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With gags, props, and slides, Israel’s Netanyahu warns of Iran at AIPAC

US Politics
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This morning at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a bleak image of expanding Iranian influence in the Middle East set against a thriving Israel united with the United States. In true Netanyahu fashion the speech was more upbeat than stern, and of course it included props.

Diving into Iran and equipped with a slide presentation, Netanyahu warned “Darkness is descending on our region. Iran is building an aggressive empire: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, more to come.” But, there are measures President Donald Trump is prepared to use to undermine Iran, Netanyahu said.  Trump will sever the 2015 Iran nuclear deal brokered by the U.S. and five more countries “if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed.” He added, Trump “will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions. Israel will be right there by America’s side. And let me tell you, so will other countries in the region.”

“President Trump has made it clear that his administration will not accept Iran’s aggression in the region. He has made clear that he too will never accept a nuclear-armed Iran. That is the right policy,” Netanyahu continued.

In his harshest moments on stage, Netanyahu ramped up his rhetoric from previous condemnations of Iran. He made biblical comparisons to the Story of Ester, where Iran today was likened to the figure of Hamen, a loathsome oppressors of ancient Persian Jews who “attempt[ed] to exterminate our people. They failed then. They’ll fail now. We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in ten years, not ever.”

Making a second reference to King Cyrus over the past two days, a biblical king of Persia who sanctioned the rebuilding of a great Jewish temple in Jerusalem (the first mention was about  Trump for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem) Netanyahu said the current “horrible tyranny” in Iran “will perish from the earth” and a new King Cyrus will arise in Iran, just like in the Bible.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded over social media:

Netanyahu also lauded Trump in this speech for the president’s “historic decision” to upgrade the U.S. Consulate annex in Jerusalem into an embassy.

“It’s especially great to be in america’s capital now that he’s recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” he said to wild applauses and whistles. 

The audience of lawmakers, students, and movers and shakers in the foreign policy world, cheered on throughout the 30-minute speech. Netanyahu boasted of 18,000 attendees at the conference—he soaked up the praise. At times he was theatrical and self-aware of his own camp.

“Is it ok?” Netanyahu asked, “What the heck, I’m the prime minister.”

He then sauntered out to the wings of the stage carrying a white sheet of paper with a hand written note “1-800 How’s My Speech?” Cheers rolled in; the reception was as wild as it gets at a policy conference and Netanyahu shared it generously.

Through the speech Netanyahu honored by name a long list of friends, everyone from the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, to Jared Kushner, to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the state of Texas, to “my friend, a great champion of Israel,”—Stephen Harper, who Netanyahu asked to stand up and share in the applause.

In what has become a hallmark of his speeches to American audiences, Netanyahu even managed a pun about a Clint Eastwood film, “The good, the bad, and the ugly.” In Netanyahu’s version, the good he explained, is Israeli innovation. “I just heard about an African woman in Africa who has to walk eight hours a day to give water to her children,” Netanyahu said, adding an Israeli company stepped in and resolved the burden, “they bring water from thin air” they bring water to Africa, isn’t that amazing?”

The bad, he elaborated, is a Palestinian program that pays stipends to the families of Palestinians convicted of security offenses, including the killings of Israeli citizens. (The Palestinian government has long described the payments as a form of welfare for families whose main income earner is imprisoned. But quietly last year the Abbas government ordered a stop to payments to incarcerated Palestinians affiliated with Hamas.)

An interactive Netanyahu polled the room, “raise your hand if you agree with me that President Abbas should stop paying terrorist to murder jews.”

“What message does this send to Palestinian children: it says murder jews and get rich,” he continued, “build lives, don’t pay death,” adding the Palestinians would be wise to “invest in peace.”

Outside of blasting the Palestinian leader, Netanyahu had scant words on reaching a deal with the Palestinians. Indeed a side event that took place in Washington a few blocks from the AIPAC convention yesterday afternoon indicates members of his government are lobbying U.S. officials to endorse annexation over the West Bank. The head of Israel’s settler movement and leading members of Netanyahu’s Likud party called for deepening U.S. ties to the settlements in the talk hosted by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to “combat the de-legitimization of Israel through the embrace of Judea and Samaria.”

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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12 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    March 6, 2018, 7:38 pm

    RE: Netanyahu warned “Darkness is descending on our region. Iran is building an aggressive empire: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, more to come.”

    MY COMMENT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Iran is Nazi Germany and it’s 1939! ! !

