Why Was This Man Standing At A Podium Before the US Congress?

by James M. Wall

This picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laying down the law to the US Congress is not just a portent of things to come. It is, in fact, a portrait of who really runs US foreign policy.

While many Americans were watching Oprah or worrying about steroids ruining baseball, Israel assumed control of our government. The picture (above) of Netanyahu lecturing Congress, was orchestrated by Republican House Speaker John Boehner with the help of all those other Zionist politicians we elected to office in campaigns financed by the Israel Lobby.

Two things stand out about the cheering Congressional mob that greeted the Prime Minister’s series of lies and distortions:

One, the American media accepted this insult to the current American president with barely a whimper of protest.  Their real leader had spoken and who are they to say otherwise.

Two, the Congress cheered statements about which they were either ignorant, or had been warned by leaders of both parties, not to disagree.

In case you were watching American Idol during the speech, you should know that this intruder to the podium of our Congress was actually cheered when he asserted that:

There is no occupation of Palestinian land because “in Judea and Samaria [better known except to biblical literalists, as the West Bank], Israelis are not foreign occupiers”. They are, Netanyahu obviously wants us to believe, the native inhabitants.

Would that explain Israel’s building of that Great Wall to separate Israel Proper from the land of Judea and Samaria? That wall looks biblical. Netanyahu cited Abraham in his speech to the Congress as a rationale for Israel’s claim to occupied land. Could that Wall come tumbling down with a few well placed toots on a horn?

Is Sarah Palin writing Netanyahu’s speeches? Talk about your distortion of history. Geeze. Has there ever been a surrender moment more filled with fantasy?

The sight of a right-wing Zionist leader standing at the podium normally reserved for American presidents, and harshly repudiating the current president, was sad in the extreme.

We could only hope that Barack Obama, this son of Kenya and Kansas, would respond to this insult to him and to his nation, with a repudiation of Bibi’s speech.

Alas, it was not to be.  Instead, we get this depressing report about a little-noticed new addition to the White House web site. The announcement came after the Prime Minister’s speech, not from the New York Times, but from Philip Weiss, co-founder of Mondoweiss. The White House site may be accessed here.

The Obama White House has unfurled a new web-page, it’s called “Advancing Israel’s Security and Supporting Peace.” It’s obviously geared toward appeasing the lobby.

There is one reference to the status quo being “unsustainable,” but all references to Palestinians are calls on them to advance peace and [halt] terrorism. Most of the site is about Israel’s security. Iran has a whole section. The word “settlements” is not mentioned. 1967 is mentioned.

Talk about “walking back” from the firm focus President Obama put on the 1967 borders in his recent speeches, consider how the White House’s “we love Israel” web page explains the border’s reference:

“[T]he parties themselves will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967 to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years…”

Translation: Not to worry, you holders of the big dollars we need for reelection. We love what you have done with the occupied property since you stole it 44 years ago.  We see no reason to make changes. Who’s your decorator?

It is not as though we did not know this total capitulation to Israel was coming. Many people knew and tried to warn us.

An important early warning signal is found in the work of Jewish historian Simha Flapan, who knew exactly what Israel had in mind. He gave the details in his remarkably prophetic 1987 book, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities.

Flapan died, in Tel Aviv, on April 13, 1987, just as his book was going to press. The book is now, unfortunately, out of print (Amazon offers a rare new paperback copy for $89.99, and a few used copies for much less). It remains one of the most significant documents to emerge from that small band of Jewish writers who labored in the 1970s and 80s to sound the alarm about Israel’s plans for the conquest of all of Palestine.

I own a treasured paperback copy of The Birth of Israel. Flapan is, for me, a mentor and a writer I often turn to when his prophecies become especially pertinent. Richard Falk wrote this on the book’s cover: “A work of extraordinary integrity and of great significance for all those who favor a humane peace in the Middle East.”

Early in his book, Flapan described the mindset of the Israeli people. Notice his reference to “atomic” capability.

Even though Israel has the most sophisticated army in the region and possesses an advanced atomic capability, it continues to regard itself in terms of the Holocaust, as the victim of an unconquerable, bloodthirsty enemy. Thus whatever Israelis do, whatever means we employ to guard our gains or to increase them, we justify as last-ditch self-defense. We can, therefore, do no wrong. The myths of Israel forged during the formation of the state have hardened into this impenetrable, and dangerous, ideological shield.

That shield, now firmly established in the US, has been so effective that when Netanyahu declared victory before the US Congress, the members stood and cheered. And the American media assumed, from behind their “ideological shield”, that the speech was nothing more than “business as usual”.

