Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Memo to the President-Elect: Time to Establish a Cabinet-Level US Department of Industry

It's the time of year when think-tanks, political consultants, lobbyists, corporations, unions, and NGOs are busy developing recommendations to the incoming administration which might help their cause.

Knowing that the inboxes and Twitter feed of the Trump Transition are filling up with white papers, memoranda, reports, and articles suggesting agenda items for the first 100 days, I've taken the liberty of coming up with one of my own to help Make America Great Again:


Here's the rationale:

The de-industrialization of the United States did not happen by accident. Rather, it was the result of deliberate policy decisions to encourage development of a Post-Industrial Society made over at least the past half-century, based upon theories of economic development which held that as societies progress they inevitably evolve from agricultural, to industrial, to service economies in a sort of Darwinian evolution. To re-industrialize America after fifty years of Post-Industrialism will require a laser-like focus that only a Cabinet-level Department could provide.

There is ample precedent for this step: President Nixon created the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Administration; President Carter created the Department of Education; President Reagan created the Department of Veteran's Affairs and elevated the Office of National Drug Control Policy to the Cabinet; President Clinton did the same thing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency; President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security.

In each case, serious issues required the attention of the President and his Cabinet--and the only way to insure that attention was with a new Department. Today's Manufacturing Crisis is obviously as severe as the Energy Crisis, the Environmental Crisis, the Education Crisis, the Veteran's Crisis, the Drug Crisis, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, or floods, and the Terrorism Crisis after 9/11.

The almost total destruction of American Industry wasn't built in a day--it took several generations of hard work, beginning in the late 1960s, popularized by Harvard professor Daniel Bell's 1974 The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, which reflected concepts discussed in French intellectual Alain Touraine's 1971 The Post-Industrial Society. Tomorrow's Social History: Classes, Conflicts and Culture in the Programmed Society and Ivan Illich's 1973 Tools for Conviviality

In this manifesto, the Rousseau-like author of Deschooling Society declared his opposition to Industry:

I want to show that two-thirds of mankind still can avoid passing through the industrial age, by choosing right now a postindustrial balance in their mode of production which the hyperindustrial nations will be forced to adopt as an alternative to chaos.
Illich added:

A society committed to high levels of shared learning and critical personal intercourse must set pedagogical limits on industrial growth. 

Sound familiar? Likewise, Alain Touraine's book reads like another May '68-inspired manifesto:

A new type of society is now being formed. These new societies can be labeled post-industrial to stress how dif­ferent they are from the industrial societies that preceded them, although-in both capitalist and socialist nations­ they retain some characteristics of these earlier societies. They may also be called technocratic because of the power that dominates them. Or one can call them programmed societies to define them according to the nature of their production methods. and economic organization. This last term seems to me the most useful because it most ac­ curately indicates the nature of these societies' inner workings and economic activity. 

Finally, we have Daniel Bell's conclusion that a post-industrial society would be a "communal" society:
It seems clear to me that, today, we in America are moving away from a society based on a private-enterprise market system toward one in which the most important economic decisions will be made at the political level, in terms of consciously defined "goals" and "priorities." The dangers inherent in such a shift are familiar enough to anyone acquainted with the liberal tradition. In the past, there was an "unspoken consensus," and the public philosophy did not need to be articulated. And this was a strength, for articulation often invites trials by force when implicit differences are made manifest. Today, however, there is a visible change from market to non-market political decision-making...
...Whether such a change will represent "prog­ress" is a nice metaphysical question that I, for one, do not know how to answer. This was a society "designed" by John Locke and Adam Smith and it rested on the premises of individual­ism and market rationality in which the varied ends desired by individuals would be maximized by free exchange. We now move to a communal ethic, without that community being, as yet, wholly defined. In a sense, the movement away from governance by political economy to gover­nance by political philosophy-for that is the meaning of the shift-is a return to pre-capitalist modes of social thought. But whether this be progress or regress, it clearly makes it incumbent upon us to think more candidly and rigorously about our values, and about the kind of world we wish to live in.  
You don't have to be a sociologist or an economist to realize that the 60's intellectuals were calling for a program of de-industrialization in order to bring about socialism, although at the time they apparently didn't feel free to say so directly.

The problem seemingly, was that the working-class had become insufficiently revolutionary and too individualistic, materialistic, and competitive. In the 1960s, the American factory worker had become a problem--so the factories would have to close. To bring back that pre-industrial lifestyle...

Now comes the moment where we realize the Utopian fantasies of the socialist intellectuals were dependent upon something rather darker. For, just as in Stalin's time, or Hitler's, if you weren't going to pay workers a living wage, someone would have to do the job for free (or as close to it as possible): thus, Slave Labor.

So, the export of American jobs to realize the "Post-Industrial Society" was, like the leisurely lifestyle of the Ante-Bellum South, dependent upon the ruthless exploitation of slave labor abroad and illegal alien labor at home paid sub-standard wages. Because it might offend the sensibilities of Americans to see this, the slave system of industrial production was kept off-shore, or in the case of illegals, in the shadows--out of sight, out of mind.

