Comparing Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the UN today with Nikita Khrushchev’s boorish conduct in 1960, The Guardian‘s Julian Borger tweeted: “He didn’t take his shoe off and thump the lectern but Bibi just delivered one of the more combative speeches in UN history.”
Netanyahu proceeded to insult the UN which he called “the theater of the absurd”, while he compared the Palestinians to the Nazis.
Here in the UN automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the West — or rises in the West. I think the first has already been preordained. They can also decide — they have decided — that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.
And yet, even here, in the General Assembly, the truth can sometimes break through.
In 1984, when I was appointed as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavitch. He said to me — and ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you to be offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, capable and decent people serving their nations here — but here’s what the rabbi said to me. He said to me: “You’ll be serving in a house of many lies.” And then he said: “Remember, that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.”
Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth.
Maybe Netanyahu’s truth-telling will have helped tip some undecided votes in the Security Council in Palestine’s favor but the odds don’t look good.
The Guardian reports:
[Palestinian president Abbas] privately retreated from his pledge to seek an immediate security council vote in part because he is no longer sure of winning the necessary majority, which would have given the Palestinians a moral victory even if the US used its veto. Palestinian sources say they believe Washington has bullied several security council members into withdrawing their support for the Palestinian move, including Portugal, by threatening to withhold support for its stricken economy, and Bosnia, over its opposition to Kosovo being admitted to the UN. Palestinian officials also believe Nigeria is no longer certain to vote in their favour. There are also questions about the position of Gabon and Colombia.
One senior Palestinian official described the Americans as “playing a really nasty game”.