Rubio’s Proud Restating of the Obvious
On Thursday, two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s landslide re-election, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) delivered a 15-minute tribute to the Jewish state and a simultaneous tirade against President Barack Obama’s treatment of it.
Though Rubio has yet to announce whether he will be running for president in 2016 (another Republican of Latino origin, Ted Cruz, on Monday became the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring), Rubio deserves a standing ovation at this moment for jumping in to defend Netanyahu’s assertion that a “two-state solution” is not possible anytime soon.
The Left in Israel and liberal American Jews continue to blame Netanyahu for two main things: the absence of peace with the Palestinian Authority and the ever-souring relations with the White House. The results of last week’s Knesset elections indicate that most Israelis consider both views to be utterly false.
Sitting in Washington, Rubio knows with certainty that the second view is a lie. Where the former is concerned, he did his homework and discovered that the PA is no different from the rest of the radical Arab-Muslim world in its primal hatred of Jews and the West. Netanyahu’s attempts, like those of his predecessors, at reaching an agreement with the Palestinian entity — which now includes Hamas as a full partner — have been as fruitless as his repeated acquiescence to Obama’s pressure. Neither has achieved its goal. On the contrary, the more he has tried to appease the presidents of the PA and the US, the more they and other enemies have been emboldened in their rejectionism and aggression.
It is this that Rubio stood up on the floor of the Senate to outline.
The first thing he pointed out was the conspicuous delay in Obama’s congratulating Netanyahu on his electoral victory (nearly three full days until Obama made the phone call, which coincided with an interview he gave to the Huffington Post, and even then he used Netanyahu’s statement about the current lack of viability of a deal with the Palestinians to threaten that the US would “evaluate other options,” which include backing a UN Security Council resolution supporting a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood).
Rubio compared Obama’s behavior toward Netanyahu with that of other leaders following elections, even phony ones, in the world, citing Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi, China’s Xi Jinping, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He also brought up the fact that the first call Obama made after taking office himself in 2009 was to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
He then provided a long list of public assaults against Israel by the American administration, as though Israel were worse than an enemy, not a trusted ally. In fact, he said, Obama would never behave that way to the leaders of Iran.
Regarding Netanyahu’s admission that there can be no “two-state solution” on his watch, Rubio said: “He’s right. The conditions don’t exist … but first, let’s go through the history.
“In 2000 at Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinian Authority nearly all of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza. And the Palestinians said no.
“In 2000, Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon. You know what that is today? A place [from] where they launch rockets against Israel.
“In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. You know what that is today? A place that they launch rockets against Israel from.
“In 2008, Israel offered the PA, again, nearly all of the West Bank — Judea and Samaria — and all of eastern Jerusalem. The PA said no.
“What about the Palestinian record? … About 6 percent of the Palestinian budget is diverted to pay the salaries of … terrorists, of people who have blown up centers and killed civilians, including Americans. And they are being paid salaries and benefits, including with money from donors, such as the US, Great Britain, Norway and Denmark.”
He then listed ways in which the PA envisions and educates its people to hope for a world without Israel, quoting blatant antisemitic and pro-terrorist passages from a Palestinian school book and the PA-run press.
“And these are the people that we’re pressuring [Israel] to cut a peace deal with,” he said, reiterating, “Netanyahu is right. The conditions do not exist for a peace deal with … a government that teaches that killing Jews is a glorious thing; that there’s no such thing as the Jewish people; that any method of destroying them is valid; that pay them salaries and benefits.”
Rubio concluded: “No people on earth want peace more than Israel. No people have suffered more at the hands of terrorism than the people of Israel. … If America doesn’t stand with Israel, who would we stand with?”
It is a sorry state of affairs that such an obvious truth needs restating, especially today, when the world is in the midst of a war between the forces of good and evil. But thank God for the likes of Rubio, both for understanding why it is necessary and for using his platform to do it so proudly.
Ruthie Blum is the editor of Voice of Israel radio. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.