“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” –John C. Maxwell
America was privileged to hear from a real leader yesterday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address the US Congress. In his nearly 45 minute long speech, the truth that this man is a leader in its finest form was clear.
He began by acknowledging how America and Americans, including our president, have been so helpful to Israel on many fronts and apologized for any problems that his visit may have caused. In his address, he related historical events in which Israel had been threatened and how they had been overcome.
Netanyahu unabashedly relayed the truth of the situation with Iran and the development of nuclear weapons. “Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.” Reminding us that, “when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy,” the prime minister did not mince words as he explained the importance of negotiating the best possible deal concerning nuclear proliferation.
Yet after this brilliant address, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was “saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.” Democrat Representative Luis Gutierrez from Illinois commented that Netanyahu was involved in only a “political stunt.” Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Mich) stated that his appearance was just a “political sideshow.” President Obama, who couldn’t make plans to attend, but was conveniently able to comment on the address only moments after it ended, opined that Netanyahu said “nothing new.”
Frankly, Pelosi, Gutierrez, Dingell, and Obama wouldn’t know real leadership if it jumped up and bit their noses.
The prime minister’s address, which I watched and read more than once, was not condescending. It is simply not condescending to offer thanks. It is not condescending to tell the truth. It is not condescending to share historically important information. And it is not condescending to offer carefully considered observations. According to the Google online dictionary, condescending means “having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority,” which sounds more like what Pelosi, Gutierrez, Dingell, and Obama did!
Furthermore, real leaders, political or otherwise, never participate willingly in a “political stunt” or “sideshow.” No, it is up to others to create those events and, unfortunately, real leaders must walk through them.
As for his “nothing new” assessment of the address, Obama is possibly correct. Netanyahu is not the first person to advise the president of the debacle that has become the Middle East. Plenty of military and political advisors and leaders have said the same thing only to be fired or forced into resignation soon after.
What Netanyahu did do in his presentation was advise our nation and leaders that we are at a crossroads as it concerns Iran and ISIS, one that has happened time and again. He warned that the deal currently being negotiated with Iran will allow the “dark and murderous regime” to control the Middle East. This sounds rather like the “deal” that was negotiated between Hitler and Neville Chamberlain in the late 1930’s just before Nazi forces took control of much of Western Europe. “I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.” As has been stated here before, history doesn’t repeat itself, stupid people repeat history.
It takes a real leader to stand up to a regime that honors murder over life, tyranny over liberty, and pursuit of jihad rather than pursuit of happiness. Currently our nation is lacking in real leadership. Complacency, apathy, and detachment from reality seem to guide American policy concerning the Middle East. Is it any wonder that Iran is gaining a stronghold in the region when no real leader will stand up to them and demand otherwise?
No real leader that is, except for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.” It is sad to think that he may be standing on the platform of leadership alone.