I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Benjamin Netanyahu. He seemed something of a careerist with the capacity to talk out of both sides of his mouth. In other words, a politician. But who could decry anyone with the guts to stand in the belly of the United Nations — as he did last Friday — and define that paleo-corrupt institution precisely as it is — a “house of many lies”?
Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress back in May was also widely applauded by a friendly audience. But this address — before a body that welcomes Iranian President Ahmadinejad for the so-called Durban III conference against racism, an inversion of human rights not even Orwell could have imagined — was in the least collegial of atmospheres.
And yet his talk was extremely eloquent and well-delivered. In an atmosphere former NY Mayor Koch describes as a “cesspool,” Netanyahu was the only man, the only statesman, genuinely to stand up for the principles of guilt-ridden Western civilization.
Noteworthy too is that the Israeli PM speaks (and no doubt writes) the English language far better than any of our presidential candidates, not to mention our cliche-ridden liberalist incumbent who is even loath to appear before children without a teleprompter.
Bibi Netanyahu has grown up and grown into the kind of statesman the world and, alas, this country needs. (Can you imagine how he would rout the field in one of the Republican debates?) In Israel he is accused of being “too American,” and indeed he is very American. He represents the best of our tradition –a true liberal in the classical sense, not the false kind currently dominating our culture. Everyone should read his speech — or, better yet, watch it.
Even more important, however, is the question of what to do about that former repository of our hopes and dreams known as the UN. I am writing this on the plane back from NY where I was supervising PJTV coverage of The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III. That was a counter-conference to the UN’s Durban III and featured a number of magnificent speakers from Jon Voight to the Sudan’s Simon Deng. (You can watch them all at the link.) And when I say “magnificent” I am not in this instance being hyperbolic. I am not one who normally enjoys speeches at conferences. I guess I have too much of my own kind of ADD. But these speeches were riveting. Have a look.
As an aside, staying at UN Millennium Hotel with, among others, Mahmoud Abbas (yes, I saw him — I was delayed about fifteen minutes entering the hotel at one point so that he and his entourage could leave in a “secure” manner), I had a funny/strange and weirdly heartening apercu about the Durban III conference.
As many PJM readers know, this is third of these UN-sponsored conferences, supposedly to attack racism but in actuality nothing more than an organized Israel-bash by the euphemistically-named non-aligned nations (along with a few quislings from the West like Norway). Each time this event is conducted increasingly in private with more of the sessions banned to the press. Few people attend, it seems. Many seats were empty even for Ahmadinejad.
So who actually goes to these things and what’s the point of it anyway (besides wasting our tax dollars — the U.S., although it refused to attend, still foots about twenty-five percent of the bill)? Well, delegitimization of Israel, obviously, but I strongly suspect for many of the delegates there’s a much more important reason. It’s a boondoggle. An all-expense paid trip to New York. The lobby of the UN Millennium was filled each night with dozens of handsome African women all decked out in their finest regional attire. They were lined up at the taxi rank too. Did they care about Israel or anything else political? I doubt it — at least not a lot. They were hot-to-trot for a night of Soho clubbing. (Yes, I heard plenty of chatter in the elevator: Where should we go? Oh, not that place. I was there yesterday. Do you have to stand in line, etc.)
And it’s your money, ladies and gentlemen. In a time of financial ruin.
No wonder Topic A at the counter-conference was defunding the UN. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, you’re on.
And, hey, all those nice African ladies are welcome to vacation in the Big Apple all they want, but on their own dime, not mine. I agree to pay for my own trip to Kenya.