However, as Milton Friedman has noted, in economics there are always trade-offs, even for a "Post-Industrial Society." In this case, one trade-off in addition to the dependence upon slavery or virtual slavery, was increasing impoverishment of what was once the world's most affluent working class...for jobs sent abroad did not recycle dollars into the American economy, did not pay taxes, and did not stimulate growth. Rather, they "milked" the existing system, transferring wealth from one place to another, with profits skimmed by the new class of "symbolic manipulators" working in the professional, technocratic, and financial sectors.

Paradoxically, the "Post-Industrial Society" turned out to be dependent upon a traditional industrial base--factories and workers--just located in other countries or illegal sweatshops. Likewise, the vaunted high-paid technical and "knowledge sector" jobs started to follow the factory jobs elsewhere.   The "Post-Industrial Society" wasn't post-industrial after all. It was in reality a slave society dependent upon an exploited working class located somewhere else, or not legally acknowledged.

Result: increasing frustration and resentment among the American population left out of the bubble economy created by what Ross Perot called a "giant sucking sound." When the numbers affected eventually hit a tipping point in 2016, the country gave Donald Trump a mandate for change.

However, to implement this mandate will be extremely difficult for President-Elect Trump. All entrenched beneficiaries of the status quo will fight very hard to protect their current privileges. That goes double for existing government departments.

Traditional "conservative" attempts to cut government frequently mean that only the hard-core "burrowed-in" opponents of change survive the RIFs in federal agencies--then work night-and-day to undermine, subvert, sabotage, block and defeat the initiatives of the new President.

That is why it is imperative to create a new Cabinet Department, reporting directly to the President, in full view of the public, dedicated to the primary mission of the Administration: Making America Great Again. New hires for this large department--which could do for American Industry what the US Department of Agriculture did for American Agriculture, all joking and complaints aside the most successful agricultural sector in the world today is American--would have what are essentially lifetime government jobs and thus be better able to continue the Trump vision long end-of-term. In this regard, the bigger the agency, the better, given the way Washington works. Like the EPA, once planted, the Department of Industry would prove difficult to uproot.

A US Department of Industry could work with both the for-profit and non-profit sectors of the country to develop the eco-system necessary to restore American industry to pride of place in the world--able to compete and beat the Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Mexicans and anyone else when it comes to productivity, quality, price, and convenience.

In addition to economic benefits, there are serious national security implications to having the US military dependent on foreign manufacturers for high-tech and often classified weaponry, control systems, and software. Long supply-lines, transit times, and vulnerable supply chains make the country susceptible to economic warfare. Domestic production could give us peace of mind--and leverage in international negotiations.

Finally, there is the sociological benefit to be derived from a focus on Industry. The "Post-Industrial Society" was also a "Leisure Society." But as Max Weber pointed out in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, that there is a moral element to capitalism, quoting Benjamin Franklin:
Remember, that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides.[...]Remember, that money is the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again is seven and threepence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding feline taint, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.
That is, the Protestant Work Ethic is both a cause and an effect of Industry. The answer to idleness, is work; the answer to poverty, is work; the answer to despair, is work.

A re-industrialized America will be an America that works, and a Department of Industry can therefore be an important catalyst to Make America Great Again. To quote Weber again:
We shall nevertheless provisionally use the expression 'spirit of capitalism' for that attitude which, in the pursuit of a calling [berufsmäßig], strives systematically for profit for its own sake in the manner exemplified by Benjamin Franklin."
And that is an old Republican struggle--dating to the battle between Free Labor in the North and Slave Labor in the South that created the Party of Lincoln. 

Even a "Never-Trumper" like Richard Lowry has pointed out Lincoln's belief in the Work Ethic on Breitbart.com:
This country needs a revival of both Lincoln’s appreciation of work and his protectiveness of its proceeds. It needs, again, to be a country where you can earn your way and where you have to earn your way. It needs to be a country–to borrow the terms Lincoln’s Whigs used to describe their electoral base–of “sober, industrious, thriving people.”
Another "Never-Trumper" even proposed establishing a Department of Business: President Barack Obama floated the concept in 2012:
Under the president's original proposal, six different commerce and trade agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Export-Import Bank, would be brought under one roof. The president also said the SBA should be elevated to a Cabinet-level position. Obama blamed Congress for inaction on the proposal. 
"The reason we haven’t done that is not because of some big ideological difference," the president said in his interview, taped Saturday and aired Monday. "It has to do with Congress talking a good game about wanting to streamline government but being very protective about not giving up their jurisdiction over various pieces of government.
I bet Donald Trump could succeed where Obama failed, by fine-tuning the proposal to focus on rebuilding American Industry. He could tweet the words of President Lincoln in defense of his industrial policy:
"No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive."
Which might be an inspirational quotation to carve in stone at the entrance to the headquarters of the US Department of Industry, when President Donald Trump cuts the ribbon on Opening Day in 2017.

