Benjamin Netanyahu 33 Years Ago

The historic speech delivered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week to the United Nations General Assembly carries strong echoes of the same man’s speech in a televised debate 33 years ago.

Many thanks to Peter Godspeed of Canada’s National Post for digging up this old video. He introduced this younger Netanyahu with these words:

How little things change over time.

Thirty three years ago, when a Boston PBS station broadcast a debate on proposed Palestinian statehood on a show called The Advocate, the producers called a 28-year-old future Israeli prime minister to argue against the proposal.

Ben Nitay, a graduate of MIT and Harvard was working as an economic consultant in Boston at the time. Today, he has abandoned the Americanized version of his name and appears regularly on television as Benjamin Netanyahu.

In the mock, televised trial in 1978, the young Mr. “Nitay” is introduced as a “a graduate of MIT, an Israeli and a man who has written widely on the question [of a Palestinian state].”

When asked whether the issue of self-determination is at the heart of the Middle East conflict, he replies: “No, I don’t believe it is. The real core of the conflict is the unfortunate Arab refusal to accept the State of Israel. . . For 20 years the Arabs had both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and if self-determination, as they now say, is the core of the conflict, they could have easily established a Palestinian state, but they didn’t.” [SOURCE]