Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sam Solomon's speech in London, Ontario on June 2, 2010

Sam Solomon's speech in London, Ontario on June 2, 2010 from josephinejosephine on Vimeo.

Here's the audio of Sam Solomon's powerful presentation.

Listen here or on Vimeo.

Update: Welcome, Blazing Cat Fur readers!

You've read the prepared speech. Now read what Bibi actually said at the Walk With Israel

This is my transcript of the speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Walk With Israel on May 30, 2010. You will note that it differs from the text of his prepared speech which has been published elsewhere. These are his actual words, transcribed from my digital recording.

The man is brilliant and gracious and, yes, handsome to boot. What's not to love?

Please note: I've emailed a friend who was there about the (Hebrew?) word I don't know. I'll correct it when s/he responds.

Update: Vardit suggests that it might have been seichel, which is Yiddish for "smarts". And thanks to the commenter who wrote, "That word may be 'seichel' which would mean something like 'brains.'"

Update #2: My Hebrew-speaking friend writes: "I bet it was 'shlichut' - mission."

Update #3: Another commenter weighs in: "He definitely said 'seykhl' -- a Yiddish word meaning intellect or sense."

My transcript of Bibi's speech:
"Thank you very much. Shalom, Toronto.

"It's wonderful to be with all of you. I want to thank Gerry Schwartz for those kind words and thank the Honourable Peter Kent and the senators and members of parliament who are here, the deputy minister. I met the Premier of Ontario in Israel a few days ago. He promised me a warm welcome here and I see that he's lived up to it. All the members of the provincial legislation, the municipal leaders, our own Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein is here with my delegation.

"I'm told it’s been 32 years since an Israeli Prime Minister came to Toronto. That was Menachem Begin. Seventeen years ago, another Israeli prime minister came to Ottawa; that was Yitzhak Rabin. So I am delighted to follow in their footsteps. I'm in Toronto today and I'll be in Ottawa later today and I'm delighted to be here in Canada with all of you.

"To the thousands of people inside and outside this arena, I want to say thank you. Thank you for what is surely one of the warmest receptions any Prime Minister of Israel has ever received. Now, I mean that literally: this is a warm day. And yesterday was a warm day, too. And for some strange reason the security detail enabled my wife and me to walk out and stroll in the streets of Toronto. It's a beautiful city. It was a beautiful day; beautiful people. We met some of you, we met others and you know, the sun was shining in the sky and the sun was shining in your eyes, in your hearts. There is a friendship, an openness, a warmth, that I seldom see and I want to say that we treasure it, we welcome it.

"So it's wonderful to be in Canada. And our ties, the ties between Canada and Israel, have never been stronger. This comes from the people and it also comes from the government. In our two democracies, the governments reflect what the people feel, what they value, what they cherish. So I want to thank, and use this opportunity to especially thank, Prime Minister Harper. Prime Minister Harper has been an unwavering friend of Israel. He has been a great champion of Israel’s right to defend itself and he stands against all the efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. We deeply appreciate his support.

"I also want to thank the Canada-Israel Committee: a devoted group of people, Jews and non-Jews alike, who work tirelessly to strengthen the relations between Canada and Israel. Thank you all.

"I want to thank the Toronto Jewish community and the Toronto Jewish federation. This community has a well-deserved reputation for its passionate commitment to Israel.

"Year after year, you march for Israel. Year after year, you march for the truth. Because one of the battles that we face is the battle for truth. Repealing slanders and lies that are directed against us. And year after year, you do that. And by doing that, you show us that we are not alone.

"And though you are thousands of miles away, we know that you stand by our side. Now, some Canadians do even more than that. A few years ago – a few days ago, actually – I went up to our Northern Command to watch a military exercise. And I met a young man: he literally popped out of the ground in a military exercise. His uniform was dusty, his face was covered with camouflage paint, and I said, 'Soldier, what's your name?' and he said, with a marked foreign accent, he said, 'My name is Jonathan Fader.' I said, 'Where are you from, Jonathan?' He said, 'Canada.' I said, 'Really? Uh, where in Canada?' He said, 'Vancouver.' I said, 'How long has it been since you've seen your family?' He said, 'A year and a half.' And I said, 'Jonathan, you're one lucky soldier, because I'd like to take you on our plane so you have a chance to see your family.'

