I want to add an ironic point to the coverage (here, here, here and here) of Benjamin Netanyahu’s eloquent speech this week before more than 3,000 people at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Los Angeles.
There is a video of Netanyahu’s speech at Jerusalem Online (hat tip: Atlas) that is essential viewing. It is a powerful speech, with its repeated refrain that “it is 1938,
The irony is that the most haunting part of the speech came from someone else’s words. Here is a critical part of Netanyahu’s speech:
There is time to act in a variety of ways, and all ways must be considered, and all ways that work must be employed, because we cannot let this thing happen again.
Now to do this requires something that is particularly difficult. It requires what I call pre-emptive leadership. And of all the activities required in the political, economic and military fields, pre-emption is the most difficult. You can never prove to people what the situation would be if you do not move. . . .
All leadership exacts a cost -- because otherwise you don’t need leaders. You just need managers . . . you just run to the head of the herd. As it charges in one direction, you just charge along with it.
Today what is required is leadership, leadership to change this tide of history, leadership to confront this danger -- leadership to act. . . .
For us the Jewish people, too many times in our history we didn’t see danger in time, and when we did, it was too late. Well, we see it now. . . . But can the world wake up? Can we wake up the world? Can we get the
United Statesto act on its commitment -- a commitment made by President Bush -- he said we will not let arm itself with nuclear weapons? Everybody in his right mind should support that position. It should be carried out. Can we get the world to do that? Iran
A man I very much admire -- he said “no.” This is what Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons in 1935, about this tendency of democracies to sleep, while dangers lurk and gather up:
“There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as
. It falls into that long, dismal category of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong, these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.” Rome
So where are we in this? Do we get it? Does the world get it? Do they think it will pass? We’re overstating it? We’re not. It’s 1938,
Iranis , and it is racing to acquire nuclear weapons. Germany