Fareed Zakaria: Netanyahu Should Have Thanked Obama For His Middle East Proposal

Just how in bed with Barack Obama is Fareed Zakaria?

On the Sunday CNN program bearing his name, the host began the show by saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have thanked the President for his Middle East peace proposal given earlier this month (video follows with transcript and commentary):

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: We've just gone through an arcane debate about whether Barack Obama said anything new when he called for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps. In fact, that has been the working assumption of all negotiating parties -- America, Israel and the Palestinian authority -- for over 20 years. It is what the Camp David talks of 2000 were based on, it's what former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's talks with the Palestinians was based on.

The newsworthy and real shift in U.S. policy was President Obama publicly condemning the Palestinian strategy to seek recognition as a state from the U.N. General Assembly in September. Instead of thanking Obama for this, Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to stage, in the words of the former Israeli diplomat Alon Pinkas, quote, "nothing less than a bizarre tirade at the White House on Friday, educating the president about the plight (ph) and the pogroms of Jews throughout history," end quote.

So why did Netanyahu do this? Does it help Israel's security or strengthen it otherwise to stoke tensions with its strongest ally and largest benefactor, Washington? Does such behavior further the resolution of Israel's problems? No, but it helps Netanyahu stir up support at home and maintain his fragile coalition.

The real revelation, which has been picked up by many in the Israeli press, is that it shows finally that Netanyahu simply doesn't want a deal. He always has a new objection, a new problem, a new delaying tactic because, at core, he has never believed that the Palestinians should have a state.

Fascinating. So the man that has admitted to giving foreign policy advice to the President is now blaming tensions between the White House and Israel on Netanyahu while claiming the Prime Minister really doesn't want a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.

This is precisely why Zakaria should recuse himself from reporting on such matters as NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell requested on May 16.

Unfortunately, this unrestrained shill was just warming up, for he next cherry-picked statements Netanyahu made 33 years ago:

Here is the young Bibi, 33 years ago, at a forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think the United States should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state for several reasons, the first one being that it is unjust to demand the creation of a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state at the expense of the only Jewish state.

There is no right to establish the second one on my doorstep, which will threaten my existence. There is no right whatsoever.


It might have been nice if Zakaria had offered viewers some context concerning these remarks.

The video of Netanyahu's entire testimony at that 1978 Cambridge forum is available at Right Scoop. At minute 2:30, Netanyahu said the following:

NETANYAHU: The Palestinians themselves, in the Palestinian National Covenant, the very first article, say that the people of Palestine quote “are part of the Arab nation.” Well, let’s look at the Arab nation. It has 21 states, and area roughly the size of the United States, and one sixth of the entire world’s wealth. Now add to that the fact that there already exists a Palestinian state, and that is Jordan, 60 percent of whose population is Palestinian. I think it’s quite interesting that Yasser Arafat and King Hussein who are bitter enemies agree on one thing: that Jordan is a Palestinian state. So what we’re talking about is a demand for a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state.

As such, and contrary to what Zakaria presented, Netanyahu didn't say he was opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. He said that he was for the creation of such a state in Jordan whose population at that time was 60 percent Palestinian and which was already recognized as a Palestinian state by much of the Arab world.

Not surprisingly, the CNN host that advises Obama didn't share that with his viewers:

ZAKARIA: Prime Minister Netanyahu's references to the indefensible borders of 1967 last week also reveal him to be mired in a world that has really gone away. The chief threat to Israel today is not from a Palestinian army. Israel has the region's strongest economy and military by far, complete with an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The chief threats to Israel are from new technologies -- rockets, biological weapons and from demography. Its physical existence is less in doubt than its democratic existence as it continues to rule millions of Palestinians who are entitled to neither a vote nor a country.

Ironically, the young Bibi understood that it was impossible to keep the Palestinians in such serf-like conditions forever. Listen to him advocating that Palestinians should be given citizenship, either in Jordan or in Israel.


NETANYAHU: In the event that this negotiation process will continue, I am sure that what we're talking about is, in fact, eventual citizenship of some kind, either Jordanian or Israeli or in any other arrangement.


ZAKARIA: If the Palestinians were smart, they'd take Prime Minister Netanyahu up on that offer of citizenship in Israel, and then Bibi would wish he had been for a two-state solution all along.

Yes, Fareed, they should take Netanyahu up on something he said 33 years ago in a completely different world where Iran and its leader were strong allies of America and neither Hezbollah nor Hamas yet existed.

And Zakaria has the gall to accuse Netanyahu of being "mired in a world that has really gone away."

Foreign Policy Israel/Palestine Middle East CNN Fareed Zakaria Benjamin Netanyahu
Noel Sheppard's picture

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