"Well, Jonathan is with us today. He came to Israel – stand up Jonathan, stand up so they see you. Jonathan came to Israel on a Birthright program. He eventually made Aliyah as part of Nefesh B’Nefesh. I want to thank you for defending the one and only Jewish state. Thank you, Jonathan.

"My friends, I came here with one simple message: March with pride. March with clarity. Because you cannot be prouder and clearer about what you're marching against and what you're marching for.

"You march against those who hate freedom and celebrate death. And you march for those who cherish freedom and celebrate life.

"You march against those who oppose peace; who cannot even say the words, 'We'll recognize the Jewish state.' And you march for the Jewish people of Israel who have yearned for peace, prayed for peace, sacrificed for peace from Day One, and we want peace today.

"You march against terrorists who target civilians and you march for an army that targets terrorists.

"You march against tyrannies that repress women, gays, minorities; who murder their own people. We saw that picture of that young girl lying in the sidewalk, choking on her own blood. You march against those tyrannies. And you march for Israel, whose Supreme Court, like Canada’s, is led by a woman; which is the only true democracy, Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East: open, pluralistic, liberal. You march against tyranny and you march for democracy.

"You march, my friends, for the values and ideals that Canadians and Israelis hold dear. And yet these values are under attack and the bearer of those values, Israel, is under attack. Israel faces great challenges faced by no other nation.

"First and foremost is the challenge of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We have to ensure that this regime, which is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, a regime that shamelessly denies the Holocaust, a regime that talks about wiping Israel off the face of the earth, we must ensure that such a regime does not acquire the weapons of mass death.

"Second, we must ensure that we achieve a peace that is anchored in security. My friends, the only peace that will endure is a peace that we can defend. A peace that we cannot defend will not endure but a peace that we can defend is the one that holds promise for our peoples.

"We must not repeat the mistakes of the past. When Israel left Lebanon, Iran moved in. When Israel left Gaza, Iran moved in again. We cannot afford to have that mistake repeated with the same consequences a third time. We cannot afford a third Iranian presence on the hills overlooking Tel Aviv. And what that means is that we must ensure that any future Palestinian state is effectively demilitarized. Effectively demilitarized doesn't just mean a paper agreement. We've had a lot of agreements, a lot of guarantees from the international community. We had one in Lebanon: it didn't work. We had one in Gaza: didn't work. Here we must have effective arrangements on the ground, that Israel and Israel alone can vouch for their security and for our security. This is a fundamental principle of peace.

"The people of Israel are prepared to make compromises for peace but they are not, and I'm not, prepared to make any compromises on our security.

"And just as we are asked to recognize a nation state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. The Palestinians will have to recognize the Jewish state.

"And the great challenge that faces all of us, in every part of the world, is to repel the escalating attacks on our legitimacy.

"These attacks take place in the United Nations, they take place on a college campus, they take place in the media and it's important that we fight back against these lies and distortions. What we have to do is merely use the facts: learn the facts, put forward the facts. That is, we must defend the truth in each and every forum.

"And this isn't easy. None of this is easy. I know the challenges we face may seem daunting.

"But if anyone here has any doubt about our ability to meet these challenges, think about what Israel has already achieved. When the state was established, only five percent of our population lived in Israel: only five percent of the Jewish population in the world lived in Israel. Today, nearly half of the world’s population live in the Jewish state.

"Israel began as a poor country. We had nothing. We had sand, swamp, sun; a lot of sun. But we had nothing; practically no natural resources. Today we're a high-tech power. I came here from Paris where Israel was accepted to the club of developed countries, developed economies, the OECD.

