I watched Bibi’s speech like many other people around the world. I listened to all the points he made so elegantly. I drew pride when he stated that the days of Jewish passiveness in the face of genocidal enemies were over. I felt inspired when he spoke about Elie Wiesel. I nodded in agreement when he spoke about the Iranian radical regime. But there was something else I noticed – and it wasn’t just in the things he said. And it wasn’t even in just this speech. You see – the thing I noticed most was really quite a simple thing – it was respect.
Because despite the complete disrespect and outright rudeness this White House administration has shown to the democratically elected leader of the democratic State of Israel, Bibi has never responded in the same way.
In his opening remarks he spoke about his humility to be at that great hall. He spoke about his appreciation to the US presidents, including and specifically Barrack Obama. He spoke about how in Israel’s moment of need, President Obama supported him. And he spoke about the generosity of the American people.
And Obama’s response? He had no time to meet Bibi, because he had to meet with a lady who eats cereal out of a bathtub. And he has no time to meet Bibi, because it’s against a long time policy to meet leaders during an election period – never mind the fact that Bill Clinton met Prime Minister Peres a month before an Israeli election. Bibi speaks about great friendships between Israel and America, and yet Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice calls Bibi’s visit ‘destructive’ to US-Israel relations. John Kerry says Bibi is welcome to speak, yet doesn’t seem to say anything about the completely disrespectful gesture of Biden and dozens of other Democrats who boycotted his speech. Or how about Nancy Pelosi’s remark of how she found Bibi’s speech ‘insulting to the intelligence of the United States.’ Actually, Nancy, your intelligence ain’t that high, so you’d probably find any speech with big words insulting to your intelligence. You did after all remark how Qatar told you that ‘Hamas Is a Humanitarian Organization.’ Um…yeah…so should we simply ignore the fact that Hamas is a designated terrorist group, according to your own US Department of State?
And then I think about the response Obama got when he visited Israel – a response he would never achieve in all the countries he’s trying to court now. Despite the obvious differences, Israel welcomed him with open arms. They greeted him warmly. Children sang Hebrew songs for him. He was made to feel special. And his response to that was to ignore the Knesset and speak to students at a convention centre. Bibi gave him the red carpet treatment and welcomed him through the front doors so everyone could see, while Obama ushered him into the White House through the back door like a nasty relative you don’t want anyone to hear about.
And throughout the months and years that Benjamin Netanyahu has been Prime Minister and Obama President, we hear constant derogatory remarks made from the White House. While Netanyahu speaks of Obama with high praise, we hear Obama’s White House call him ‘chickenshit’. And while Israel speaks of enduring friendship, we hear the Obama administration call him destructive.
It’s true that the Israeli government and the Obama administration see the world differently, but this isn’t kindergarten and just because Israel doesn’t bow to every whim or demand of America, should it mean that Israel should have to endure the unprecedented hostility of the Obama administration? It’s also true that Israel will always put the security of it’s citizens first and make no apologies for doing that. If the price of that is to be disliked by the White House – then so be it.
I’ve been fortunate to visit America and have fond memories of just how helpful and friendly and hospitable the people were. I know that the attitude and rudeness shown by this Obama administration, which shows more respect to murderous dictators that are their enemies than to democratically elected allies who are their friends, is truly not a reflection of the American people that I met.
How sad it is that with the most advanced technological surveillance equipment and resources in the world – Obama still doesn’t see it.
Israelis and Jews can be pushy. And they can be blunt. They can be in your face. And yes, at times they can even be rude. But their hearts are pure and their intentions are good. Their empathy with the world and the compassion they have shown to it extends far beyond the borders of this small state. And their goals are no different from any other decent people that roam this earth – they want to live and they want to thrive and they want to be successful. You will be hard-pressed to find a better friend and a truer ally than the State of Israel. Nancy Pelosi and much of the world might turn their back on Israel, but Israel will never turn its back on the world.
For that, they deserve a little respect.