One speculative postscript: Someone like Peter Thiel might make an inspiring choice for the first US Secretary of Industry.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Public Broadcasting v Steve Bannon

One of the more obscure aspects of the 2016 post-election season has been participation of public broadcasting, both television and radio, in personal attacks on Steve Bannon, currently chief strategist for President-Elect Donald Trump, formerly Trump Campaign CEO, and executive chair of Breitbart News Network

Recently, NPR Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen proposed that the network no longer permit conservatives to be interviewed live on-air, following a Morning Edition interview with Steve Inskeep in which Breitbart senior editor Joel Pollak responded forcefully to charges against Bannon as a "white nationalist" -- with his own accusations of NPR racism. After published criticism in Breitbart News as well as elsewhere, an NPR executive announced the network would continue to interview conservatives live on-air, despite the ombudsman's recommendation. 

Not discussed was the possibility that perhaps NPR had only allowed Pollak on-air because PBS had not permitted a response to earlier attacks on their air? 

Only two days before the NPR interview, PBS Newshour had broadcast a television segment moderated by John Yang in which outgoing Minority Leader Harry Reid denounced Bannon on the Senate floor as a racist: 

SEN. HARRY REID, Minority Leader: If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon. Rescind it. Don’t do it. Think about this. Don’t do it. As long as a champion of racial division is a step away from the Oval Office, it will be impossible to take Trump’s efforts to heal the nation seriously.

This was followed, without rebuttal, by an interview with Bloomberg reporter Joshua Green, who stated: "Breitbart publishes a lot of things that are vaguely racist, anti-Semitic, far, far outside the bounds of what would ordinarily be considered acceptable in U.S. politics." 

Yang then joined in for himself:

JOHN YANG: You talk about Breitbart News. We have got some headlines that we can show to give people an idea of what Breitbart News is.
“Bill Kristol, Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.”
“Gabby Giffords, The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”
“The Solution to Online Harassment Is Simple: Women Should Log Off.”
How much of Breitbart is Steve Bannon, and how much of Steve Bannon is Breitbart?

In response to this list of putatively extremist headlines,  Green qualified his original attack by backpedaling slightly: "He reminded me a lot of other Wall Street bankers I have encountered, sort of testosterone-addled and vaguely sexist, but certainly not racist or anti-Semitic or some of the more serious charges we have seen thrown him and at Breitbart News." 

In other words, although Bannon supposedly published racist and anti-semitic extremist articles, Green hadn't seen any personal behavior of that sort...which somehow made Bannon sound even worse because it appeared calculated rather than sincere.

Again, there was no response from any Breitbart defender, before Yang went on to discuss the appointment of Reince Preibus as Trump's chief of staff. 

Bottom line: One segment featured three personal attacks: (1) from a clip of the Senate Democratic Leader; (2) from testimony by a Bloomberg reporter; (3) from headlines read by the moderator. 

These three accusations were permitted to air without any defense whatsoever, although PBS could have invited pro-Bannon journalists to balance the critics. Therefore, one may conclude the segment had been calculated to leave an impression that Bannon was a racist, sexist, anti-Semite who ran an extremist publication, and deprive him of a right-to-reply.

Likewise, the following Friday, PBS's character assassination against Bannon continued in the weekly analysis segment featuring David Brooks and Ruth Marcus

Incredibly, the purportedly "conservative" analyst took pains to personally denounce Bannon even before defending an anodyne proposal for increased infrastructure spending, declaring: "Bannon is the interesting case. He is, of course — I do not approve of his news organization or his judgments..."

To which Marcus added her own insinuations of racism and anti-Semitism: "I’m kind of having a hard time seeing the Steve Bannon silver lining here, even with a big infrastructure program, because his Web site and his own history has been so divisive, so hurtful to people of — minorities, people of other faiths. I think having somebody like that in the White House — I understand, to the victor go the spoils, but bringing someone like that inside the White House who you’re going to be listening to is a bad thing."

Yet neither Brooks nor Marcus cited a single example of supposed prejudice from Bannon or Breitbart News, nor did Woodruff ask them to back up their characterization of Bannon with evidence, an indication that she accepted them.

In conclusion, it is clear that the PBS Newshour's recent unfair treatment of allegations against Steve Bannon violated legal requirements that public broadcasting adhere to objectivity and balance in all matters of public controversy, a commitment reiterated in a CPB Board resolution of November 19, 2002:

It is especially important in these extraordinary times for public broadcasting to provide information to the public about issues of national import in a manner that represents multiple points of view; and
The Public Broadcasting Act recognizes the need to treat subjects of a controversial nature in a fair and balanced way. (47 U.S.C. 396(g)(1)(A))
That the Board of Directors hereby reaffirms its commitment to carrying out this mandate; and
That CPB Management must ensure that programming CPB funds comports with this statutory mandate. Management also must continue to work with the system to collectively ensure that all programming is produced in a manner consistent with the high editorial standards that the public expects of public broadcasting.
Resolution Date: 
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

President-Elect Trump's Arts Policy Statement...

