Benjamin Netanyahu’s epic speech before Congress

Wow. This speech had more truth in it than Congress has heard in years. Netanyahu stood up, just as he promised, and told the unvarnished truth about what it will take to make peace with the Palestinians.

Early in the speech he established that Israel is not only a true democracy, but that all of the Arabs that live in Israel enjoy real democratic rights which is unparalleled in the Middle East. He went on to say with vigor:

Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East, Israel is what is right about the Middle East!

He also established in front of the world that the West Bank is indeed part of Israel:

In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers!

He hit very hard on the idea that the impediment to peace isn’t the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather the acceptance of the Jewish state. He even went further and challenged President Abbas to proclaim his acceptance of a Jewish state to his people:

I’ve told my people I’ll accept Palestinian state – now time for Abbas to tell his people he’ll accept Jewish/Israeli state.

He also stood his ground again on the so called ‘right of return’ issue:

The Palestinian refugee problem will be solved outside of the borders of Israel. Everybody knows it – its time to say it!

And the last quote I’ll give you is probably the one that will infuriate his enemies the most:

Jerusalem must never again be divided. It must remain the united capitol of Israel

This is a must watch speech.


Here is the full text of the speech, just released by Netanyahu:

I am deeply honored by your warm welcome. And I am deeply honored that you have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time. Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town? And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here. Democrats and Republicans alike.

Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance.

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.

These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then. The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.

So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty. No one knows what this path consists of better than you. This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will “shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East”. Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates.You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We’re proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel.

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East. Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it’s begun to take root. This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future.They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace. Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.

Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage. In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence. It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.

But not you. Not America. You have acted differently. You’ve condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran. History will salute you, America.

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He successfully led the Security Council to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words and deeds are vitally important.

Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.

My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace. Israel needs peace. We’ve achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.

I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother.

So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East.

This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.

The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.

I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace. This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.

This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.

We’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation. We’ve helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year.

Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said – “I will accept a Palestinian state”. It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say – “I will accept a Jewish state”.

Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.

These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.

This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.

So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. But we didn’t get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world. Mr. Vice President, I’ll grant you this. It’s bigger than Delaware. It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now here’s a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.

So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.

And when I say tomorrow, I don’t mean some distant time in the future. I mean tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end. I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas, Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.

My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this century, attest to the decisive role of the United States in advancing peace and defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation. Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and modern times alike.

I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America, Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world. May God bless all of you. And may God forever bless the United States of America.

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61 thoughts on “Benjamin Netanyahu’s epic speech before Congress

  1. Bibi, what a great actor. i’m sure he took an acting class, he should be in Hollywood.
    I guess anyone can take over a land, claim it’s it in their holly book, and kick the native population out. i guess i’m gonna give it a shot.i just need to find a very good spot. Israel got away with it, why not me…

  2. I saw on an ABC News article linked at AoSHQ that Netanyahu got more standing O’s than Obama’s SOTU speech.


  3. Thank you for posting this!  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  For those of you who comment so kindly about Israel, thank you. bless you.

  4. Plain spoken eloquence. No one misunderstands what he says.
    Contrast with Obama. Nuanced double speak that can’t be pinned down
    to any discernible position.  He speaks like he voted: “present”.
    He leads from behind: “All right , men follow me. I’m right behind you!”

  5. Two things Netanyahu got wrong in his speech: 1.) The Arab spring does not automatically mean the ushering in of democracy in the middle east ( all the evidence points to more sharia states being formed in the middle east)nor is democracy necessarily a good system. ie. mob rule via majority. 2.) Militant Islam does not threaten islam, militant islam is apart of Islam. A is A and Islam is Islam.

      1. Well… They are free, and a great deal of them are peaceful but, well… I wouldn’t say it’s a happily ever after situation over here.

  6. Who is the Weekend at Bernie’s dude?

    Aside from it being an outstanding speech, it just felt so nice to not have obama in that room.  Kinda funny Bibi ran him out of town, out of his own house.  I love it. 
    It was also nice not having to put up w/bobbing Nancy.  Never ceases to amaze me how ancient some of our politicians are, really need to clean house and get rid of that old boy network.  Definitely a nice way to end a long day, way to go Bibi.  Cheers!

  7. i have to say: i hate netanyahu, hate factionalist bashing of obama and i think that congress should show more support for our president- even if they disagree with him- than any foreign nation’s leader.

    even i think he gave a great speech.

  8. Great Speech,  but too heavy on the “democracy” stuff.  It is a common meme in todays politics, but democracy is VERY VERY bad….  “America” property known as the Untied States of America is a Representative Constitutional Republic.  VERY VERY VERY VERY different from a democracy. 

    Although with each passing year we lose pieces of the republic to the onslaught of the desire to turn this great nation to a democracy with the end goal of a socialist utopia that will never come to be,  for long before that would occur “America” will be lost to the pages of history.

    1. Great job! We don’t want a democracy, so to speak, in the USA. Basically, idiots outnumber rational and independent citizens, and the idiots get to dictate to everyone. Our Constitution states that each person has certain rights; this is all I want, not mob rule, which democracy gives you.

      1. i agree that people are stupid, but your apparent desire to abdicate your freedom terrifies me.  i prefer to make my own decisions and accept the consequences that follow. 

