Netanyahu evokes Holocaust in Aipac speech


ISRAELI PRIME minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered an uncompromising message about his country’s attitude towards Iran’s nuclear programme when he spoke to the US’s main pro-Israel lobby in Washington late on Monday.

Mr Netanyahu evoked the horrors of the Holocaust, quoting a 1944 letter in which the US rejected a request by Jewish leaders to bomb the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland. His message was clear: Israel cannot rely on others to defend its people.

“As prime minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation,” he told the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee after his meeting in Washington with US president Barack Obama.

“We have waited for diplomacy to work, we have waited for sanctions to work. We cannot afford to wait much longer . . . None of us can afford to wait much longer.”

At the podium, Mr Netanyahu held up a copy of the 1944 letter from the US war department to world Jewish leaders declining their request to bomb Auschwitz.

Drawing a parallel with arguments against attacking Iran, he said the war department explained that such an operation at Auschwitz could provoke “even more vindictive action by the Germans”.

“Think about that: ‘even more vindictive action’ than the Holocaust,” he said.

Mr Netanyahu, who has made clear that Israel is operating on a shorter timeline than the US, warmly welcomed expressions of American resolve against Iran but also declared that Israel was entitled to “defend itself, by itself”.

“Every day, I open a newspaper and read about deadlines and red lines, about what Israel might do and will do – but I won’t talk about that. I will never talk about that. As the prime minister of Israel, I will not gamble with its security,” he continued.

“I want to explain about the dangers of Iran, and why Iran should never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.”

He said Israel had “patiently waited for the international community to resolve this issue”, but “none of us can afford to wait much longer”.

“Iran says that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but I say [that] if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. But this is a nuclear duck, and it is impossible to believe that the world’s most dangerous regime won’t use the world’s most dangerous weapon.

“A nuclear-armed Iran will embolden its proxies, like Hizbullah, to attack Israel and US targets. And they will. They’ll be doing so backed by a nuclear regime. A nuclear-armed Iran could choke the world’s oil supplies. It could blackmail the world on oil.”

He added that a nuclear-armed Iran was likely to spark an arms race in the Middle East, “and the worst nightmare – a nuclear-armed Iran could threaten all of us with nuclear terrorism”.

Mr Netanyahu said the Jewish state would “not allow those who seek our annihilation” to develop such weapons. “A nuclear Iran must be stopped,” he said. “When it comes to Israel’s survival, we must always remain masters of our fate.” – (Reuters/AP)