Prime minister says he will go anyplace he is invited to convey Israel’s position on Iran.
Netanyahu during a ceremony at the Grand Synagogue in Paris, France, January 11, 2015. Photo by AP
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that despite the growing criticism both in Israel and the United States, he plans to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress to lobby against a nuclear deal with Iran, just as he went to Paris last month after the attack on a kosher supermarket.
“I went to Paris not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representative of the entire Jewish people,” Netanyahu said, during a conference for French-speaking Likud activists. “Just as I went to Paris, so I will go anyplace I’m invited to convey the Israeli position against those who want to kill us. Those who want to kill us are, first and foremost, any Iranian regime that says outright it plans to destroy us. I will not hesitate to say what’s needed to warn against this danger, and prevent it.”
In fact, before the January 11 solidarity march for the victims of the terror attacks in Paris, the Élysée Palace had asked Netanyahu not to attend the march. The French made it clear they weren’t interested in diverting public attention to controversial issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that they hoped the prime minister would understand. The French feared Netanyahu would exploit the event for election campaign purposes. Indeed, Netanyahu decided to go only after hearing that both Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett were going to attend.
Speaking to members of the France’s Jewish community, Netanyahu dwelled on the Iranian issue and argued that only he, and not his rivals, Zionist Camp leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, could “stand up to Iran and the international community.” He added, “I am standing up to the international pressures, and they are not small, and there are those who are surrendering to those pressures even before being elected.”
Netanyahu added that from the information he had available, the agreement evolving between Iran and the world powers was a bad one.
“I think that the proposal on the table is dangerous because under the agreement Iran could, within a short time, either break through to nuclear [weapons] or achieve nuclear capability by agreement within years, [and] to have industrial capabilities to produce many nuclear bombs,” he said. “This is life-threatening to the State of Israel and I think that it’s the obligation of every leader, or anyone who cares about Israel’s and the world’s security, to stand up in a clear and unambiguous fashion and oppose this agreement. This is what I’m doing.”