        1. Reminding each other America is a constitutional republic is not “abdicating” our freedom – it is reinforcing it. The founders knew that ‘pure democracies’ (like after french revolution) are “violent in their death.” Once a group realizes it can “out vote” another one, all sorts of terrible things happen. The focus in the republic is individual rights – regardless of what dumb thing the majority wants to do.

          David, your second sentence is right in line with living in a republic – plus it also highlights personal responsibility – we each are responsible – Uncle Sam is not supposed to ‘solve our problems’ or tell us how to live, believe, or anything. We are dumbing down and becoming less free, more controlled with time. Plus, the fed reserve sells us debt so it keeps growing… (another big topic).

          I have been to Israel a couple years ago, we talked to a number of people, and even you see Arabs living alongside Jews, and Arab stores and vendors there. It is great for Netanyahu to bring the truth to light and remind us of the dangers there. Hamas likes to fire rockets from residential areas to prevent return fire. Plus they kill their own people at will.

          Imagine Canada telling us we have to split Washington DC down the middle – is that going to fly? (comparing splitting of Jerusalem) Israel has been promised that land for thousands of years, and their race was nearly destroyed, so they have to be wary. Plus Ahmadinejad (sp?) says he wants to wipe Israel off the map. They have to be vigilant if they are to survive.

      2. Actually, the Constitution grants those rights to “all” people, a Democracy grants them to the majority. That is why democracy’s eventually fail. Greed, power hunger, etc. + money=failed Democracy

    2. You are correct in what you say. I often wonder why noone else says it. However, in all fairness, they may have been taught that in school as I was. I graduated from H.S. in 1967. GO figure!

  9. RS, Thanks for posting this speech. We watched the whole thing. Simply stated, it was very good.

  10. They need to disband the UN. If there is any peace to be given – they are are instrument in the destruction of the State of Israel. 

    Every once in a while, American’s need to be given a lesson in history – at the very least, remember the past inequities against a race.One must ask:Who in their right mind would support a terrorist group whose only lot in life is to  annihilate a group of people?

    Who in their right mind can’t see the evil doers only reason and goal is to destroy a race?

     Who in their right mind would even suggest that the State of Israel should even   consider going back prior to the 1967 border. 


    Excellent speech by a leader who knows the fundamental problems in the middle east. 

    I’d say Prime Minister Netanyahu’s has left an impression on the American people what true leadership should be. 

  11. Rush Limbaugh on his show this afternoon claimed that what Bibi’s speech should tell the GOP is how to run a campaign against Obama; something to the effect of  Be confident in yourselves, be passionate about what you believe and state the truth.

  12. A great speech from a great speaker.

    What is Joe B. writing down around 30:10?  He seemed to take note of the fact that many Arab leaders were “unwilling to end the conflict”.

    1. “What is Joe B. writing down around 30:10?” More than likely much of nothing for such an empty headed person who has absolutely no clue. 

    2. It was a humorous depiction of himself riding a camel. You can hardly catch it in the video. 😛

    1. Speaking of the President, he signed the guest book at Westminster Abbey today… and dated it 2008. Duh’ uoooh. 

  13. What a speaker, fully explaining what our press won’t – Israel’s muslims are free. Anywhere else, muslims are one with god, state and the collective society. Individual rights don’t exist. If they do, the muslims that speak out are met with bullets. 

  14. What an amazing speech!  Bibi probably got more standing O’s from that podium than Obama ever has.

    9/11 was very good for Israel
    Binyamin Netanyahu
    Théâtre de l’Absurde
    Binyamin Netanyahu
    9/11 was very good for Israel

      1. traditionally many Jewish people and those who follow the Hebraic movement in Christianity leave the vowel out to honor the holiness or setting apart of the name or in Hebrew Hashim, which directly translated means ‘the name’ it is a sign of respect and in no way reflects fear of anything but G-d

      2. lol, dude, he’s probably a devout jew.  that’s how they do it.  they take “do not take my name in vain” very seriously.

      3. It’s not fear, it’s a Jewish tradition expressing utmost respect.  You can read about it here:

        1. Also, it’s bad form to critisize someone for their usage of the hyphen.  As the above article states:  

          “Note that if you disagree with another poster’s decision to omit or include the hyphen, you should not publicly criticize or ridicule said poster.”

      4. Leaving out the o in God isn’t a fear thing. It is a reverance thing, but I do not know the Jewish tradition about it that some practice. In that light, I think it’s rather a nice thing. I’m not Jewish. I noticed in reading articles and blogs written by Rabbis that it is something they do as well.

  16. I would so love for this man to be our president.  He is a true leader.  The contrast b/w him and the fraud we have is unbelieveable really. 

      1. …. and in clear contrast to the Pelosi-Reid Congress’ standing ovation of Felipe Cauldron’s arrogant denigration of America and our right to protect our sovereign borders.

        We can thank Barack Hussein Obama for this moral clarity. He and the other Marxist vermin have crawled out of their cesspools into the light of day. They stand in the shadows of leaders like Netanyahu.

        The time to choose is upon us and it is not between donkeys and elephants. It is liberty or tyranny.

    1. Well considering that the Left, Right, Progressives and even the Constitutionalists have willfully flushed Article 2, Section 1 down the toilet, let’s draft Bibi.

      Better a Zionist who loves America than an Islamist who loathes her.

  17. Netanyahu got me a little teary-eyed here today with accompanying throat lumpage. Great speech. Heart-warming response from the joint session of congress. I loved it…each and every word. Long live Israel.

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