On MSNBC last night, Rachel Maddow did a rundown of “unhinged” speeches at the UN General Assembly.
She included the late Muammar Qaddafi of Libya– evidently this rant about swine flu and the Kennedy assassination…
A “freaking” 4-and-1/2-hour speech by Fidel Castro, in 1960.
Nikita Khrushchev slamming the podium with his shoe. And the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela calling George Bush Satan and saying he could smell sulfur in the air.
And Yasser Arafat from 1974, saying he carried an olive branch and a gun. Maddow:
“Arafat did mean that quite literally. He insisted on wearing a gun in a holster for his first U.N. speech– which is nuts. But you know, every year there’s someone.”
How fair is that? All the men were heads of state, except for Arafat. The United Nations resolved there should be an Arab state in Palestine in 1947; but it never followed through on that plan. So Arafat represented a dispossessed people, and surely was acting in the tradition of such peoples in vowing to fight occupation.
Moreover, Maddow doesn’t actually take issue with anything Arafat said in his speech. Instead it’s a superficial attack on a symbolic gesture (and the gun probably wasn’t loaded).
OK, but let’s be devil’s advocate and stipulate that it wasn’t diplomatic of Arafat to wear a gun inside the General Assembly.
However, if you are going to make a list of crazy UN speeches, you really have to twist yourself into a pretzel not to mention Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrics.
You’d think Maddow might have put Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb on the list, from 2012.
Or the time he said that militant Islam is an “insatiable crocodile“:
“They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out, or at the very least jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.”
Or maybe his 44 seconds of silence, glaring at the assembly in 2015, accusing them of approving a second holocaust.
If you want to talk about crazy antics at the UN, that’s fine, but if you’re including Arafat from 43 years ago and not any of the myriad examples of Netanyahu from the much more recent past then you’re not being honest.