Netanyahu: 'Old hatred against Jews now directed at Israel'
LAST UPDATED: 11/08/2010 20:04
PM warns Jewish GA against nuclear Iran; calls delegitimization of Israel a "modern day blood libel"; defends IDF's actions in Gaza war, says Goldstone authors "owe Israel an apology."
Binyamin Netanyahu speaks at a museum in Tel Aviv. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Pool/AP
Speaking to the Jewish
Federation of North America’s General Assembly in New Orleans on
Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that "a nuclear Iran
is the greatest threat to Israel and to the world," and warned against
the delegitimization of Israel.
Netanyahu said that
Israel, like any living organism, must first recognize danger. Pointing
out the extended reach that Iran has with its terrorism, without nuclear
weapons, the prime minister pondered what the threat will be if they do
acquire atomic weapons.
'Only credible military threat will stop Iran nuclear race'
Gates: Threat of force not the only way to deter Iran
The prime minister praised the efforts of
American Jews in helping to rehabilitate and rebuild the city of New
Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He said that "just as the
Jewish people have always rallied to help Israel, you rallied to help
New Orleans get back on its feet." He continued by telling the crowd
that he was proud of them.
Speaking about the delegitimization
that Israel faces - which he called "a modern day blood libel" - he discussed accusations included in the
Goldstone report regarding high civilian casualties. Referencing a
recent Hamas revelation that hundreds of their fighters had been killed
during the Gaza War, Netanyahu said that the international community
"owes Israel an apology."
Hecklers interrupted the speech several times, eventually leading to a man being escorted out of the hall by security personnel.
ways to prevent Iranian nuclear proliferation, Netanyahu reiterated
many of the same sentiments he expressed on Sunday to US
Vice President Joe Biden, saying that the Iranian threat requires a
military threat from the US.
the sidelines of the General Assembly on Sunday, Netanyahu told Biden that "The only way to ensure that Iran is not armed
with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of military action
against it, unless it stops its race to obtain nuclear weapons,” on Sunday.
Netanyahu's words marked a sharp escalation from his past statements on
Iran, which have focused more on the need for diplomatic measures such
as harsh economic sanctions, rather than military deterrence.
Sanctions have affected the regime but have not persuaded Teheran to drop its pursuit of nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said.
“The only time that Iran stopped its nuclear program was in 2003, and
that was when they believed that there was a real chance of an American
military strike against them,” Netanyahu told Biden, according to
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday responded
to Netanyahu's statements, saying that although military action against
Iran remains an option, the threat of force is not the only way to stop
Iran from building a nuclear bon, he said during a visit to Australia.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.