CNN Pundits Borger, Fleischer Spar Over Netanyahu Veering Into the 'Political' on the Holocaust

March 6th, 2015 11:43 AM

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger had some pretty strong words Tuesday when she gave her post-speech analysis of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. She treated the whole thing as a political spectacle:

WOLF BLITZER: There's no doubt, Gloria, that this speech by the prime minister of Israel will put enormous pressure on the president of the United States, the secretary of state right now, at this delicate moment in this negotiation.

BORGER: Well, those of us who cover politics in this room know that this was a great political speech because he praised Obama before he buried Obama....And then at the end of it, when I think he really veered off into political territory, don't know if it was on a delay at that point, but when he sort of raised the specter of the Holocaust and ‘never again’ and Elie Wiesel...Ari Fleischer could have done this great political speech.”

On one level, the speech was obviously political: Netanyahu is in a close re-election and in the event that he became too partisan, Israeli media issued a 5-minute delay, which is what Borger referred to in her statement.

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for George W. Bush, shot back, “That’s not political, that’s called survival. That’s called learning the lesson that created, the founding of Israel.”
Borger interrupted Fleischer saying, “But for an American audience, for an American audience, if you’re building the case–”

Fleischer: “That’s not political.”

Borger: “That’s not political?”

Fleischer then schooled Borger about the Holocaust, telling her that “Talking about the Holocaust is the history of the Jewish people.”

Borger floundered, “But what I am saying is that this was a powerful moment. You can call it political, you can say it wasn’t political.”

Fleischer shot back: “I don’t call it political.”

 “But it was a powerful moment, not only for the audience back home but the audience here,” Borger replied.

It’s interesting to note that ever since the announcement of Netanyahu’s speech, Borger has constantly been in attack mode, labeling the speech as "inappropriate.” Sort of makes you wonder if she thinks Obama’s speech in Cairo was inappropriate, or whenever he invokes slavery or racism in his speeches.  To journalists like Borger, mentions of slavery and racism wouldn’t be considered “political” if Obama said them, they would simply be part of American history. Yet the Prime Minister of Israel speaks about the Holocaust, and his speech is labeled “political.” Only in America.