Netanyahu Urges Jews: Rally Behind Me on Halting Iran Nuclear Program

Prime minister strikes defiant and uncompromising note during his speech to the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did his utmost to rally North American Jewry behind his uncompromising stand on Iran, calling on them Sunday night to stand with him in opposition to the deal under discussion in the Geneva forum.

It is a "bad and dangerous deal" that threatens Israel’s survival and “on matters of Jewish survival, I will not be silenced,” Netanyahu said.

In an address to the annual General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America, being held this year in Jerusalem, Netanyahu made a direct appeal for Jews worldwide to join him in speaking out against the deal.

He reminded them that the purpose of the "crippling" international sanctions that "brought Iran to its knees" had been "to get Iran to dismantle - dismantle - its nuclear enrichment capabilities, which are used for atomic bombs, and its heavy water plutonium reactor, which is also used for atomic bombs."

Netanyahu scoffed at the Iranian insistence that these capabilities are being developed for civilian purposes.

"Do you suppose Iran is building those ICBM (missiles) in order to launch medical isotopes to Iranian patients orbiting the earth?" he said.

On the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu said that while he was willing to make “historic compromises” and “difficult decisions” for peace - and that he was willing to be both “creative and “flexible,” as he saw it - there were “two musts” for any agreement to take shape: Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state and “robust security arrangements” that would protect Israel if the agreement were to unravel. “In case you haven’t noticed,” he remarked, peace in the Middle East often unravels.

Just as he had made the Bar Ilan speech recognizing the Palestinian right to a state, Netanyahu said, the Palestinian leader must “give a Bir Zeit speech, stand up and say ‘I accept the Jewish state.’ “

The premier said it was obvious why Iran was seeking a nuclear deal with the six world powers. "Because the sanctions are biting, crippling their regime… What is being proposed now is a deal where Iran retains all of its capacity, not one centrifuge is dismantled, not one."

Iran, he noted, would "get to keep tons of enriched uranium and they can take these centrifuges which are not dismantled underground … and, within a few weeks or months and at the time of their choosing, the fissile material can be used for a bomb," Netanyahu said.

He added that "Iran does not give up anything of that. It makes a minor concession that is meaningless with today’s technology and with current capacities. In other words, none of the Security Council resolution which the P5+1 powers passed are met. But what is being given to them is the beginning of the rollback of sanctions.”

Netanyahu, who was greeted by a standing ovation when he stood to speak, said he would not rest until Iran’s nukes were “dismantled” and challenged the assembled GA participants to “speak up” – not only for Israel’s security but for their own. It won’t be long before Iran builds missiles with the capability to reach the United States, he noted, and they could carry nuclear weapons, should it achieve that capacity.

“Do you want that?” he asked the crowd, which responded, with an emphatic “No!”

“So do something about it,” he shot back

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the General Assembly on November 10, 2013 in Jerusalem. Credit: Photo by Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

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