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At Trump summit, Netanyahu’s call for ‘war with Iran’ sparks backlash from Tehran

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stole the show during a Trump administration summit in Warsaw, Poland focused on “peace and security” in the Middle East when he said the meeting would be helpful “to advance the common interest of war with Iran.” Although the the statement was quickly scrubbed from social media and replaced with a message of “combatting Iran,” the Iranian government, and many others, took notice.

The initial statement was made in a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s office this afternoon in Poland.

“From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran. What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

“What we are doing is pushing and driving Iran from Syria. We are committed to doing this,” Netanyahu also said, “It is cold in Warsaw right now but Israel’s foreign relations are warming up, warming up for the better.”

Yet shortly after a spokesperson for Netanyahu released an updated translation over social media clarifying Netanyahu was not seeking conflict with Iran, rather a detente. While not acknowledging the change in text, the suggestion is that a translator made an ill-placed error. A copy of a recording of the statement was preserved for posterity by the Intercept’s Travis Mannon. In the video, posted to social media by the Israeli government in a now deleted tweet, the prime minister can be heard using the word “war,” not “combat.”

If there was a word blunder on the part of Netanyahu, it already caused damage with Iranian leaders.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took a screen shot of the transcript sent to reporters in which Netanyahu said he was building allies to go to war with Iran and posted it to social media. “We’ve always known Netanyahu’s illusions. Now, the world – and those attending – know, too,” Zarif said.

Zarif, who did not attend the meeting in Poland, also attempted to cast blame on the U.S. over Twitter  for an attack on the Revolutionary Guard that killed 27 near the border with Pakistan today. “Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that begins?” he wrote, “Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with twitter bots? US seems to always make the same wrong choices, but expect different results.”

The conference comes amid disputes with European allies after the U.S. pulled out of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last year, the Iran nuclear deal, as well as the Trump administration’s recent announcement to scale back troops in Syria. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the summit last month in Cairo, indicating the administration could seek to renegotiate the deal, however, without Iran’s presence.

“Countries will all come together to focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence,” Pompeo said from Egypt.

The secretary was joined in Warsaw by Vice President Mike Pence and Jared Kushner, the senior advisor to the president and his son-in-law. They are expected to also use the forum today and Thursday to seek support for the Trump administration’s unreleased peace plan between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Yet the Palestinian leadership boycotted. Russia, China, Turkey and Lebanon also shunned the summit.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said earlier this week the agenda was “an Israeli-centric fake solution that normalizes Arab-Israeli relations at the expense of Palestinian rights.”

“The U.S. administration is seeking Arab funding for a politically and morally bankrupt ‘economic peace’ that denies the Palestinian people’s rights to national sovereignty, including in Jerusalem, and negates the rights of Palestine refugees,” her statement continued.

For Netanyahu, Warsaw was also an opportunity to strengthen ties with Arab leaders. He held a sideline talk with Oman’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi this morning. The meeting marks the second high level discussion between the two countries in recent months after more than two decades of frayed relations.

“This is an important and new vision for the future. People of the Middle East have suffered a lot because they are stuck to the past. This is a new era for the future and for prosperity for every nation,” bin Alawi said.

Last year Netanyahu flew to Oman for a secret meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said that was revealed only after he returned to Israel.

Allison Deger

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

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30 Responses

  1. amigo on February 13, 2019, 7:42 pm

    I believe France and Germany gave this sham meeting a miss.Not sure about the UK as Teresa May is likely to avoid p—–g of Donald and harming Global Britain.

    • Misterioso on February 14, 2019, 8:53 am

      @amigo, et al

      The American Conservative, Feb. 12/19
      “Trump Has All But Lost Peace in the Middle East”

      “The president’s moves in favor of Israel have shattered what was left of the problematic Oslo Accords.”

      By Geoffrey Aronson • February 12, 2019

      “The Trump years are shaping up to be the most consequential period for American diplomacy on the Israel-Palestine front since the Clinton presidency a generation ago. But that doesn’t necessarily mean what’s happening is positive, at least for the Palestinians and everyone interested in real peace.

      “The Clinton era of the Oslo Accords was marked by joint Israeli and Palestinian diplomatic initiative and Washington support, ultimately producing the historic mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and the subsequent creation of a Palestinian self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This new system of relations inspired continuing diplomatic efforts from Wye Plantation (1998) to Camp David (2000) and then Annapolis (2007)—all supported by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.

