Thursday, May 07, 2009

Biden's AIPAC Speech: Will Netanyahu Respond As Forcefully As Begin Once Did?

Unfortunately, no one seems to have responded to Biden's lecture:
Speaking before 5,000 delegates to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the U.S. Vice President said, "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution and - you are not going to like my saying this, but - [it must] not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts, and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement.”
At least no one at AIPAC seems to have been taken aback.

On the other hand, Arutz Sheva took note of what Biden said--and the fact that the media did not report Biden's words correctly, and suggests the reason why, a reason that no one--especially the media--seems ready to address:
Some news outlets did not even report the above remarks, emphasizing only Biden’s expressed support for Israel. “With all the change you will hear about,” Biden stated, “there is one enduring, essential principle that will not change, and that is our commitment to the peace and security of the state of Israel. That is not negotiable... That is something to be reinforced and made clear.”

Biden contradicted this promise, however, by saying that the United States is “committed to achieving… a two-state solution, with a secure Jewish State of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a viable and independent Palestinian state.”
Arutz Sheva goes a step further, quoting from a speech that Netanyahu gave 7 years ago--a speech that hopefully he still remembers:
On the day that we sign an agreement for a [Palestinian] state with limited authorities, what will happen if the Palestinians do what the Germans did after World War I, when they nullified the demilitarized zone? The world did nothing then, and the world will do nothing now as well. Even now, the Palestinians are removing all the restrictions to which they agreed in Oslo – smuggling in arms, polluting the water sources, building an army, making military deals with Iran… But when we try to take action against this, the world opposes us, not them...
One other voice of protest came from MK "Ketzaleh" Katz:
“With all due respect to the Vice President of the United States,” said Katz, “he should be a bit more careful when giving instructions of this nature to the duly-elected Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Whoever heard of such a thing, that a leader of the world’s leading democracy gives orders to the leader of another democracy, the only one in the Middle East, to go against his own stated policies and platform on which he was democratically elected by the populace just weeks ago.

“In addition,” Ketzaleh continued, “it is truly shocking that though he made these remarks in front of thousands of Jews at the AIPAC convention, not one of them thought to get up and protest. He even received some applause! Have we no pride? And neither have any government ministers protested, even though there are so many of them, including many who truly love the Land of Israel. How can such words by the Vice President go unprotested?”
Have recent events so tamed AIPAC?

Michael Fenenbock (The 18) writes:
Remember when I wrote this?
What about AIPAC? They have problems. AIPAC has suffered severe damage recently. Not the least of which is a near miss accusation of stealing government secrets… and sustained attacks on AIPAC as “too influential” have taken a toll. I have to think in the sure to come debate about how to impose a two state solution on Israel AIPAC will be very cautious.
Well, read this…
Lawyers credit Obama team for dismissing AIPAC case
And this…
AIPAC delegates to lobby for two-state solution
What are the odds that the Obama administration’s dismissal of the AIPAC spy case and AIPAC’s new-found support for 2-state are connected? If you guessed 100%, you are correct.
Maybe Fenenbock is right.

Of course, Biden was a bit smoother in front of AIPAC than when he made demands of Menachem Begin regarding Israeli settlements and threatened cut-offs in aid. John Podhoretz writes:
A friend in Washington e-mails a quote about a confrontation between then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Joseph Biden, that would have occurred in the summer of 1982. The quote comes from a piece by Moshe Zak, one-time editor of the Hebrew paper Ma’ariv, that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on March 13, 1992 (sorry, no link):
In a conversation with Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, after a sharp
confrontation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the subject
of the settlements, Begin defined himself as “a proud Jew who does not
tremble with fear” when speaking with foreign statesmen.

During that committee hearing, at the height of the Lebanon War, Sen.
John Biden (Delaware) had attacked Israeli settlements in Judea and
Samaria and threatened that if Israel did not immediately cease this
activity, the US would have to cut economic aid to Israel.

When the senator raised his voice and banged twice on the table with
his fist, Begin commented to him: “This desk is designed for writing,
not for fists. Don’t threaten us with slashing aid. Do you think
that because the US lends us money it is entitled to impose on us what
we must do? We are grateful for the assistance we have received, but
we are not to be threatened. I am a proud Jew. Three thousand years
of culture are behind me, and you will not frighten me with threats.
Take note: we do not want a single soldier of yours to die for us.”

After the meeting, Sen. Moynihan approached Begin and praised him for
his cutting reply. To which Begin answered with thanks, defining his
stand against threats. [emphasis added]
Netanyahu has a tough act to follow.

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