Q: Does the federal government have a role to play in funding the creation and performance of art, or in making art accessible to all Americans? Federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts currently stands at $148 million. Do you think that funding level is appropriate? What would you request in your first budget as president?

A: The Congress, as representatives of the people, make the determination as to what the spending priorities ought to be. I had the great fortune to receive a comprehensive liberal arts education from an Ivy League institution. What is most important is that we examine how one-size-fits-all approaches imposed by the federal government have corrupted the availability and efficacy of liberal arts education. Critical thinking skills, the ability to read, write and do basic math are still the keys to economic success. A holistic education that includes literature and the arts is just as critical to creating good citizens. 

SOURCE: http://afa.3cdn.net/2fcccc8e4901fbfa61_xnm6iyphs.pdf

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Is Donald Trump America's Boris Yeltsin?

Some three weeks before Election Day, with polls essentially tied due to the margin of error,  the "Russia Card" has become a major campaign issue, with Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of having Kremlin support -- both overt and covert. 

Clinton raised specter of Russian influence on Trump's campaign in the first debate, when she declared: 

"I was so shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans. That is just unacceptable."

She went on to suggest Trump had business ties to Russia, then returned to the issue in the second debate:  

"...our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election. And WikiLeaks is part of that, as are other sites where the Russians hack information, we don’t even know if it’s accurate information, and then they put it out. We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election. And believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected. They’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump."

Recent reports of attacks on Wikileaks have raised the specter of an escalation of "cyber-warfare" between Russia and the United States in the closing weeks of the Presidential campaign, as well as the possibility of more dangerous military confrontations in the Middle East and Europe.

It is likely that Russians would prefer a President Trump to a President Clinton. However, it is more than likely that Russian support for Trump is not based on personal business connections between Putin and Trump, but rather based upon rational calculations of their national interest. 

A precedent may be found in American influence in Russian elections of the 1990s, when Clinton administration support for reformer Boris Yeltsin may have proven decisive in his victory over the Communist Party in the 1993 Constitutional Crisis. At that time, armed factions fought pitched battles in the center of Moscow, circumstances which make our current election season look like a church picnic. Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed in Yeltsin's military assault to re-take the Russian "White House," then in the hands of his Communist opponents. Without American aid, Yeltsin may very well have been overthrown.

So, while we may not remember, it is likely Russia is taking a page from America's playbook by backing a maverick reformer in a stiff confrontation with an entrenched political establishment.

In addition, there are some obvious personal parallels between Yeltsin and Trump.

First, both are successful construction executives: Yeltsin was trained as a civil engineer in Sverdlovsk, and oversaw "crash construction" of multiple high-rise apartment complexes; Trump took over his father's company and erected his own high-rise buildings.

Second, both are considered "crude" and provincial personalities: Yeltsin was "Siberian" and known for his love of drink; while Trump came from Queens and is known for his love of the ladies.

Third, both rose through the establishment they eventually came to challenge: Yeltsin had been a Communist Party official and governor; Trump had been a big Democratic donor who even invited Hillary Clinton to his wedding. Both subsequently soured on the "insiders" and became "traitors to their class."

Fourth, both are strong anti-Communists: Yeltsin confronted the Communist Party in the 1991 coup attempt and again in the 1993 Constitutional crisis; Trump's lawyer was McCarthy sidekick Roy Cohn and he has continually attacked "Political Correctness."

No wonder that a Russian President picked by Boris Yeltsin himself would throw his support to an anti-Communist, crude, provincial, construction tycoon taking on an entrenched establishment, over a competing candidate backed by the Communist Party.

For, although little reported in the US, no doubt the Russian President is well aware that John Bachtell, national chair of Communist Party, USA endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. He declared that "Trump is a danger to the whole world..." and so Communists must work with the Democratic Party for a Clinton victory, because: "Any substantive change in domestic and foreign policy begins by blocking Trump from the presidency and breaking the GOP majorities in Congress."

So, in this year's US Presidential election, Vladimir Putin is backing the anti-Communist in the race by supporting Donald Trump--just as Bill Clinton did in the 1990s, when he supported Boris Yeltsin in Russia. Turnabout is fair play, indeed.

Of course, we now know that history was on his side, because Yeltsin won, and Putin is in Moscow.

However, whether Donald Trump is on the right side of history, is yet to be determined...

Friday, October 14, 2016

El Greco the Greek

Last night we attended Professor Marinia Lambraki-Plaka's very interesting lecture, PowerPoint presentation, and film screening, co-sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of the Greek Heritage, at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, "The Enduring Legacy of El Greco: Monumental Works in Toledo and Escorial." She was introduced, in part in Greek, by Professor Gregory Nagy of Harvard, the Center's charismatic director.