"Israel's technology and scientific prowess, the scientific name for that is [sehucht?], Israel's [sehucht?] is powering the world's computers, our scientists are winning Nobel Prizes, our doctors are curing rare diseases, our agricultural knowledge is irrigating lands in five continents. And we are helping avert disaster victims, trying to give them aid in many parts of the world, most recently in Haiti, in that extraordinary expedition of the Israel Defense [inaudible].

"We can seize the future because we have the hearts and minds to do so. Yet we also know that we face challenges that are unique. Alone among the nations, Israel is openly threatened by annihilation. Alone among the nations, Israel must constantly defend its very right to exist. But we are a people who alone have defied the iron laws of history. We've defeated enemies many times our size; enemies that were bent on our destruction. We've overcome terrorists that obey no moral code. We have that capacity in us. And after thousands of years, we restored our sovereignty in our ancient homeland, we revived an ancient language – Hebrew – and we've ingathered exiles from across the world.

"We realized our ancient dream to rebuild our ancient capital, Jerusalem. You know why? I try to explain to foreign visitors who come to my office: dignitaries, ministers, prime ministers, presidents. They come to my office and I want to give them an understanding of the depth of our connection to this land and to this city. And I show them the signet ring that was used by a Jewish official 2,700 years ago. It's on loan to me from the Department of Antiquities. And this ring, it's a seal that was found right next to the Western Wall – it actually predates the Western Wall – in that vicinity, during the time of the Jewish kings. And there's a name inscribed on it in Hebrew and I can read it: it says, 'Netanyahu; Netanyahu Ben-Yoash.' And that's my last name. My first name, Benjamin, goes back a thousand years earlier, when Jacob and his sons, including Joseph and Benjamin and the other forebears of the Tribes of Israel, walked on those very hills, next to that very city.

"No people has a connection to its capital city the way that Israel, that the Jewish people have to Jerusalem. It's a unique connection that cannot be denied. And you can read about it. There is a good book that describes it: it's called the Bible. I read it every Shabbat. I used to read it with my younger boy and I'd explain things to him but, over the last couple of years, he's been explaining it to me. It's our roots, it's our history, it's our identity, it's the core, the foundation of our being and we've never forgotten where we came from. We've never forgotten the ideals and the vision that were put forth in the Bible by the prophets, by our ancestors, who said, 'You shall come back to this land and rebuild your national life and give a shining example to all the nations.' And we have done exactly that.

"But perhaps the most important thing is that we regained the power of self-defense after being a powerless people subjected to every evil under the sun.

"Now, there are some who thought that the establishment of the state of Israel would stop the attacks on the Jewish people. I must tell you that the founding fathers of Zionism didn't have that misconception. They didn't say that the attacks against the Jews would stop once we established a Jewish state but they said that the Jewish state would have the ability to defend Jews against such attacks and that, too, has happened. The establishment of the state of Israel has given the Jewish people the power to repel the attacks on the Jewish people. There are those who want to strip Israel of that power. I promise you: that will never happen. Israel will never, ever give up the power to defend itself.

"And part of that power to defend ourselves is the ability to speak up, and to hear our friends around the world speak up, and defend our rights, to defend truth, to defend Israel.

"So I want to thank you, my friends, I want to thank you for being here today. I want to thank you for standing up for the truth. I want to thank you for standing up for democracy. I want to thank you for standing up for Israel and the Jewish people. Thank you very much, Ontario."
I'm glad Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to see and hear our outpouring of love for himself, his beautiful wife and his country.

Israel: you have friends who know the truth and stand up for you.

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your strong and gracious words.

Update: Welcome, Blazing Cat Fur readers!

Bat Ye'or's speech in London, Ontario on June 2, 2010

Bat Ye'or in London, Ontario, Canada, on June 2, 2010 from josephinejosephine on Vimeo.

Here is the speech Bat Ye'or gave in London, Ontario on June 2nd.

More to follow as soon as I can get it broken into sections and uploaded. Since the sections are long, the processing and uploading take hours and I can't use my computer for other work while it's chugging away.

Update: Welcome, Scaramouche readers!