In what is set to become his final speech as prime minister on Sunday afternoon, Benjamin Netanyahu evoked the Holocaust to suggest that the incoming government headed by Naftali Bennett would be incapable of standing up to pressure by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Describing the incoming government as an existential threat to the state of Israel, Netanyahu claimed that Biden, his “friend of 40 years,” asked him to keep their disagreements about Washington’s attempt to rejoin its nuclear agreement with Iran out of the public eye but that he had rejected his entreaties.
“In 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, Roosevelt refused to bomb the trains and gas [chambers], which could have saved many of our people. Today we have a voice, we have a country and we have a defensive force,” he said, in an implicit rebuke of Biden.
“Bennett hasn’t got the international standing, the integrity, the capability, the knowledge and he hasn’t got the government to oppose the nuclear agreement. That is the biggest problem. An Israeli PM needs to be able to say no to the leader of the world’s superpower,” Netanyahu declared, asserting that he did not believe Bennett would be willing to take unilateral action against Iran if necessary.
“At most, members of the government will say some weak statements,” he stated. “Iran is celebrating because they understand that from today there will be a weak government in Israel that will align with the dictates of the international community.”
“I have a message for Iran and its leader – the opposition will have a strong voice. And I have an even stronger message – will be back soon.”
It was not the first time that the outgoing prime minister used rhetoric appearing to describe Bennett and the Biden administration as existential threats.
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“What will it do for Israel's deterrence? How will we look in the eyes of our enemies,” Netanyahu asked in a speech two weeks ago about the possibility of an anti-Netanyahu coalition being formed. “What will they do in Iran and in Gaza? What will they say in the halls of government in Washington?”