      “In contrast, the dramatic changes introduced during the Trump presidency have all been unilateral American actions, applauded by Israel and decried by the PLO. Notably, there was Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018. Then came the defunding of the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), the refugee assistance body established in 1949. The U.S. has historically been the main donor to UNRWA, which runs schools and medical facilities in Palestinian refugee camps throughout the Middle East. The withdrawal of funding has had more than just a symbolic effect on the organization.

      “Trump’s decisions strike at the heart of the system of agreements and understandings established with critical U.S. support not only during the Oslo years but, in the case of UNRWA, hearkening back to the first years of the postwar conflict. Taken together, they spell the death knell for the tottering weltanschauung produced by decades of American diplomacy.

      “The dramatic changes introduced during Trump’s short tenure are the direct consequence of the shortcomings of the process so famously celebrated by Clinton, Rabin, and Arafat on the White House lawn on a gloriously sunny day in September 1993.

      “The system created by the architects of Oslo failed to establish a territorial basis for Palestinian sovereignty or Palestinian democracy. Instead, Trump inherited a barren diplomatic landscape that had succeeded only in consolidating Israeli occupation and settlement objectives—most notably the transfer of more than one half million Israelis to territories occupied by Israel. This “success” irretrievably complicated the prospects of a consensual resolution to the conflict between Palestine and Israel that was at the heart of the internationally supported consensus established by Oslo.

      “Trump’s effort to create new rules of the game is unfolding with or without the introduction of the much-hyped but ever-elusive ‘deal of the century.’ And Congress, taking its cue from Trump’s effort to dismantle key aspects of U.S. policy, is shaping its own initiatives accordingly.”

    • Abe Bird on February 14, 2019, 11:29 am

      Netanyahu did not steal the show but was one of the initiators of the conference, which was attended by about 60 leaders from around the world. And who were not there? Of course, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Syria … even the Yemenite foreign minister arrived and met with Netanyahu in four eyes.

      Western Europe states largely does not identify with the goals of the conference, but are afraid to open new economic channels with Iran because of the Trump government and the fear of its reaction. They have stopped importing Iranian oil, and making all efforts to maximize their sales on the Iranian market. Yet they are turning their back on the conference, hoping that they will still be able to extract some more money from their ties with Iran before their play will end.

      No wonder the Iranians are afraid. Even a meeting between the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Sochi over the distribution of their spoils in Syria does not succeed in calming Iran down.

      • annie on February 14, 2019, 12:35 pm

        Netanyahu did not steal the show

        abe, i think announcing the summit was “in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran” stole the show, for sure. even the state department (according to politico):

        “The idea was to have a conference, a ministerial, and basically break our diplomatic isolation on Iran,” said a person familiar with the planning of the event. “It started out as an Iran conference in disguise but has probably actually been forced to take on more actual broader Middle East content now.”

        The person added: “They changed some of the focus and were forced to pony up with content on Syria and Yemen particularly.”

        iow, their plans got outed, hence, the were “forced”, that’s stealing the show.

        Netanyahu … was one of the initiators of the conference

        oh please. who doesn’t know this was his show all along. he WAS the initiator. he’s driving the US to war with iran and everyone knows it.

    • annie on February 14, 2019, 12:29 pm

      amigo, many of the european countries either didn’t show up or sent lessor staff. the mondoweiss accompanying tweet says “As world leaders gather for Trump administration summit on Middle East peace, Netanyahu says he’s building a coalition to go to war with Iran” and i’m not sure how accurate that is outside of ‘the Arab world’ (for lack of a better term). i think others snubbed the summit, as they should have.

      we send the VP, sec of state, and kushner, and europe snubbed them because they like the iran deal. what a fiasco.

      • RoHa on February 14, 2019, 9:52 pm

        “many of the european countries either didn’t show up or sent lessor staff.”

        Appropriate for those countries which are now leased out, like to a tenement or pelting farm.

  2. Kay24 on February 13, 2019, 7:54 pm

    It seems Crooked Benji is desperate to make himself look tough, to win his forthcoming elections, and as a bonus, this will also distract his naive people, from the fact that indictments for his crimes, including corruption, is around the corner. He is even willing to get into bed with some of his Arab neighbors, some he has accused of trying to flatten Israel, all to get rid of Iran, because after all after Iran was one of the nations America had on it’s list after decimating Iraq, and Libya. After all, even though Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the US, are guilty of the same crimes they accuse Iran of, the world must ignore the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and Gaza, but focus on Iran who has not attacked a neighbor for the past 200 years, and be mad that they were adhering to their side of the nuclear pact, and it was Trump, at the urging of Netanyahu, who against UN advice, tore up that working deal, for NO reason.