Of course, since Netanyahu is not a native-born American citizen, he cannot be elected president of the United States. (He graduated from a Pennsylvania high school, but that does not count.) There are, however, a few notable candidates from both American political parties ready to swear their dual allegiance to the US and Israel and run for the office of the Leader of the Free World.

There is Sarah Palin, who is easily manipulated by advisors. She loves Israel. And there is a more serious Democratic candidate, the newly-elected Mayor of Chicago, a fellow named Rahm Emanuel, whose parents are native-born Israelis. Emanuel, himself, has a American birth certificate, so he is good to go in 2016.

Matter of fact, Emanuel has issued his first major campaign speech for that campaign.  It was published in the Washington Post, which is working hard to replace the New York Times as the leading Zionist newspaper in the US.

Here is the start of Emanuel’s column, which praises both Obama and the native land of Emanuel’s parents, the country for which the new mayor served a brief stint as a volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces, at the time of the Iraq war.

Days into my tenure as mayor of Chicago, with my focus on keeping our city’s streets safe, our schools strong and our finances stabilized, I expected my attention to be in the Midwest, not in the Middle East. But as an American and the son of an Israeli immigrant, I have a deep, abiding commitment to the survival, security and success of the state of Israel.

I am among the many who know that the Israeli people yearn for peace. They have taken risks for peace in spite of dangers. They will again, when they have a viable partner in the process and a region that recognizes a Jewish state of Israel with secure and defensible borders.

Emanuel’s Post column was ostensibly a pean of praise for President Obama, the man whom the new Mayor served as Chief of Staff. As he wrote in the column, as a new mayor, his focus should now be on keeping the “city’s streets safe, our schools strong and our finances stabilized”.

Worthy goals, all, but then, notice that in his debut column he is writing not for his current hometown paper, but for the hometown paper of the White House.

The column will serve as a reminder to those generous donors who share his love for Israel. Those names are, no doubt, nestled safely in Emanuel’s Blackberry. It was in 1983 that I first saw an early version of those names. Rahm kept them in an ancient device we called the Rolodex.

At the time, I was Paul Simon’s campaign manager in his first US Senate primary race.  The 23-year-old Emanuel was our campaign’s resident AIPAC representative, paid, not by AIPAC (which, as a non-profit organization, does not make direct financial political contributions) nor by the Simon campaign, since I had refused to authorize payment, but by some of those generous donors whose names were in that Rolodex.

And now, just think, the journey that started in the Simon 1983-84 campaign office, could finally end with Rahm Emanuel standing where Benjamin Netanyahu stood during the 2011 surrender ceremonies.  Ain’t history grand?

The picture of  Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking to Congress is from Al Jazeera. The picture of Mayor Emanuel with President Obama is from the London Guardian, published during Emanuel’s days in the White House. 

Update note: At the suggestion of an alert reader, I have decided to stop referring to the Prime Minister of Israel by his nickname, “Bibi”. The reader pointed out that my use of the Prime Minister’s nickname implied that we were best buddies. We are not.

The changes are reflected in this update.  One caveat: In future headlines, I may be forced to utilize the shorter nickname for space purposes.  I thank the reader for calling this to my attention. 

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall writings.me, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to jameswall8@gmail.com Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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17 Responses to Why Was This Man Standing At A Podium Before the US Congress?

  1. Awad Paul Sifri says:

    Thank you, Jim, for an outstanding exposure of what US Knesset reaction to Netanyahu’s speech really means. Incidentally, I prefer to use his standard name, Benjamin Netanyahu, as opposed to an endearing nickname, “Bibi’, that typically Zionist propagandists use, in order to soften up his war-mongering character.

    It is astounding to me to what extent our journalists have been tamed, when it comes to covering Israeli occupation. Some of the words coming out of Netanyahu’s mouth sound almost identical to “security”, “geographic”, “historical”, “indefensible” justifications and rationales jargon, as those once uttered by the Nazi war criminals, as they sought justifications for invading Europe.
    The US not only outsources its foreign policy to Israel. The image is so blurred now that I can see the US as turning into a de-facto Zionist state. All the rationale and justification used to defend continued israeli occupation, including land “swaps” that contradict 1967 borders, make it more difficult to distinguish between the two “Zionist” regimes.
    When Britain and France colonized India, the Middle East/North Africa, for example, people knew they were being colonized and resisted in every way possible. in the case of the US, I fear that mainstream has no clue that a foreign power actually “colonizes” its foreign policy, and beyond.

