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Do members of the U.S. Congress know any shame? Is it possible for them to even feel such?

On Tuesday, as the people of Joplin, Missouri were digging out of the rubble and searching for the dead and missing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was received with flattering, abject deference by members of the U.S. Congress. In a speech which offered virtually nothing new, the leader of Israel was given a total of 30 standing ovations—or 31 if you want to count the fawning introduction offered up by House Speaker John Boehner, in which the Ohio Republican adoringly referred to Netanyahu as “His Excellency.”

Do members of Congress feel any shame? I do not know the answer to that, but their kowtowing to a foreign head of state has, in a very real sense, brought shame upon America. Forget Barack Obama. The real power in Washington now is AIPAC. Describing the spectacle, Lamis Andoni, a columnist for Aljazeera, referred to Netanyahu as “the unchallenged king of Capitol Hill”, and then added the following:

It was shocking, almost surreal, watching the smiling faces of Congressmen and Senators enthralled at Netanyahu’s glorification of the subjugation of another people under the yoke of military oppression. It was the equivalent of celebrating the war of extermination of Native Americans, slavery and racial segregation all at once.

On Friday, authorities in Joplin raised the death toll to 132. It is clear that our “leaders” in Washington have misplaced their priorities. Their love for a foreign head of state and their attachment to a nation which violates international law and practices apartheid seems genuinely to outweigh their concern for Americans coping with a major disaster. Below, listed in order, are the passages from Netanyahu’s speech which prompted their rising to their feet in homage.

House Speaker John Boehner:

“I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you His Excellency, Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel.””


1. “I’m deeply moved by this warm welcome…I see a lot of new friends of Israel here as well—Democrats  and Republicans alike!” (standing ovation)

2. “Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel.” (standing ovation)

3. “Congratulations America. Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance!” (standing ovation)

4. “You don’t need to send American troops to Israel, we defend ourselves.” (standing ovation)

5. (Netanyahu gets heckled by protestor Rae Abileah. Abileah is booed, but Netanyahu gets another standing ovation—for saying nothing)

6. “You know, I take it as a badge of honor and so should you—that in our free societies you can have these protests. You can’t have these protests in the farcical parliaments in Tehran or in Tripoli. This is real democracy!” (standing ovation)

7. “In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out! It is different!” (standing ovation)

8. “Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East!” (standing ovation)

9. “Leaders who spew such venom should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet!” (standing ovation)

10. “There are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies. Not you. Not America!” (standing ovation)

11. “The more that Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation.”(standing ovation)

12. “And this is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message—that America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons!” (standing ovation)

13. “We’re a nation that rose from the ashes of the holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again!” (standing ovation)

14. “The peace agreements between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan are vital, but they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians.” (standing ovation)

15. “You have to understand this. In Judea and Samaria the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers!” (standing ovation)

16. “No distortion of history could deny the 4,000 year old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land!” (standing ovation)

17. “The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they’ll be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state!” (standing ovation)

18. “You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about!” (standing ovation)

19. “And worst of all, they (Palestinians) continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees. My friends, this must come to an end!” (standing ovation)

20. “It’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state!’” (standing ovation)

21. “I will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise.” (standing ovation)

22. “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967!” (standing ovation)

23. “It means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel!” (standing ovation)

24. “Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel!” (standing ovation)

25. “Could you live that way? Well we’re not going to live that way either!” (standing ovation)

26. “So it’s therefore vital, absolutely vital, that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it’s vital, absolutely vital, that Israel maintain a long term military presence along the Jordan River!” (standing ovation)

27. “Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated!” (standing ovation)

28. “Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaida! That we will not do!” (standing ovation)

29. “And if you do, I promise you this, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so!” (standing ovation)

30. May God bless all of you, and may God forever bless the United States of America! (standing ovation)

View the four-part video presentation of Netanyahu’s speech, courtesy of

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

And finally, a refutation of some of Netanyahu’s assertions courtesy of Aadel M Al-Mahdy at Uprooted Palestinians:

You don’t need to send American troops to Israel, we defend ourselves.

Not trueIsrael does not defend itself. Israel is historically the number one recipient of US foreign aid. The US gives Israel a whopping $3 billion a year in aid and military equipment, most of which is used to defend Israel’s illegal occupation.

In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not occupiers.” (Raucous standing ovation.)

Not TrueIsrael’s nearly 44-year long occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal according to international law. The more than 500,000 Jewish Israelis who have been moved into the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967 are settlers who occupyPalestinian land – much of it privately owned by Palestinians and stolen by Jews the rest of it expropriated by the Israeli state – all taken for exclusive Jewish use. This is occupation.

Moreover, “Judea and Samaria” are the biblical terms for that piece of land. Is Bibi suggesting a state based not on secular law but on the Bible? A Jewish theocracy? Is this the Israel that our Congress promotes?

You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.”

Not true. Within Israel, the 20% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinian do have the right to vote and run for office. But they are victims of systematic housingworkplaceand resource discrimination. For example, 93% of Israeli land is reserved for Jews. In the West Bank, more than 2 million Palestinians live under Israeli occupation—that is, their lives are ruled by Israeli military law, while their Jewish settler neighbors are subject to Israeli civil law. Another 1.5 million Gazans live under siege by the Israeli militaryIs this democracy?

Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel.

Not true. The original UN charter that created Israel, as still recognized by the international community, identified Jerusalem as an internationalized zone that must be shared by all parties.

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