    Shame on those Arab nations that are going along with these war criminals. They are helping the axis of Evil decimate yet another Muslim nation, are they too blind to see what has been done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Gaza and Yemen? Do they want yet another Middle Eastern nation shocked and awed, millions dead, millions injured, and millions more refugees, that Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US, don’t seem to want anyway in their nations. When will these war criminals be stopped?

    All these nations better be warned that if they attack Iran, it will not go down easily. Iran has the right to defend itself, and Israel and SA have to take the consequences when it does. Iran is no Iraq, it will respond in ways that Bibi’s cartoon bomb can never describe. The world should be warned that the axis of Evil is once again pounding the war drums, and maybe using fake intelligence, to fool the naive.

  3. Ossinev on February 14, 2019, 7:00 am

    It is said that every picture tells a story and this one certainly does. Leaving aside the “politics” of the meeting – on the left a distinctly Middle Eastern looking individual native to the region. On the right a distinctly European looking individual most certainly not native to the region.

    • Rashers2 on February 14, 2019, 12:40 pm

      I continue to fear that the Gulf autocracies may live to regret, or be obliged rapidly to reverse, their current rapprochements with the Zionist régime, in the face of an attack within OEJ on Islam itself.
      It’s perplexing to see Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah appearing to cosy-up to Mileikowsky in Warsaw. Oman has frequently trodden a more moderate and conciliatory path in its regional diplomacy (despite the country’s historical tensions with Iran, particularly vis à vis that country) than its harder-line, Sunni neighbours. HM Sultan Qaboos’s failing health and, perhaps, domestic economic considerations may be exacting a toll on the Sultanate’s ability to maintain an independent line; or maybe it’s symptomatic of external pressures, bin Alawi’s allegedly having himself very recently been the object of espionage by certain of Oman’s GCC “friends”…..

  4. RayJosephCormier on February 14, 2019, 11:00 am

    When will Americans say enough is enough of Netanyahu determining US Middle East policy?

    Netanyahu to US Congress, September 12, 2002: ” If YOU take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I GUARANTEE YOU, that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region, The reverberations of what will happen with the collapse of Saddam’s regime, could very well cause an implosion in a neighbour regime like Iran”

    Americans and Iraqis who lost many lives and treasure with the destruction of Netanyahu’s WAR against Saddam, cannot make a claim on his GUARANTEE.
    Proved dead wrong, the dead number over a MILLION PEOPLE, the consequences still unfolding in this World.

    Iran didn’t implode. It increased influence in it’s own part of the World with the illegal US invasion of Iraq.
    God did not listen to Netanyahu but Americans do.

    Israel’s Netanyahu spoke to a Joint Session of the US Congress in 2015, getting standing ovations by delirious, non-partisan, Republicans and Democrats, calling for the US to reject the Iran Nuclear deal.
    Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal on May 8 last year.

    What are the possible consequences of the US Declaration of War Trump announced against Iran with the Economic Warfare designed to destroy the Iranian Economy supporting it’s 80 MILLION people before having to resort to bombs?

    All of this is happening with Netanyahu meddling in US internal affairs in Public, that can be seen. He was the 1st Head of State to go to Trump Tower after the election.
    Putin is blamed as a distraction with constant anti-Russia/Putin propaganda without any visible proof in this grave matter of War or Peace.

    Putin is accused by the same US Intelligence Agencies who provided Fake Intelligence when the US went to the UN Security Council asking for the Legal Authority only the UNSC can give, to invade Iraq and remove Saddam. That Legal Authority was denied.

    With the delusional belief in it’s exceptionalism, the US invaded Iraq anyway, in violation of International Law, undermining the Global Order represented by the UN since WWII, ushering in the Law of the Jungle to the region and this world.

    • Rashers2 on February 14, 2019, 1:03 pm

      @RayJosephCormier, “With the delusional belief in it’s[sic] exceptionalism, the US invaded Iraq anyway, in violation of International Law, undermining the Global Order represented by the UN since WWII, ushering in the Law of the Jungle to the region and this world.” Very well encapsulated! US “intel” on WMD was crap and several countries’ intelligence services knew it was crap. The BND made that clear at the time in Munich to senior CIA operatives there and, among others, probably also made the UNSC aware of its findings.
      The extremes to which the Ziopaths will go to push their regional agenda have implications for us all which are far wider than the oppression, maltreatment and ongoing dispossession of the Palestinians.