Speaking inside Washington, DC's mini-Acropolis, just across Whitehaven Street from the Washington home of Hillary Clinton, Professor Lambraki-Plaka presented her case that the work of El Greco, seen by many as one of the foremost Spanish artists of all time, reflects his youthful Byzantine origins as an icon-painter in the town of Candia, prior to his migration to Rome and Toledo. Some 402 years after his death, it was time to recognize that El Greco was Greek.

Professor Lambraki-Plaka is director of the Glyptotek in Athens, and a leading scholar of El Greco. She began her talk by showing slides of thousands of Athenians lined up to view two works by El Greco purchased for the National Museum in Athens upon the 400th anniversary of his death in 2014, truly an impressive sight. On one level, her plea to treat El Greco as a Greek was a curious one, mostly because his name translates from Spanish to English directly as, "The Greek." So what exactly is the problem?

According to the professor, the problem is that many do not accept that The Greek was a Greek artist. She argued that El Greco's artistic style, which may appear strange or personal or avant-garde to the uninitiated, can best be explained through an understanding of Eastern iconographic traditions which El Greco brought to Western art. El Greco is a Greek artist, which explains some of his unconventional techniques, for his approach is rooted in Hellenism and Byzantium. His technical choices are an expression of the Greek Way, as Edith Hamilton called it, and his peculiar style a Greek choice by an artist who was a master of artistic technique of all kinds, including the Western portraiture techniques in his portrait of his son, Jorge Manuel (above).

His mastery of so many styles inspired modern artists such as Picasso, who adapted his works as templates for modernist interpretation, for example, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, based upon El Greco's Vision of St. John.

El Greco's own years spent in Rome, as well as a bitter Counter-Reformation dispute over nudity in The Last Judgement with followers of Michaelangelo, may have led to his move to the ancient Spanish capital of Phillip II, where he could paint in his own personal style. Furthermore, according to Professor Lambraki-Plaka, the Greek element is especially signficant because the development of art in Greece itself, birthplace of Western Civilization and humanism rediscovered by the Renaissance, was denied to the Greeks by Ottoman occupation. In order to participate in the flowering of Western Civilization, El Greco needed to migrate to the West, to Rome and then Toledo--but in so doing, he never lost touch with his Byzantine roots, one reason he signed his name in Greek rather than Latin script.

Professor Lambraki-Plaka's remarks did not sound controversial when she made them to the audience at the Hellenic Center, but have been strongly disputed by Professor Cyril Mango, who wrote in The Oxford History of Byzantium: "The most famous Greek painter hailing from Crete, Dominico Theotokopoulos (El Greco), started his career with some rather Italianate icons, but was then completely won over by Mannerism. Despite claims to the contrary, the only Byzantine element of his famous paintings was his signature in Greek lettering." (left)

However, to this writer, admittedly an amateur, Professor Lambarki-Plaka's case sounded reasonably persuasive. First, because she displayed early icons painted by El Greco in the Byzantine style; secondly, because she analyzed the composition of El Greco's later Italian and Spanish paintings in comparison to the Byzantine works; thirdly, because of her Greek enthusiasm--and that of Greeks at the reception following her talk as well as those who lined up in Athens; and finally because of detailed visual analysis and comparison of early works to later ones, such as the Cretan Dormition of the Virgin (pre-1567) (left) and the Spanish Burial of Count Orgaz (1586-88) (right).

In a deft and diplomatic touch, the Hellenic Center reception following Professor Lambraki-Plaka's talk featured Spanish tapas, a culinary nod to the master's adopted country, as a member of the Greek diaspora who not only contributed to the Western canon, but who also indisputably influenced the development of modern art. Thus Picasso's modernism, in some sense, served as commentary on Byzantine icon-painting, just as El Greco's work did, perhaps nowhere more obviously than in Picasso's iconic 1950 Portrait of a Painter after El Greco. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Senator Edward Brooke v Hillary Clinton in 1969

Senator Edward W. Brooke's Commencement Address to the Wellesley College Class of 1969

"Progress in the Uptight Society
Real Problems and Wrong Procedures"

It is a special pleasure for me to be with you today. I suppose that any politician is always pleased to couple someone else's memorable occasion with a few modest words of his own. It gives him hope that both may be remembered.

Wellesley has even more admirers than its girls have beaux, and I am pleased to be among this college's most enthusiastic boosters. But your commencement from this great school is not a moment to indulge in lavish praise of the fine education you have acquired here, though fine it is. Nor Is It a time for extravagant rhetoric about the glorious future which awaits you, though glorious I hope it will be.

Rather I think you and I might better spend this time in a more sober assessment of the kind of society which is developing around us all. For the individual prospects of each of us are directly dependent on the outcome of the mounting social struggles now under way in this country. Most of us have come to see that personal insulation from the conflict and instability of our time is a dubious and unattainable luxury.' It is as true today as it was at the time of the Declaration of Independence that "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." The social crises of this country have many dimensions; it would be futile to address all of them In a brief statement. Rather than deal with the more controversial issues, I hope you will permit me to offer some reflections on one of the safer and less inflammatory topics of the day, the protest movement in general, and the character and function of student protests in particular. Standing as I do somewhere between fading youth and advancing obsolescence, I hope it will be possible for me to speak both to your generation and to my own.

