By COLlive reporter
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stuck to the “truthful message” he has been spreading over the last week in a historic and much anticipated speech in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday.
“In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers,” he told a very welcoming Joint Meeting of Congress in Washington, DC, about what some consider the area of Israel’s settlements.
“We’re not the British in India. We’re not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace,” he said.
Netanyahu added, “No distortion of history could deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.”
This message has been Netanyahu’s mantra all week following President Barack Obama‘s Mideast speech last week calling for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to begin from the pre-1967 borders.
The Israeli premier has been calling those lines “indefensible” in speeches to the Knesset and the AIPAC policy conference and at a press conference with Obama at the White House.
Although he was sharply criticized by opposing Israeli politicians and even some Jewish organizational leaders and media for his “undiplomatic approach”, Netanyahu repeated his argument to Congress.
“Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967,” he said to one of multiple many standing ovations by the American policymakers which he called “friends of Israel.”
There were several disruptions during the speech, including a left-leaning activist from California who called for equal rights for Palestinians, to which Netanyahu replied: “In Tripoli and Iran this wouldn’t have happened, this is a true democracy.”
Explaining why peace has never been reached, Netanyahu said: “Our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about.”
Netanyahu congratulated the U.S. on the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. “Congratulations America. You got Bin Laden – good riddance!”
He urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to tear up the pact with Hamas terrorist and make peace with the Jewish state.
Seated in the guest gallery as the Prime Minister’s guests were Mrs. Sara Netanyahu, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of American Jewish Organizations and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.
Guests of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) were Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Director of American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, DC, and a member of its National Council, Mr. Yossi Davidsohn, a Lubavitcher businessman from New York.
Later, at a VIP reception hosted by the Speaker in the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol, Shemtov praised Netanyahu for his unwavering principles amid criticism.
“It’s a zchus (merit) to come here and tell the world that Eretz Yisroel is our land and were are not occupiers,” said the Chabad Shliach in Washington, DC.
While speaking with Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu, Vice President Joe Biden joined the conversation and asked Shemtov, “How’s the family?”
Biden is a close and long-time friend of the senior Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, the Rebbe’s Shliach to the White House, since his days as Delaware’s Senator.
VIDEO: Netanyahu’s speech to Congress
LINK: Full transcript