Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the United Nations General Assembly

“The Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope. Always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Nations, October 1, 2013
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly.  October 1, 2013.  Screen grab from United Nations video.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly. October 1, 2013. Screen grab from United Nations video.

Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a powerful speech today at the United Nations.

Highlights include (full transcript here):

  • Today, our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction.
  • Like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rouhani’s [Iranian president] words. But we must focus on Iran’s actions.
  • And it’s the brazen contrast, this extraordinary contradiction between Rouhani’s words and Iran’s actions that is so startling.
  • Rouhani condemned the “violent scourge of terrorism.” Yet in the last three years alone Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 cities on five continents.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things.  And the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.
  • And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads?  You don’t build ICBM’s to carry TNT thousands of miles away.  You build them for one purpose – to carry nuclear warheads.
  • I know that some in the international community think I’m exaggerating this threat. Sure, they know that Iran’s regime leads these chants, “Death to America!”, “Death to Israel!”, then it pledges to wipe Israel off the map.  But they think this wild rhetoric is just bluster for domestic consumption.  Have these people learned nothing from history?  The last century has taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power, sooner or later, its appetite for aggression knows no bounds.  That’s the central lesson of the 20th century.  Now, we cannot forget it.  The world may have forgotten this lesson.  The Jewish people have not.
  • Can diplomacy stop this threat?  Well, the only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future.
  • So here’s what the international community must do.  First, keep up the sanctions.  If Iran advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the sanctions.  Second, don’t agree to a partial deal.  A partial deal would lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to reverse.  Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons program.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map.
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