The waves of protests passing over the United States both mirror and create deep social tension. In some cases one finds it extremely difficult, if not totally Impossible, to determine which protests are based on-just grievances and which are merely exploiting issues for the sake of some ulterior purpose. It begins to appear that the process of protest has assumed a self-sustaining momentum, searching for political fodder on which to thrive. As the process continues, particular issues tend to get submerged in the larger confrontation, a contest of will and power which is justified initially as a means of correcting identified evils but which sometimes persists as an end in its own right.

The dynamics of protest are familiar. In the United States, more than any country I know, there has always been generous latitude for movements of this nature. And for good reason. Dissent and protest are essential ingredients in the democratic concoction. Without them an open society becomes a contradiction in terms, and representative government becomes as stagnant as despotism.

Yet there is a narrow but distinct line between productive dissent and counter-productive disruption. The distinction concerns both the methods and the purposes of protest activities. Much has already been said about the limits of dissent. When all is said and done, when abundant angels have danced on the heads of pins and countless philosophers have offered their exquisite rationalizations, I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans will stand firm on one principle: Coercive protest is wrong. And one reason it is wrong is because it is unnecessary.

So long as a society retains a capacity for non-violent political change, resort to violent political action is anathema. Only if most Americans were convinced that this country was no longer open to peaceful political evolution, to transformation of institutions and policies through the available channels of persuasion, would they consider revolutionary force permissible. That most Americans are not so convinced is evident in the growing vehemence of public attitudes on campus disorders and in the rising popular impatience with the efforts of academic administrators to deal fairly and considerately with student rebels.

The intensity of feeling on this matter is well conveyed by Al Capp in his comment on Harvard's reluctance to discipline those demonstrators who assaulted Robert McNamara some months ago. Apart from an apology to the visitor, the college dean declined to take action on the ground that the students who accosted Mr. McNamara were engaged in a purely political activity. "if depriving a man of his freedom to speak, if depriving him of his freedom to move, if ... nearly depriving him of his life -- if that's political activity," says Capp, "then ... sticking up a gas station is a financial transaction.'' On this point I suspect that Mr. Capp is less the social critic than the authentic voice of the society he has so often satirized.

Whatever the romantics may say about violence in our national life, the use of force is repugnant to the spirit of American politics. Paradoxically, the introduction of coercion as an instrument of protest may serve only to legitimize the use of force to deal with the protesters. There has been a great deal of theorizing, especially in the cloisters of the New Left, about the technique of social polarization. Some self-proclaimed radicals have contended that by triggering the use of official force against themselves, they can win the sympathy of uncommitted groups and undermine support for existing authority. This is a description, albeit a pat one, of what may happen in some circumstances. But the insight is a superficial one, and the prescription a highly unreliable one.

The most celebrated applications of such a doctrine, as at Chicago last year, are Pyrrhic victories at best. Survey after survey makes clear that a frequent result of coercive protests is the isolation of the protesters and increasing public demand for the prompt and vigorous application of official force against them. Potential allies are more often alienated than enlisted by such activities, and their empathy for the professed goals of the protesters is destroyed by their outrage at the procedures employed.

In short it behooves the disciples of protest as politics to reconsider the alleged merits of coercive tactics. By now they should be able to see that, apart from being morally insupportable, such methods are politically ineffective.

But more than method is involved in measuring the propriety and utility of protest. Even if the techniques of dissent are impeccable in their respect for the rights of others, the substance of dissent needs to be examined closely. Protest without purpose is a perversion of democratic privilege. Much of the political instability in the country and on the campuses, it seems to me, stems from the fact that the process of protest to which I referred earlier has assumed a life of its own, considerably independent of specific issues and problems. This is not entirely surprising, since a number of individuals have gained a vested interest in protest as a profession. It is a novel establishment, to be sure, but there is good evidence that protest itself has become a kind of institution in recent years.

The consequences of this development are many and complex. As anyone familiar with human organization would expect, the institutionalization of protest tends to subordinate substance to style, to emphasize practice rather than purpose. The focus comes to be less and less on issues and more and more on the mechanics of protest. Social and political problems become vehicles to be ridden instead of barriers to be overcome. The issues are multiplied for the sake of expediency, but the mingling of the trivial with the substantial makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

This sort of progressive de-focusing serves to confuse, not to clarify, political debate. The dialogue grows louder, but less coherent. We hear talk of the "mood of protest" gripping the nation, a vague and generalized discontent with the state of the country and the world.

But widespread malaise creates only a context for social change; it does not generate a program for change. One cannot produce a constructive program for social action without sorting out the critical issues from the less critical and without making concrete plans to cope with the priority problems. To demand change without some reasonable notion of what specific kind of change is possible and desirable amounts to little more than primitive breast-beating.

