Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke this morning at the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington. I have posted the video below (20 minutes). This speech is a warm-up to the main event tomorrow morning before a joint session of Congress. In this speech Netanyahu tactfully takes the highest ground possible consistent with his mission.
“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds,” Mr. Netanyahu told his audience of 16,000 people gathered to hear him this morning. “I have great respect for both.” The New York Times has more here, including the Obama administration’s continuing disparagement of Netanyahu before the conference, courtesy of Samantha Power.
So what is the purpose of his speech tomorrow? Netanyahu explains:
The purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world….Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons. And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.
And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them. For 2000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves.
Well, no more, no more.
The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.
The Prime Minister’s Office has posted the text of the speech here. The video of the speech is below. This concise and pointed and eloquent speech warrants attention in its entirety.
America and Israel have had some serious disagreements over the course of our nearly 70-year-old friendship. That started with the beginning.
In 1948, Secretary of State George Marshall opposed David Ben-Gurion’s intention to declare statehood. That’s an understatement — he vehemently opposed it. But Ben-Gurion, understanding what was at stake, went ahead and declared Israel’s independence. In 1967, as an Arab noose was tightening around Israel’s neck, the United States warned Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that if Israel acted alone, it would be alone. But Israel did act –acted alone — to defend itself. In 1981, under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor at Osirak. The United States criticized Israel and suspended arms-transfers for three months. And in 2002, after the worst wave of Palestinian terror attacks in Israel’s history, Prime Minister Sharon launched Operation Defensive Shield. The United States demanded that Israel withdraw its troops immediately but Sharon continued until the operation was completed.
There’s a reason I mention all of these. I mention them to make a point. Despite occasional disagreements, the friendship between America and Israel grew stronger and stronger, decade after decade. And our friendship will weather the current disagreement as well to grow even stronger in the future.
Quotable quote via Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard.
UPDATE: I originally posted last year’s speech to AIPAC instead of this year’s. I should have figured out I had the wrong video from the internal evidence alone, of which there was plenty. Yes, I should have gotten a clue when Netanyahu said that he had met with Obama, Biden and Kerry yesterday. I was confused by that, but not deterred.
I have now inserted the video of today’s speech along with a link to the text of the speech posted by the Prime Minister’s Office. Last year’s speech was good too, but my profuse and embarrassed apologies for the error.