Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced criticism for his UN General Assembly
address Tuesday from Labor and Meretz MKs in Israel and from the pro- Israel,
pro-peace lobby J Street in Washington.
J Street released a statement
expressing disappointment that Netanyahu did not spend more time addressing “the
promise of a better future with the Palestinians,” especially in light of the
ongoing peace process.
“The prime minister’s speech to the UN General
Assembly was a missed opportunity,” the organization said. “Of its 33 minutes,
he spent less than two minutes addressing the subject of peace with the
Palestinians, as if to make it clear that peace is not a high priority for
Former consul-general in New York Alon Pinkas, who is a frequent
Netanyahu critic, tweeted in response that the prime minister was right to
devote the bulk of his speech to Iran because it was the main topic of the
Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked slammed her Knesset
colleagues for attending J Street’s conference in Washington this week, noting
the organization’s past opposition to Congress passing sanctions on
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor), who was one of the
speakers at the conference, expressed disappointment that Netanyahu did not use
the speech to make firm commitments on the Palestinian issue. She also said his
approach to Iran was incorrect.
“The way to deal with Iran is to let the
US lead an international effort, not by emphasizing Israel’s isolation,”
Her challenger for the Labor leadership, MK Isaac
Herzog, said Netanyahu failed to address the different behavior by Iran over the
past 10 days.
He said the prime minister did not provide a response to
what could be a strategic change by the Islamic Republic.
MK Nachman Shai
(Labor) added that Netanyahu “is fighting wars of the past while the world has
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said Netanyahu should have praised
the efforts of the US and the international community to dismantle Iran’s
nuclear program via a diplomatic approach and sanctions.
Netanyahu returned to his old rhetoric of threats and attacks,” she
But opposition MKs Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) and Eli Yishai (Shas)
praised the speech and said Netanyahu speaks for all Israelis on
“The prime minister removed Iran’s mask and cooled [Iranian
President Hassan] Rouhani’s niceness offensive,” said Deputy Minister Ophir
Akunis (Likud), a former Netanyahu aide. “This might have been the most
important speech by Netanyahu in decades.”
Deputy Defense Minister Danny
Danon said he thought Netanyahu’s speech sent a clear message to Iran and to the
“I think it said very clearly, we are not naive,
not stupid, and we want to see action. But most importantly, that we will keep
all options on the table, including military options,” said Danon in New York
after the speech.
Amishai Gottlieb and Maya Shwayder contributed to this
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