Below is a video of a 28 year-old MIT graduate student, Benjamin Nitay, today known as Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the Jewish state of Israel, appearing on a current events type news talk show in the year 1978.
It is amazing to see how Netanyahu viewed the world before getting bullied into submission by foreign powers.
2011: Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared before the President of the United States and both houses of Congress and proudly declared his willingness to cede parts of the Jewish people’s historic homeland in order to create a foreign state within the borders of the Land of Israel.
1978: Benjamin Nitay declared his opposition to ceding parts of the Jewish homeland, and to the creation of a foreign state within the Land of Israel.
From a historical perspective, over the last 33 years, nothing has changed. If Netanyahu did not believe that the Palestinians had a right to a state in 1978, he likely does not believe that they have such a right today.
So, what has changed?
One of possibly two things (perhaps both):
- Netanyahu no longer believes in the justice of Zionism. (Not likely)
- Netanyahu no longer believes that he can assert the justice of Zionism – the legal, moral and historic rights of the Jewish people to a sovereign Jewish state throughout the Land of Israel – before the international community.
I believe that in Netanyahu’s case, the latter explanation is more plausible.
The tragedy is, Netanyahu already saw during his first term of Prime Minister of Israel that he was not able to stand up to the foreign powers who pressured him to cede parts of the Jewish homeland. Nobody forced him to become Prime Minister a second time when he already knew he wasn’t up for the task of asserting Jewish national rights.
It does not require any special ability to acquiesce to the demands of others who may be more powerful than you. Anyone can sit in the Prim Minister’s office and give in to such demands. It requires true leadership and strength to stand for what is true, right, just and good specifically when there is a price to pay for doing so.
Or, in the words attributed to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara:
“Better to die standing than to live on your knees.”
(Hat tip: Benny Katz)
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