Obviously, my remarks oversimplify the present situation. Many protests are focused and are directed toward well-identified goals, although that is no guarantee of their wisdom. What I am anxious to highlight here are the tendencies inherent in some current political action. In my judgment these tendencies, should they proceed unchallenged, point toward a serious and chronic corruption of the political process.

If this apprehension is correct, it is very important to point out these tendencies to the potential recruits of the protest movements. As we have seen in the colleges and universities, large numbers of these prospective recruits are youngsters from well-to-do or middle-class families, rather than those of more disadvantaged backgrounds. The Students for a Democratic Society and similar groups draw much active and latent support from what has been aptly termed the "lumpenbourgeosie," the middle-class masses.

I think it is indisputable that these and other members of your generation are, intellectually and otherwise, among the more well-equipped citizens in the history of the United States. It would be tragic if they adopted disaffection as a way of life. They must be shown that there are definite alternatives to perpetual protest as a means of linking ideals to actions.

Indeed we all need such alternatives, whatever our age or station in life. It is a common insight of psychology that human beings need a sense of efficacy, a feeling that their actions are effective and that they have a meaningful degree of control over their own lives. What is true for Individuals in their personal lives is also true in the social realm, especially for activists. There is a craving to understand the pace and direction of change in society, and to be able to have some measure of influence in steering the course the nation will follow.

But the social analysis associated with some of the contemporary protest movements is a poor guide for Individual or collective action. The ideology of the New Left, like that of the super-conservatism that flared briefly in the early nineteen-sixties, is but remotely connected to the realities of American society in our time. It is a curious hodge-podge of Marxist, or neo-Marxist, or pseudo-Marxist, or crypto-Maoist doctrines, fascinating to debate but irrelevant to enact.

This political potpourri mixes genuine social concern with some wildly incorrect "lessons" of social history. Mark Twain once observed that "One should be careful to got out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on the hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again -- and that's well; but she will never sit down on a cold one either." Among many of our most sophisticated "cats," there is a strong temptation to over-interpret and over-generalize. Those who aspire to effective political activism would do well to resist that temptation.

If we are to devise sensible standards and functions for protest or any other form of political action, we shall first have to develop an accurate, balanced and comprehensive perspective on the immense social forces already at work in our society. It will hardly do for one to ignore, out of convenience or calculation, the facts which do not fit some pre-conceived ideology. I do not presume to claim that I have the scoop on the intricate eddies which move this nation. But there are a number of major trends which should be a factor in any projection of American social development.

Perhaps the most fundamental of these trends is the growing mobilization of this country's public and private resources to deal with our domestic problems. The philosophy of Dr. Pangloss, who proclaimed that "this is the best of all possible worlds," has never found much favor in the United States. But in recent years this country's citizens and institutions have become increasingly aroused to erase the blemishes on our body politic. In this respect the protest movements reflect and stimulate the healthy self-criticism taking place throughout the nation.

It is a very significant fact that America has identified more precisely than ever before the nature and magnitude of its acute social problems. Racial and social injustice is being seen in concrete terms, as a root cause of human misery and as a principal obstacle to the further development of this-nation. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, inferior education, inadequate health care -- these grave inequities are now being recognized for what they are, the responsibility of society as a whole as well as the individuals involved.

From this spreading perception has emerged a wholly different attitude toward government. Even after the Great Depression there was a lingering reluctance to have the government act vigorously to meet social needs. But the new awareness that sizeable human problems still exist in this land of plenty has created an actual demand for government to act or to help others act to relieve them. While there is justified skepticism regarding the effectiveness of some programs, there is an equally justified insistence that various programs must at least be tried.

We ought to realize that, largely because of these altered attitudes, the United States is now well into an unprecedented period of social and political experimentation. In the decades since the Second World War, the power and authority of government have been enlisted to combat racial discrimination in education, in employment, in voting, in housing and in other areas. New cabinet departments have been established to cope with critical domestic requirements: Health, Education and Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation. A host of other innovations have appeared: The Office of Economic Opportunity, with Its community action agencies; the Model Cities Program; the manpower Development and Training Administration; the Community Relations Service.

The mere catalogue of federal agencies scarcely indicates that adequate programs and funds are now in existence. But it does afford a vital comparison with the governmental organization of 1950 or even later, when there were virtually no agencies with major responsibilities for the problems we now see so vividly.

Has this proliferation of effort, and a parallel expansion of private activities, had any effect? The question is very debateable when one speaks of certain programs, but in the main and overall, I think the answer is a resounding "yea." We are a long way from the good society we seek, but not nearly so far as we would have been without the evolutionary changes which have marked private attitudes and public institutions. We now have a valuable degree of continuity in efforts to evaluate and cope with a broad spectrum of social problems. There remains a great need for experimentation and for improved use of our resources in these areas. Still greater is the need to expand the level of effort generally on these gigantic tasks of social reconstruction.

It would be sheer folly to assume that, simply because we have these new programs, things will automatically get better. Yet it would also be foolish to propound demands for social change in a vacuum, oblivious to the substantial changes already in progress.