  2. Awad Paul Sifri says:

    The following is an additional comment re-the points you raised in your article: If the US adheres to its professed position of the 1967 borders for israel-Palestine, it needs to demonstrate its credibility by taking the following steps:
    1- Demand that israel withdraw its forces from all – and I mean ALL – Israeli settlements. None of them whatsoever are legal.
    2- Discontinue any funding – direct, or indirect – for Israeli settlements, Apartheid Wall, and armed posts in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
    3- Make it illegal for American immigrants to Israel from becoming part of the settler communities, particularly in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights.
    4- Deny American settlers from holding dual US-Israeli citizenship.
    5- Advocate the creation of Palestinian refugees who are entitled to build settlements on the 535 villages, towns, and hamlets from which Palestinians were driven out in the 1947-48 war.
    6- Britain and the US had a direct hand in fully supporting actions, policies, deceptions, that were instrumental in disposession of 80% of the Palestinian people in 1948. It is their full responsibility to oversee the resolution of the conflict, with justice, fairness, and compensation. Their assistance is not considered “charity”. It is simply their legal, political, and moral obligation.

  3. Harris W. Fawell says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your feelings in regard to Natanyahu again being allowed to take the Congressinal podium normally reserved for American presidents. The fact that Natenyahu,s views got standig ovations from Congress that were clearly opposite to our President speaks volumes about the obseqiousness of both of our political parties.. Harris

  4. Rod Parrott says:

    Both this post and the previous one (“Congress Becomes a Mob….”) expose the duplicity of the US Congress. What a sham/e!

    I’m still upset that Netanyahu knocked at the door and Boehner let him in.

    I personally hope that P.A. President Abbas requests an opportunity to address a joint session of Congress, too. Sometime between now and the August recess (and September vote in the UN). What he needs is a major meeting of pro-Palestinian Americans also to speak to — a meeting packed with money and votes, I guess.

    Of course I’m not sure why he would want to speak to such a hostile audience as Congress, but I suppose he could offer to set the record straight, and could recite the sordid side of Israel’s history–a forensic/deliberative speech. Then Jon Stewart could help us laugh at the reception our inept and unthinking politicos –who are not used to such reasoned speeches–give him and we can all wait for the real reception in the UN.

  5. Bonnie Mairs says:

    Why don’t you send your columns – this one for sure plus others – to President Obama? It would be great if he read them but don’t hold your breath. Still, sending them might influence some of his staff which is also worthwhile.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Bill Gepford says:

    I have just read a take on the Zionist position on Palestine by Leonard Nimoy,famous for the StarTrek series. He is convinced that without a two-state solution the whole issue will blow up in our faces. The Zionist side has yet to say what two states for two nations actually means. This is the problem: no specificity on this issue. Netanyahu’s appearance to the Congress assumes that Obama will follow his plan, thus there will be no peace in the foreseeable future. There is still no leadership to see that this happens, unless the Unired Nations stands firm for a basic structual change that the Palestinians are seeking,

    Bill Gepford

  7. Fred says:

    Great piece Jim. Our congress, government officials and even the press are in the hands of people who don’t put our own nation’s interests first. This is indeed a low point for our Republic.

  8. Patricia Pynchon says:

    This is all terrifying. I had no idea that the whole congress was so thoroughly paid off, and basically traitors to their country.
    No one has a right to think that a book of ancient history , which claims primitive and supernatural beliefs is something that can be used to justify present actions We no longer accept the savage tribal killings described in the bible as civilized behavioir., We have to live in the present, and that means the Palestinians were violently pushed off their land, never compensated or given alternatives, which is a present day crime. Israelis are clearly perpetrators of a crime, and should not be applauded. I think Barack Obama is insecure, otherwise, why would he not have reprimanded Israeli land thefts and house demolitions, as well as Netanyu’s actions ?

    We need a leader with more courage and principle, who knows the difference between right and wrong. Obama is obviously afraid to take a strong moral stance.

  9. Jafar M. Ramini says:

    Amen, Mr. Wall. Until and unless the American nation wakes up to the facts as eloquently illustrated in your piece, America, the world and, in particular, we the Palestinians haven’t got a hope in hell. Please, American people, reclaim the Land of the Free and live up to your founding fathers’ dreams and ideals and adhere to the first line of your constitution, ‘A Government of The People, For the People, By the People.’

    I, as a Palestinian, have written extensively about the injustices meted out to my people and mused for decades about the subservient position of the US Government to the Israeli Government’s demands and to the seduction of the Zionist AIPAC. Please allow me to share with you a few tit-bits that I think are relevant and in harmony with this amazing and honest account of the status quo.

