It wasn’t just Israel that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was defending in his address Friday to the United Nations General Assembly. It was also the United States. He did this not only by implication — arguing eloquently for the free world principle of policy based on facts and truth, not lies — but also quite specifically. One of the most bracing moments in his speech came when he talked about the Sept. 11 attacks on America. Netanyahu said that the night before his speech, he had gone to lay a wreath at the Sept. 11 memorial. He found it “deeply moving,” a comment you might hear from any number of democratic leaders who have made that pilgrimage.
But he went on to say something that was, itself, deeply moving. Speaking to the General Assembly, the erstwhile Parliament of Man, he said, “As I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words of the president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was an American conspiracy. Some of you left this hall. All of you should have.”
He was unequivocal. “Some of you left this hall. All of you should have.”
He was right. But among the political leaders of our time, who, apart from the embattled Israeli prime minister, has the courage and decency to speak such truths to the assembled nations? This is the kind of leadership that’s desperately needed from the U.S. itself.