Ebrahim Moosa - Opinion | 04 Muharram 1439/25 September 2017
When US President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time on Tuesday, his “blunt, fearful rant,” as The Guardian dubbed it, raised the ire of much of the world.
The speech struck some of the darker notes of Trump’s earlier rhetoric, said reporter Julian Borger, and had its customary pauses for applause filled with uneasy silence.
Reuters reported of one audience member covering his face with his hands, and that loud, startled murmurs filled the hall in response to the president’s bellicose rhetoric.
Trump referred to North Korean leader Kim Jung Un as “rocket man,” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.
“Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell,” Trump also blurted bluntly.
“Reading the text of the speech, I was struck by the extent to which the language he’s using is potentially more appropriate for schoolyard debates as opposed to what we normally see on the floor of the UN General Assembly,” Sarah Snyder, an associate professor who studies human rights at the American University’s School of International Service, told The Atlantic. “Using language like ‘loser terrorists’ strikes me as not the most compelling way to make an argument about international policy.”
Iran's foreign minister said of the address that it belonged in medieval times and not the 21st Century UN, whilst Venezuela's Jorge Arreaza scorned Trump’s threats.
"Trump is not the president of the world... he cannot even manage his own government," that foreign minister said.
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, described the address as the most atrocious speech he had ever heard an American president give at any venue.”
Previous US Secretary of State John Kerry was equally chiding.
"You don't give a speech at the United Nations to talk to your base," Kerry said, calling the address "childish."
"If name-calling was going to solve this problem, Donald Trump would have already solved the problem”.
The purpose of the president of the United States' speech to the UN is to "sell America's policy," Kerry opined.
Instead, he said, Trump managed to put "America last or diplomacy last," leaving America "alone."
Alone America may have stood after Trump’s bizarre address on Tuesday, but there was one over-enthusiastic Trump groupie who quickly sought to break that isolation.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the eloquent MIT and Harvard graduate, and second longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Israel, was that sore thumb who stood outright lavish in his praise of the divisive American leader.
“In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech,” Netanyahu tweeted.
“President Trump spoke the truth about the great dangers facing our world and issued a powerful call to confront them in order to ensure the future of humanity”.
The Israeli Prime Minister left no room for doubting where he stood on Trump when he reiterated his sentiments in his own UNGA address.
“Now, as you know, I've been ambassador to the UN, and I'm a long-serving Israeli prime minister, so I've listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: None were bolder, none were more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today..”
It is worthwhile noting that this week was hardly the first time Netanyahu fawned over Trump with such flattery.
Almost immediately upon his election, Netanyahu lauded Trump as “a true friend of the State of Israel”- a congratulatory sentiment that was echoed across all wings of the Israeli political spectrum.
Two months later, Netanyahu publicly threw his weight behind Trump’s provocative proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu wrote in English on Twitter, Trump’s preferred method of communication. The prime minister ended his tweet with emojis of the Israeli and American flags.
The glaring differences in the responses of the rest of the world to Trump’s belligerence as opposed to the grovelling of Israel, are, if anything, evidence of the increasing isolation of Israel, and a barometer of just how rogue the Zionist state has become.
For decades, Israel cultivated to the world an image of itself as gleaming paragon of Western democracy; a trailblazer in innovation; and the bastion of liberalism and progressiveness.
Israeli officials, wrote Ramzy Baroud, would speak passionately about peace, yet would do everything in their power to hinder its attainment.
With the ascension of Trump, all that changed. Israel, says Baroud, “simply does not care. Period”
Israel, as is strikingly evident from flippancy of Netanyahu, now feels “liberated from its obligation to doublespeak,” and with that comes a golden opportunity, for all those agitating for justice for Palestinians, the world over to expose the ideology that underpins the existence of Israel, for the cesspit of oppression, supremacy and apartheid it truly is.
The masks (and gloves) are off.