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The gathering storm, cont’d

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu were the featured speakers at AIPAC’s policy conference in Washington this week. The text of Obama’s speech is here. The text of Netanyahu’s speech is here; the video is below.

There is a crucial substantive difference between Obama’s and Netanyahu’s speech that Bill Kristol parses briefly here. There is another difference that should be noted. Obama’s is a campaign speech. Though it is about as tactful and diplomatic as necessary in respect of the difference with Obama, Netanyahu’s is a war speech.

The Obama administration has become a formidable protector of Iran’s nuclear program against an Israeli preemptive strike. It has sent its representatives out to make a public case against Israeli action. It isn’t a strong case, and it is also a case against American action. Israel is on its own. According to Israel’s Channel 2, sources close to Netanyahu report that the U.S. is doing what it can to “handcuff” the Israelis and to “frighten the Israeli public.”

When our bloggers’ group met with Netanyahu in his office in 2007, the entire conversation was devoted to Iran. The substance of Netanyahu’s remarks to us was identical to the substance of his remarks in his powerful speech yesterday. Netanyahu has now warned against the peril of a nuclearized mullahcracy longer than Churchill warned against Hitler’s Germany. As Netanyahu himself pauses to note in his speech, “For fifteen years, I’ve been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country and to the peace and security of the entire world.”

I believe that, unlike our say anything president, Netanyahu means what he says. Key Netanyahu quote: “As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.”

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