Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Netanyahu's Historic Speech

(merecomments).I have sometimes wondered what it would be like to have lived through the era of Churchill and Roosevelt, or Lincoln, to have heard great speeches made in the midst of trying times. I think Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the United Nations yesterday is perhaps the closest I've heard to what I imagine those great speeches were like. I commend the speech to you.

He does not dabble in diplomatic niceties but calls on the members of the United Nations to live up to their original mandate. He passionately defends his people and his country while continuing to offer hope for a peaceful future. He condemns the political thugs in charge of Hamas and Iran while distinguishing them from the Iranian and Palestinian people. It was impressively articulate, though "articulate" speeches are now more common than they once were. What more impressed me was the principles that were articulated.

The underlying logic of much of UN-type thinking promotes a moral equivalence between member states, as if a conflict between any two nation-states is like two teams engaged in a deadly sporting event. If only we can get the two teams to talk to each other and obey the rules, things will work out. Not so, and Netanyahu forcefully points out that this is not one civilization vs. another. The conflict between Ahmadinejad-Hamas-Al-Qaeda and the West is barbarism vs. civilization.

I think even Netanyahu must realize that the old Enlightenment dream of upward progress won't do it, as he knows full well that the very same technological advances, in the hands of the fanatics, threaten a second Holocaust. It will not be technological progress alone that will prevail in this drawn-out conflict, nor will Western "values" win the day. For all of his trenchant insight, it is a telling sign that our modern "solution" to religious conflict has so impoverished our discourse that we are called to put our faith in scientific advancement. Fortunately, there are good people considering the future of our modern "solution" itself.