Netanyahu vs Obama: Statesmanship vs empty rhetoric

Benjamin Netanyahu met with Barack Obama about Iran this week. It was not difficult to see which had a better global commitment. Photo: Netanyahu (focuse), Obama (unfocused) (

CHARLOTTEOctober 2, 2013 – Barack Obama made a name for himself in 2004 when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Since then, the now President of the United States has made thousands more oratorical presentations, but none so eloquent as the one that made him a rising star nine years ago.

It appears, however, that Mr. Obama was a “one speech wonder” whose eloquence has diminished with each successive verbal outing.

Enter Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Obama earlier this week about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and later spoke to the United Nations General Assembly about the same subject.

Take a moment to compare quotes from the two world leaders. Then ask yourself, honestly, who is the true statesman with a better grasp of world affairs.

First the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“…the Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.

‘Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. Some 2,500 years ago the great Persian king Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree. And thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.

“Rohani headed Iran’s Supreme National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time Iran’s henchmen gunned down opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. They killed 19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Are we to believe that Rohani knew nothing about these attacks?

Iran directly participates in Assad’s murder and massacre of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Syria. And that regime is propping up a Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.

“Rohani denounces, quote, “attempts to change the regional balance through proxies.” Yet, Iran is actively destabilizing Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and many other Middle Eastern countries. …facts are stubborn things, and the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rohani’s soothing rhetoric.

Israel welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common interests and common challenges will help us forge a more peaceful future. Israel…continues to seek an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all. We want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic reconciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

“I am prepared to make an historic compromise for genuine and enduring peace, but I will never compromise on the security of my people and of my country, the one and only Jewish state.

“…we’ve transformed a bludgeoned Jewish people, left for dead, into a vibrant, thriving nation, developing limitless possibilities for the future.

“Biblical prophecies are being realized. As the prophet Amos said, they shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. They shall till gardens and eat their fruit. And I will plant them upon their soil never to be uprooted again.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.”

Now read quotes from Barack Obama, taken from various speeches during his tenure.

“I will continue to believe that Israel’s security is paramount.”

“It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was al-Qaeda.”

“The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.”

“Issues are never simple. One thing I’m proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues.”

“I will not negotiate. This perpetual cycle of brinksmanship has to end.”

“We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain.”

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made it happen.”

“…the day I’m inaugurated, this country looks at itself differently and the world looks at America differently.  …I think my supporters believe that I am a messenger who can deliver that message around the world in a way that no other candidate can do.”

The defense rests.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (  

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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