the European Jews who colonized Palestine after WW2 and kicked most of the natives out.

    Do the good folks of Clarksdale really care about your one-sided drivel?

    • Never pay attention to a man whose name is a modified spelling of an undergarment meant to support a set of balls.

  5. Lil John says:

    i’ll take number three.

  6. Ken Willingale says:

    I love the Blues and love Mississippi. In many ways the story of the Blues is a a story of repression and the search for freedom. This is also the story of the Palestinians. It’s a great shame you and many Americans without whom Israel cannot exist devote so much space to a very biased view of the Middle East. Having just come across this site in my search for the Blues I for one will not be reading further or book marking this site.
    “The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.” Thomas Paine 1737 – 1809

  7. Did you guys know that the Jewish people in Eastern Europe after WWII were often refused sanctuary and told to “go back to Palestine”? They were driven from their homes and certainly never got them back-assuming they survived the Holocaust-not to mention the fact that their wealth was plundered by the Nazis as well. They might have kept the keys like the Palestinians did if the Nazis had let them keep any belongings or even their clothes! Even those who escaped the Nazis by hiding and returned found other people living in their homes when they returned. What was not plundered often had to be used as bribes to get food since the people were not generally very inclined to help them-duing the war it would get them killed and after the war there was not much to go around. I got this info from historical sources as well as memoirs-and not just Jewish memoirs. Ironically, now they are being told to “go back to Europe.” This wasn’t nearly the first time this had happened to the Jewish people. There were the pogroms in Russia before that, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and before that, the Romans destroying the Temple in Jerusalem under general Titus in 70 AD-which is a matter of historical record (The Romans kept good records.) How would any of you feel if there was no place in the world safe for you and if you felt unwanted by almost every country? (Even the US wasn’t so welcoming during WWII.) Most of them now simply want peace and safety. (There are those with an extreme nationalist bent who want everything to be Jewish only, but that is not the majority.) Have you seen how small Israel is compared to the countries around it? You’d think the Jewish people were asking for half the planet! They aren’t even asking for all of Palestine.

    Having said that, I am against oppression of any kind no matter who is doing it; therefore, I think all those issues with the Israelis need to be addressed. Any oppression and discrimination (and I admit that it exists) that is being done by the Israelis must stop. And I do mean that. However, those who scream about the injustices to the Palestinians while completely ignoring their rocket attacks and suicide bombers against the Israelis are just as unfair. In other words, neither side is exactly blameless in this whole thing. As far as Palestinian statehood is concerned, who exactly would be in charge: Hamas or Fatah? And how could we know for sure? Hamas was elected democratically by the Palestinians. How do you form a state from a group of people who have as part of their charter the destruction of an entire ethnic group of people-whether you approve of that ethnic group or not? With any other group that policy or inclusion in a charter would be severely frowned upon-can you imagine if the US had that in our foreign policy? Yet many, many people and nations seem to have no problem that the Palestinians have that in their charter. Why is that? Can’t we at least iron out that major issue first before we discuss statehood?

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