After presenting his case against Iran privately to US President Barack Obama
for a few hours on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will condense but
dramatize his argument and take it to the UN General Assembly on
It is unlikely, however, that Netanyahu will openly come out
against direct US-Iranian talks, especially since a CNN poll on Monday found
that three-quarters of Americans say they favor direct diplomatic negotiations
Tellingly, he did not oppose the dialogue during his statement
to the press in the White House after his meeting with Obama.
has been careful in the past not to come out against direct negotiations with
Iran – neither US-Iran talks nor talks between Iran and the world powers known
as the P5+1, which include the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and
What he is likely to stress in his UN speech, however, as well
as in a media blitz afterward, is that those talks must have a clear deadline
and not be open-ended, that the sanctions must not be relieved – and should
indeed be stepped up – until Tehran takes concrete steps to dismantle its
nuclear program, and that a credible military threat must remain in the
A frequent user of props in major speeches to embellish his
point, Netanyahu last year took out a red marker and drew a line on a
cartoonish- looking picture of a bomb to illustrate Israel’s redline on Iran’s
nuclear program. That speech was the most memorable one from the 67th UN General
Assembly, and it captured headlines around the world.
At the UN General
Assembly in 2009, Netanyahu unfurled the original construction plans for the
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp to castigate the delegates at the UN for
listening quietly to anti-Semitic rants and the Holocaust denial of then Iranian
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Netanyahu feels comfortable behind the UN
podium, having served there as Israel’s ambassador from 1984 to
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office would not say if Netanyahu
would use a prop this time around or what it would be.
scheduled to return to New York Monday evening from Washington to continue
tweaking his UN speech.
Following his noon-time meeting with Obama, he
met with US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House and US Secretary of
State John Kerry at the State Department. He also was scheduled to meet in the
late afternoon with Congressional leaders at a going-away reception for Israel’s
Ambassador Michael Oren, who ended his more-than- four-year term in Washington on
Monday and will be replaced by Ron Dermer.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet
Tuesday, after his speech, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and then begin
a media blitz to explain Israel’s position on Iran to the American
Netanyahu will be the fourth-to-last of some 195 speakers at the
UN General Assembly’s general debate, which began last Tuesday. He will speak
after the representative of Dominica and before Togo.