The Speech Bibi Could Have Given

As my Twitter feed exploded with mockery and support for Netanyahu’s ACME antics, I took a moment to imagine what might have been:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: today we must speak of a grave matter.

My country has faced existential crises from the moment we declared our independence. In these hallowed halls, your earliest predecessors worked to prevent the outbreak of hostilities between Jews and Muslims by attempting to please both camps. But this organization no longer stands for the noble ideals on which it was founded.

Decades ago you labeled the belief in Jewish nationalism as racist. Several decades passed before you corrected your grave error. Even in  Europe, the birthplace of anti-Semitism, it is accepted that denying self-determination to the Jewish people is a tell-tale sign of such intolerance. But still, this institution persists in allowing such speech to fill its halls.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes this podium to pretend to speak truth to power. And each year you allow him to use this pulpit to re-hash a story the Jews know too well – that we are not welcome at the table. That we are a dangerous “Other” with dark motives and darker plans.

Enough is enough.

An international institution which allows kleptocracies and authoritarian regimes to sit on human rights panels and commissions loses legitimacy in the eyes of its vulnerable members. And yet here we stand today, with a rogue regime – unpopular in its own backyard – struggling to create a doomsday weapon for what it claims are scientific purposes, but which will be used to threaten its neighbors and achieve regional dominance.

Listen closely: the tides of history will drown Iran’s nuclear ambitions; Israel’s contributions to the arts and sciences will remain.

Our technological assistance to developing and developed nations alike are connecting our scientists with the worlds’ needy. When a crisis strikes – whether in Haiti or Italy – our first-responders rush out to the scene, equipped for any operation and ready to risk their lives to save strangers affected by tragic circumstances.

I do not ask you today to draw a hypothetical red-line about a nuclear program developed in secret, against the wishes of the world community. But I will ask you to draw a line in the sand:

Do you want to live in a community of nations which aids and assists its neighbors near and far, or will you continue to appease a dangerous regime in its pursuit of the ultimate weapon?

Will you support a Western, liberal democracy in its time of need, or will you allow us to be pushed into an existential corner by a regime which does not share our global values?

Many times in our history we have been pushed into that corner. Since the fall of the Second Temple, we lacked the capacity to defend our lives and our freedoms. We were slaughtered by marauding Crusaders and frenzied Polish hordes. We were forcibly converted by Spaniards and shuttled into gas chambers by Germans.

No more.

Today, the Israeli Defense Forces stand ready to defend our lives, our beliefs, and our sovereignty.

Draw your line, the choice is yours.

About the Author
Roei Eisenberg studied Political Science at Washington University in St Louis and continued his education at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya's Diplomacy and Conflict Studies program