by Bemjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel
Text and video: http://www.policymic.com/articles/15409/netanyahu-speech-at-un-general-assembly-full-transcript-and-video
Reviewed by David T. Jones
By now virtually every American Diplomacy reader will have encountered media assessments of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 28 September address to the United Nations. They will have absorbed his “red lines” warning regarding the Iranian nuclear program and seen the cartoon anarchist bomb that he displayed to illustrate his points.
But more than a mechanical surveyor’ exercise of politico-rhetoric, Netanyahu spoke with a defiant tone. We have been where we are for 3,000 years; we are here now; we will not be moved; we are not going away (“…the Jewish state will live forever… We will never be uprooted again.”).
Netanyahu sees a global battle between “the modern and the medieval” and Israel stands for modernity with all equal before the law and Israeli technical creativity harnessed for human progress.
But the velvet glove lies thinly over the iron fist. Netanyahu dismissed Palestinian rhetoric seeking statehood without bilateral negotiations with Israel, saying in effect that only a demilitarized Palestinian state fully recognizing Israel is acceptable. He excoriated “radical Islam” as “bent on world conquest” seeking to “extinguish freedom” and “want[ing] to end the modern world.” He believes, however, this fanaticism will be defeated as was fascism/communism with the only question being costs in time and lives.
Detailing Iranian progress toward nuclear weapons, Netanyahu rejected the hypothesis that Tehran can be deterred. Iranian terrorism, directly and indirectly, has already killed thousands. In contrast to the Soviets, who chose survival over suicide, Iran proliferates suicide bombers. Netanyahu cited Professor Bernard Lewis, who noted that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.
Thus, while there is still time to prevent Iran from enriching sufficient uranium for a bomb, time shortens daily and a “red line” must be drawn now.