But, one may ask, is this all an institutional facade behind which little is really accomplished? I think not.

If one takes what might be called the summary problem of our society, the persistence of poverty amid affluence, there has been measurable progress in these years. In 1959 some 22% of the nation's households were poor; by 1967 those below the poverty line totalled 13.3%. One can properly state, in viewing this trend that the bottle of poverty is still more than half full, but it is worth noting that it is less full than before.

Special services to the disadvantaged have also been expanding, but the key point is that the total number of poor is now sufficiently small to contemplate rapid and large-scale action to end poverty. The Council of Economic Advisors now estimates the poverty gap, the sum required to lift all Americans out of nominal poverty, is less than $10 billion a year. That figure is not vastly beyond the recent increases in Annual expenditures on domestic programs. For example, in the coming fiscal year, despite the tremendous budgetary competition, President Nixon is proposing to expand human resources funding by $5.5 billion, a 10% increase over 1969.

At the same time there is serious thought being given to many different aspects of the poverty problem. Attempts to end the deprivation of children are a paramount concern. The Administration is now committed to a $2.5 billion program to combat hunger, still inadequate but a solid step forward. Since most of the poor are employed full time, contrary to the popular impression that welfare rolls are carrying most of the poverty-stricken, special emphasis is directed toward manpower training and upgrading of jail skills.

In short, these and numerous other important initiatives reveal something other than a decadent society. They suggest a nation worried about its integrity, as it should be, and concerned about its people, as it must be. They suggest that this is a time for pitching in, not for opting out. They indicate the awakening of a very imperfect society, trying to be better than it is. And that, I submit, should give a measure of hope to us all.

My message today is a simple one. Lest it be misunderstood in the more complicated discussion of social trends and innovations, let me state it briefly.

This country has profound and pressing social problems on its agenda. It needs the best energies of all its citizens, especially Its gifted young people, to remedy these ills.
Let us not dissipate these energies on phony Issues or misguided missions.
Let us not mistake the vigor of protest for the value of accomplishment.
Let us direct the zeal of every concerned American to the real problems.
Let us forsake false drama for true endeavor.
Let us, in short, recognize that ours is a precious community that demands and deserves the best that is in us.

Read more at http://www.wellesley.edu/events/commencement/archives/1969commencement/commencementaddress#Z7hozTyUVWRMRqyd.99

Friday, September 23, 2016

Benjamin Netanyahu's Road Map for Peace in the Middle East...

He laid it out in his UN General Assembly speech this week:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I'm about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN. Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I've stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic State of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet.

Israel – twenty; rest of the world – three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined. As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN's Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset and Prime Minister. And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe but UNESCO just denied the 4,000 year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That's just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China. Ladies and Gentlemen, The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you'd probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well think again. You see, everything will change and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that's going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That's nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel's ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe. Many also seek to benefit from Israel's ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there's no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That's an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world's population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity. I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help. 
Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives. This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. 
This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I'll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We'll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries. In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel's small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I'm going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It's taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East. But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly.

So Israel's diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth. Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America's consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama's commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations. 

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Today's automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn't happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended. For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo's former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished delegates from so many lands, I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don't know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended. Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests? We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York. But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel's standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN. But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel? Perhaps because some of you don't appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country, it's a problem for your countries too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria. Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I'm proud to say in my own Likud party. Are the starving children in North Korea's brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural knowhow is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world? The sooner the UN's obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen, If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He's preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That's almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past. The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago? You're not laughing. It's as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here? President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again. And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn't get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza. This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they're after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It's always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate all final status issues but one thing I will never negotiate: Our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the Prime Minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought. Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all. Now here's the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future. I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I'll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis. When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he'd detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas's adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here's a quote, "to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them." Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas's Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a "heroic act". On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem." Direct quote. Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here's what she tells him. She tells him he'd be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he'd get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority. Ladies and Gentlemen, All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour. This is child abuse. Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don't. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace? We in Israel don't do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace. Of course, like all societies Israel has fringe elements. But it's our response to those fringe elements, it's our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference. 

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I'll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him. No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, "This is not our people. This is not our way." I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed's assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial. Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict. But what Ahmed's story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them. So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples. Ladies and Gentlemen, I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace. I commend President el-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region. Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it. I'm ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today. President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn't it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. Ladies and Gentlemen, While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here. It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others. Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope. But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear. We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS, we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. That's the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin's parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today. They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son Hadar in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn't care less. I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that's decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them. Ladies and Gentlemen, The greatest threat to my country, to our region, and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel's annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide. This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents. So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us, it's before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran's aggression and Iran's terror. With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you today at a time when Israel's former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel's founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah shlemah Shimon, a speedy recovery. I've always admired Shimon's boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope because Israel is capable of defending itself by itself against any threat. I am filled with hope because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I've seen what Israel has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel's independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now.

Israel's population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world's computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The future belongs to those who innovate and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations.

Thank you.