  2. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    March 6, 2018, 8:03 pm

    RE: “Netanyahu also lauded Trump in this speech for the president’s “historic decision” to upgrade the U.S. Consulate annex in Jerusalem into an embassy.” ~ Deger

    NETANYAHU PROVIDING TRUMP WITH BEAUCOUP ‘NARCISSISTIC SUPPLY’:
    For his part, Netanyahu praised Trump for his Jerusalem decision: “Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people, throughout the ages. And as you just said, others talked about it; you did it.”
    SOURCE ~ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/05/trump-says-he-may-visit-israel-opening-new-u-s-embassy-jerusalem/395165002/

    ■ Narcissistic supply – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_supply
    ■ Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply and Sources of Supply – http://samvak.tripod.com/faq76.html
    ■ Narcissistic Supply – The Narcissistic Life – https://thenarcissisticlife.com/narcissistic-supply/
    ■ Beware – The Narcissist Wound – http://pro.psychcentral.com/recovery-expert/2016/02/beware-the-narcissist-wound/

  3. JosephA
    JosephA
    March 6, 2018, 11:51 pm

    Benjamin Milikewski is a scary freak.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      March 7, 2018, 9:48 pm

      @JosephA

      “Is it ok?” Netanyahu asked, “What the heck, I’m the prime minister.”

      He’s a scary freak. tRUMP’s a freak.

      Thank God their wives are stabilizing forces.

      Melania twittered “Great visit with Prime Minister Benjamin & Mrs. Netanyahu! Enjoyed hosting Sarah Netanyahu for lunch to discuss how we can make a better and safer world for children.” pic.twitter.com/gn1Mwfd…

      Sara’s discussion skills –

      How can they possibly have anything of substance to discuss here? Sara’s husband is responsible for the death of thousands of palestinian children. Melania’s husband doesn’t care about any children (except his own)? That must have been a very brief chat.

  4. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 7, 2018, 2:39 am

    Puke. I agree with oldgeezer. “America is easily moved.” Doofus America headed to WW3 via Iran.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      March 8, 2018, 4:00 am

      There’s a lot of anger in red state flyover USA over who paid the price of all the wars and it is almost cetrainly a driver of the opioid epidemic which is kiling 170 people per day and has reduced US life expectancy. Iran has united the Shia of the middle East and has Russia behind it. Israel cannot afford a long war becauseYossi Israeli doesn’t like corpses.

      Netanyahu moans about Iran at every AIPAC conference.
      He is still the same asshole he was in his 20s.

      At 8 minutes Ajami brings up population growth rates and says the Palestinians will be a majority within the borders of Shangri La. And Netanyahu brushes it off. He was insane, because what Ajami predicted has now happened.

      Netanyahu has implemented his groupthink for the last 20 years to no effect. Israel has never been weaker. Everything comes back to how zionism sees the Palestinians. Netanyahu says there is no such thing as a Palestinian people and that individual Palestinians have no rights to a state. He says the Arabs are reponsible for the problem.
      Israel has fought many words in defence of these principles. And it has implemented apartheid, driving a wedge in the US Jewish community. .
      AIPAC is a waste of time.
      Israel has no idea what to do now.

  5. Kay24
    Kay24
    March 7, 2018, 11:56 am

    It makes me wonder if the audience were still awed by him, or whether deep inside they did not want to believe a corrupt man. His war mongering gets bizarre by the year.
    Netanyahu seems to be as crazy, and corrupt, as Trump, minus the twitter rants of course, but still insane.

  6. eljay
    eljay
    March 7, 2018, 12:35 pm

    … In his harshest moments on stage, Netanyahu ramped up his rhetoric from previous condemnations of Iran. He made biblical comparisons to the Story of Ester, where Iran today was likened to the figure of Hamen, a loathsome oppressors of ancient Persian Jews who “attempt[ed] to exterminate our people. They failed then. They’ll fail now. … “

    We know from Esther 8 and 9 that in those days Jews were given free reign to slaughter non-Jews and so – with the help of “the rulers of the provinces, and the lieutenants, and the deputies, and officers of the king” – they proceeded to slaughter over 75,000 people.

    I shudder to think how many Iranians Bibi – along with whatever allies he can muster to help with the dirty work – intends to slaughter once he and his “Jewish State” get permission to do so.

    (jon s no doubt looks forward to the “happy, kid-friendly, carnival-style holiday” that will follow.)

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      March 7, 2018, 9:58 pm

      “I shudder to think how many Iranians Bibi – along with whatever allies he can muster to help with the dirty work – intends to slaughter once he and his “Jewish State” get permission to do so.”

      ;^(
      ,
      ,
      ,
      ,

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      March 9, 2018, 11:10 am

      Who’s Esther now, Ivanka?

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