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Anwar Sadat Speech To The Israeli Knesset Analysis Essay

The Knesset on Tuesday marked the 40 year anniversary of the historic visit by former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Israel, which paved the way for the peace deal between the two former enemy countries.

On November 20, 1977, Sadat became the first— and so far only — Arab leader to visit Israel and address the Knesset with a call for peace.

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Sadat’s visit heralded Israeli-Egyptian talks at Camp David a year later, and a full peace agreement in 1979, just six years after the painful Yom Kippur War.

After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport on November 19, Sadat met with Begin. The next day, he prayed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, before heading to Israel’s parliament to give his speech (full text here).

“I sincerely tell you that before us today lies the appropriate chance for peace, if we are really serious in our endeavors for peace. It is a chance that time cannot afford once again. It is a chance that, if lost or wasted, the plotter against it will bear the curse of humanity and the curse of history,” Sadat told the Knesset in Arabic.

Photographs from the visit show Sadat deep in conversation with Israeli leaders, flower-adorned schoolchildren waiting in Jerusalem for a glimpse of the Egyptian president, and journalists from around the world frantically dispatching their reports.

Sadat was assassinated in 1981.

Egyptian president Anwar Sadat prays at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on November 20, 1977 (Miki Tzarfati/GPO archive)

Prime Minister Menachem Begin welcomes Egyptian president Anwar Sadat at Ben Gurion Airport on November 19, 1997 (Moshe Milner/GPO archive

Reporters filing their stories from the Jerusalem Theater communications center during Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Israel on November 21, 1977 (Ya’akov Sa’ar/GPO archive)

Anwar Sadat with Golda Meir and Shimon Peres in the Knesset. (Ya’acov Sa’ar/GPO)

Anwar Sadat

This is a new speech for the 2009 syllabus for Module B: Critical Study of Texts – Speeches.

I, and my students, found this one the most difficult to go through. Firstly, because it requires an some understanding of the Arab, Jerusalem, Israel matter (which I myself knew little to nothing about before I did some quick research on this speech). Secondly, because it is the longest speech of the set and Sadat uses some complex references and vocabulary that students may not be able to grasp. Thirdly, many students find this speech boring.

Also, here are some things to consider:

  1. How its values and purpose similar to Kyi’s Keynote Address at the Beijing World Conference on Women?
  2. It is such a lengthy speech. Why is this? What is the structure of this speech?

Speaker

  • Anwar Sadat was the President of Egypt from 1970 to 1981 (when he was assassinated).
  • Sadat was the first Arab leader to ever visit a Jewish state – against the advice of his fellow Arab nations.

Audience

  • The Knesset are the Israeli Parliament.
  • The speech was also broadcast live all over the world

Context

  • There had been 4 wars, and continuous battles and terrorism between Israel and Egypt before this speech.
  • This was the beginning of Egyptian interest in reaching a diplomatic solution – later resulting in the Camp David peace agreement
  • Not everyone supported Sadat’s diplomacy though and there was violent opposition.

Techniques by Page

This speech is much longer than the others – I’ll simply go page by page, instead of paragraph by paragraph. The page numbers are as they are on the PDF of English Prescriptions: Advanced Speeches on the BOS website.

I won’t do your analysis for you, but here is a general guideline:

  1. Identify where the listed techniques are in the speech.
  2. Explain their effect/purpose.

Page 35:

  • Religious allusions
  • Formal address
  • Emotive language
  • Alliteration
  • Famous quotation
  • Direct address through “you”
  • Repetition
  • Inclusive language
  • Appeal to universal values
  • Colloquialism
  • Anecdote/quote
  • Dramatic emphasis – biggest Arab state, heaviest burden

Page 36:

  • Strong language – utter suspicion and absolute lack of confidence
  • Conversational
  • Religious allusion
  • Exaggeration
  • Formal address
  • Inspiring tone
  • Repetition

Page 37:

  • Reference to specific dates
  • Cultural/religion allusion
  • Repetition
  • Dramatic language – in the history of the world as a whole
  • Rhetorical question

Page 38:

  • Diction of “facts”
  • Listing of facts
  • Repetition
  • Reference to United Nations
  • Emotive metaphors
  • Listing through colons
  • Rebuttals
  • Metaphor (last paragraph on page)

Page 39:

  • Dramatic language – one single drop of blood
  • Rhetorical question
  • Emotive description
  • Directly engaging with audience
  • Conversational “yes”
  • Metaphor (8th paragraph on page)
  • Repetition
  • Repetition and extended metaphor

Page 40:

  • Repetition and extended metaphor
  • Percentage
  • Rhetorical questions and repetition
  • Religious quotes
  • 2nd person
  • Comparison (last paragraph on page)

Page 41:

  • Imperative tone
  • Emotive repetition – curse of humanity and the curse of history
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Conversational “yes”
  • Repetition – yes, declare, accept
  • Diction of “logic” and “facts”
  • Religious allusions

Page 42:

  • Repetition
  • Diction of “fact”
  • Alliteration (3rd paragraph)
  • Dramatic adjectives (3rd paragraph)
  • Direct language
  • 2nd person
  • Rhythm (6th paragraph)
  • Metaphor

Page 43:

  • Metaphors
  • Listing of points
  • Formal address
  • Repetition
  • Personal pronouns
  • Inclusive/universal language

Page 44:

  • Direct address to universal audience
  • Metaphors
  • Directive language – “Tell them…”, “Be the heralds…”
  • Direct address to audience
  • Exaggeration
  • Religious allusions
  • Repetition
  • Inclusive language “all and every citizen”

Page 45:

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