    On the 28th May I wrote: My friends and my family of man, the arrogance and intransigence of the racist criminal Netanyahu during his address to Congress was both numbing and embarrassing. Numbing because I couldn’t believe that anybody in the world could speak should speak such obvious lies and distortions and be treated like a God.

    Embarrassing to listen to and probably even worse for the American audience it was aimed at to see that their elected representatives bowed, scraped and prostrated themselves at the feet of the master. What a performance. Because that is what it was. A performance by a conjurer and they lapped it up.

    Before the speech I sent my latest thoughts on Obama and America and it was published, coincidentally, on the same day as the speech.

    For my article, In Answer To Obama’s Declation please see below:

  10. Bill Gepford says:

    Jafar, you are not the only one who has written about the injustices meted out to your people. I commend you. I have written on many occasions. I have come to this conclusion: There will never be peace with justice, freedom and democracy for your people or others in the region until Zionism (the religion) is totally separated from democracy, justice and freedom (the foundation stones necessary for human harmony). It is that simple. Apparently Obama, Gingrich, etc. are not willing to do this, because if they do they will not get elected to public office. AIPAC is very careful to keep these two cemented together and eternally. This is their rhetoric and must be faced and changed before there will peace in Israel.Palestine. Who will lead us??

  11. Interesting says:

    Presumably, Netanyahu was standing there because he was invited by the representatives of the American people, freely elected. Given the many polls which also show broad public friendship with Israel, this is unsurprising. Given that there are small hate groups/cults which live to demonise this small land, it would have taken a conspiracy on their part to have had him disinvited.

  12. Fred says:

    The only way to deal with this, I think, is to do what AIPAC does, and give money to polititions that support justice and equality for Palestinians. We have to fight fire with fire. We have to organize and become a single issue group. I see no other way of changing this horror.


  13. S says:

    I know this post will most likely be removed but I pray that it will last long enough for someone to see it and perhaps at least want to think about what is written here.

    I will defend the Israeli’s rights to a homeland that has been taken from them off and on for centuries. They were given that land by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That nation is the “Apple of God’s eye”. Those who go against the nation of Israel are in peril. Check your history, people. The U.S. leaders who supported Israel and stood for Israel have had less natural disasters than those who did not. You must be blind or deaf if you think that our leaders can spew their diatribe against Israel and not have to answer for by putting its people in jeopardy.

    If you’ve never read the Bible (which I’m SURE many of you never have) you would see how God protects His people and those who stand for Israel.

    I for one want to be on the side of God’s people and not on the side of the politicos who think they know better than God. God will NOT be mocked. They are treading on very think ice, my friends.

  14. Jafar M. Ramini says:

    If the subject we are debating wasn’t a very serious one and eventually, if not handled with care and logic will be devasting to all humanity, I would fall about laughing at this extraordinary diatribe. S? Why S? If you are so convinced that you are on the side of God and righteousness rejoice! Declare your name. But you know that you are not and you know that you are but a bi-product of the Zionist \ Christian propaganda factory that has no shame and knows no God but Mammon and power. And yes, God will disinherit you and will disown you on Judgement Day. And that day will come.

  15. Tom Blair says:

    Thank you for this. It makes me so angry that American politicians – Democrats and Republicans allow this. They are supposed to represent America.

  16. Jafar M. Ramini says:

    Tom my friend, I wish it were true that your politicians represent your country and your interest. The bare fact is they do not. May I,on a lighter note, remind you of the monkey and the organ grinder? AIPAC is the organ grinder . The monkeys in Congress have to dance to their tune. Be not only angry but challenging. Change must come from within or you finish paying the ultimate price, the erosion of your principles and the decline of your hard won freedom. A hefty price. Don’t you think?

  17. Dwain Epps says:

    Bravo, Jim. In Europe parliamentarians, journalists and the public at large simply shook their heads in wonder that such a thing could happen. President Obama’s election was welcomed here where people dared to hope he would steer the U.S.A. off its course of self-destruction. They hoped he would take the U.S. back to its traditional “conservative” values that it held dear when it gave leadership in the formation of the United Nations to promote the universal rule of law. Instead their worst fears are being realized. The U.S. continues to attempt to drag the world with it into ever new spirals of global military engagements around the globe and a never-ending global economic crisis. His shameful about-face now on the 1967 borders and the invitation to Netanyahu to address the Congress were widely viewed as a last straw, crushing any remaining hope that America might reverse the course it took with the election of Ronald Reagan with the help of Rahm Emanuel lookalikes and rejoin the civilized world.

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