Leader of the Free World no more

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Is­rael is looking like the new leader of the Free World. The pre­vi­ous leader, the United States, re­signed this role two weeks ago at the United Na­tions to take the po­si­tion of global com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer. This was made plain by Pres­i­dent Obama in his speech, ti­tled “Re­spon­si­bil­ity for Our Com­mon Fu­ture,” in which he her­alded “a new chap­ter of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion.” By con­trast, Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu de­liv­ered a blunt and force­ful call to action in the cen­tral chal­lenge fac­ing free peo­ple to­day. This is the strug­gle of “civ­i­liza­tion against bar­barism” be­ing fought by “those who sanc­tify life against those who glo­rify death.”

Mr. Obama’s ad­dress was the pre­dictable mix of crit­i­cism of the past poli­cies of the United States, self-praise for cor­rect­ing said poli­cies and vague calls to united action on mat­ters of col­lec­tive in­ter­est. It sought to in­gra­ti­ate rather than of­fend. But Mr. Ne­tanyahu chas­tised the United Na­tions for its “sys­tem­atic as­sault on the truth.” He spoke truths that Mr. Obama would never whis­per re­gard­ing the regime in Iran, which is “fu­eled by an ex­treme fun­da­men­tal­ism” and an “un­for­giv­ing creed.” Mr. Ne­tanyahu re­buked those mem­bers who coun­te­nanced Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad’s di­a­tribe be­fore the same world body, rightly call­ing it a “dis­grace.”

Mr. Ne­tanyahu re­peat­edly paid trib­ute to the bless­ings of lib­erty and “the al­lure of free­dom.” He mar­veled at the tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances free­dom made pos­si­ble. He asked if the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity would sup­port the Ira­nian peo­ple “as they bravely stand up for free­dom.” He en­vi­sioned a fu­ture of Is­rael and Pales­tine, “two free peo­ples liv­ing in peace, liv­ing in pros­per­ity, liv­ing in dig­nity.” Mr. Obama, mean­while, touted the im­per­a­tive of re­spond­ing to global cli­mate change and men­tioned as an af­ter­thought that democ­racy should not be an af­ter­thought.

Is­rael stands out be­cause it un­der­stands the cen­tral chal­lenge faced by the civ­i­lized world and by its will­ing­ness to take action. Is­rael is ready­ing to stem the tide of bar­barism and stand up to the threat of a nu­clear Iran. In re­turn, it asks only for moral sup­port. “If Is­rael is again asked to take more risk for peace,” Mr. Ne­tanyahu said, “we must know to­day that you will stand with us to­mor­row.” He chal­lenged the coun­tries of the world with a clear-cut test: “Will you stand with Is­rael? Or will you stand with the ter­ror­ists?”

Mr. Obama said in clos­ing that “we call on all na­tions to join us in build­ing the fu­ture that our peo­ple de­serve.” But peo­ple only de­serve what they have earned. Mr. Ne­tanyahu called on the civ­i­lized world to “con­front this peril, se­cure our fu­ture, and, God will­ing, forge an en­dur­ing peace for gen­er­a­tions to come.” Some­times the fu­ture doesn’t come without a fight.

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