      • RayJosephCormier on February 15, 2019, 10:08 am

        It’s no secret Netanyahu is pushing this World to THE END of the 2001 US WAR PLAN to remake the Middle East to satisfy Israeli interests, starting with Iraq, Libya, Syria and at THE END, Iran

        It would be a grave mistake, as the evil Axis of Bolton-Pompeo-Trump constantly remind us, “all options are on the table” Trump already put “FIRE and FURY” ‘on the table.’ There is no excuse for Ignorance or saying ‘I didn’t know!’

        It’s a Jewish thing, as this record from The Tanach records one of the Greatest Jewish Prophets prophesied so long ago in the LAST Chapter of his Book in the Jewish-Christian Bible. For the 1st Time in Human History, it’s within the means of man to make it happen on a Global scale.

        For behold, the Lord shall come with FIRE, and like a tempest,
        His chariots, to render His anger with FURY, and His rebuke with flames of FIRE.
        Isaiah 66

        This is what that FIRE and FURY looks like in OUR Generations.

  5. James Canning on February 14, 2019, 11:53 am

    Netanyahu played a key role in setting up the idiotic and catastrophic US invasion of Iraq in 2003. He has pushed for additional reckless actions including using US troops to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran. How many trillions of dollars is Netanyahu eager to cost the US taxpayers, to facilitate the continuing illegal Jewish colonization of the occupied West Bank?

  6. Citizen on February 14, 2019, 1:51 pm

    War on Iran will be the biggest mistake America ever made. Netanyahu has been pushing for it for a quarter of a century.

    • Misterioso on February 14, 2019, 3:53 pm


      “War on Iran will be the biggest mistake America ever made.”

      Agreed!! The regional and worldwide ramifications of a war launched against Iran would be disastrous.

  7. Talkback on February 14, 2019, 2:51 pm

    I sincerely hope that after “Corruption is in Russia’s DNA, as it is in Mr. Putin’s.” the New York Times is not going to publish an opinion that claims that “War is in the Israeli’s DNA, as it is in Mr. Netanyahu”.

  8. ronron on February 14, 2019, 9:00 pm

    this is a non-issue. Netanyahu most probably used “war” in the sense that Zionists use the word for pretty much everything: “the war on drugs”, “the war on cancer”, “the war on road accidents”, “the war on poverty” (yeah, they’re sick!) and the war ON Iran. not in the literal meaning of war WITH Iran.


    • oldgeezer on February 14, 2019, 9:46 pm


      It’s a bit hard to swallow that a extremely seasoned politician who has been playing games the entire time he has been in office would make such a slip.

      I think it could be intentional and meant to send a signal to Iran. With some degree of deniability through it’s restraction and replacement.

      Only nutty and his close staff know the true answer.

    • Talkback on February 15, 2019, 7:26 am

      ROFL. Seriously?

      The word “war” means 1.) “a state of armed conflict” 2.) “between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias.”

      Now everybody understands that drugs, cancer, road accidents and poverty are not states, goverments, etc. and that in this cases the word “war” is only used as a metaphor.

      But Iran is a state. So no, your explanation doesn’t work this way around. It can only work, if you would argue that a “war on drugs”, etc. doesn’t actually mean “war” like it is described above. But it doesn’t work with states, goverments, etc.

      Having said that. It doesn’t necessary mean a full scale war. It can also mean an low scale or under cover war or one of Israel’s false flag operatios in which Iran’s revolutionary guards may get killed.

      • eljay on February 15, 2019, 7:54 am

        || Talkback: ROFL. Seriously? … ||

        My thought exactly.

        || ronron: this is a non-issue. Netanyahu most probably used “war” in the sense that Zionists use the word for pretty much everything: “the war on drugs”, “the war on cancer”, “the war on road accidents”, “the war on poverty” … ||

        When applied to “pretty much everything”, the word “war” usually means “eliminate”. So what you’re saying is that Netanyahu wants to go to war with Iran, he simply wants to “eliminate” Iran. Yup, that sounds about right.

      • eljay on February 15, 2019, 8:05 am

        || eljay: … So what you’re saying is that Netanyahu wants to go to war with Iran … ||

        Correction: … So what you’re saying is that Netanyahu doesn’t want to go to war with Iran …

    • echinococcus on February 15, 2019, 10:25 am

      Oooh, sure. The head of the Zionist aggressor Yahoos, mass murderer of tens of thousands in various wars of aggression, had been repeating that he wants war with Iran (to be waged by the US, natch, as beautifully observed by Talkback) day in day out all these years, including to his paid claque at the US Congress. And this single time, some defender, non-Zio of course, must fly to explain he doesn’t mean war but light and sweetness.

  9. Rashers2 on February 15, 2019, 5:17 am

    @ronron, Mileikowsky wants war with Iran not in the sense of “war on cancer” but in the sense of “war on Iraq”!

  10. Ossinev on February 15, 2019, 8:46 am

    “this is a non-issue. Netanyahu most probably used “war” in the sense that Zionists use the word for pretty much everything: ”

    The Yahoo most probably used “war” in the sense that America would go to war with Iran on Zioland`s behalf with zero loss of boots on the ground chosen Zio blood.

    Zios only do ” wars ” now at 3 a.m. in the morning in the Occupied Territories when the brainwashed IDF zombies break into defenceless Palestinian homes terrify and brutalise women,children and the elderly , remote random sniper killing of defenceless protesters at the Gaza Warsaw Ghetto fence or best of all dropping missiles onto schools , hospitals and UN compounds from the safety of F16 cockpits.

    Zioland`s war days are over. They are patently scared shitless at the thought of taking on Hezbollah again (OMG they are shooting back that`s not supposed to happen it`s patently Anti – Semitic to resist our brave moral soldiers and we are being victimised again ) All they have left is the option of their American poodle doing the real “wars” on their behalf but that will soon become a thing of the past.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 15, 2019, 12:53 pm

      Agreed. Israel’s military options are very few. And for a country which has always relied so heavily on its military, that’s a problem. Sure, they have an excellent air force, but there are serious limitations to what can be achieved by air power alone. Its infantry, by contrast, consists largely of young brats and middleaged conscripts. Neither are up to much, as we’ve seen so many times. That’s why they’re desperate for the Yanks to do all that war stuff on their behalf, but no US president is quite that stupid as to take on Iran for Israel’s benefit.

      So, bluster and bombast aside, they’re up a proverbial creek without a paddle.

      • eljay on February 15, 2019, 1:42 pm

        || Maximus Decimus Meridius: … no US president is quite that stupid as to take on Iran for Israel’s benefit. … ||
        Not yet, but the head-scratching decline from Du(m)bya to The Donald leads me to believe that it’s only a matter of time.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 15, 2019, 1:53 pm

        I actually think Trump would be less likely to go to war with Iran – or anyone else – than Clinton would have been.

      • eljay on February 15, 2019, 3:30 pm

        || Maximus Decimus Meridius: I actually think Trump would be less likely to go to war with Iran – or anyone else – than Clinton would have been. ||

        Stupid enough or belligerent enough – either way, it’s only a matter of time, IMO. I hope I’m wrong.

  11. Kay24 on February 16, 2019, 8:42 pm

    I don’t know who the bigger fools are – those (once again) making mountains out of molehills, showing cartoon bombs, pounding their chests, and breathing fire about a war with Iran, or the idiots who believe the war mongering, despite being fooled by the same war mongers before.

  12. Spring Renouncer on February 17, 2019, 4:10 pm

    The Saudi and Israeli regimes are among the worlds most cruel, repressive, destabilizing and anti-democratic. They must be stopped. Iran is in fact not a threat to either, yet their leaders have a pathological obsession with destroying Iran. This fixation appeases extremists in both countries, and crucially, distracts international attention from their own scandalous human rights records. The world must isolate them both. The US must stop funding and sheltering these psychopaths. There’s a fat chance of that, though, considering America’s imperialist amorality.

    I fear that Iran made a horrible mistake in agreeing to suspend its nuclear programme – in trusting the West. Despite bellicose American/Israeli/Saudi rhetoric about never allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, doing so would have been the most effective way to prevent further aggression. With Bolton, Pompeo and Kushner empowered and Iran disarmed, anything is possible.

    We the people must unite in mass action at the fist indication of imperial violence: we must prevent war with Iran at any cost. The West and it’s puppets want to destroy the only large, stable and pre-colonial state in the Middle East. If they strike Iran, I will march on to 1st Avenue, stand in front of the United Nations headquarters with a sign, block traffic, and not move until they arrest me.

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