Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledges the 25th standing ovation he received during his speech to a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday.
In a 40-minute speech punctuated by 25 standing ovations and 41 applause breaks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned a joint session
of Congress Tuesday that if the "bad deal" he claimed is being negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program is approved, the United States will leave itself vulnerable to a nuclear attack from Tehran a decade or so in the future. Of the deal, he said:
It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb."
Netanyahu said the choice is not between this "bad deal" and war, but between this and a better deal. Except, however, for a complete change in Iran's behavior as Netanyahu described it and a capitulation on all nuclear matters being negotiated, he gave no specifics of what a better deal would entail.
That’s the Netanyahu Plan. Designed to be impossible. RT @mattduss: The alternative to this deal is Iran capitulating on everything.
While the majority of senators and representatives repeatedly jumped to their feet during the speech, diplomats in the gallery did not applaud. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi openly displayed frustration and anger more than once, covering her eyes and throwing up her hands. Many other Democrats figuratively sat on their hands.
I hated this speech even more when George W Bush gave it 13 years ago
Repeatedly making note of the longstanding close alliance between the United States and Israel, Netanyahu said the agreement the United States and five other nations are trying to hammer out over a nuclear program that Iran says is dedicated solely to peaceful purposes could threaten the very existence of the Jewish state. Early on, he made a reference to a preemptive strike by the ancient Hebrews against an alleged plot to kill all Jews by the ancient Persians that is recounted in the biblical Book of Esther. That event, which many scholars believe never happened, is commemorated on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is celebrated this year on Wednesday.
More on the speech below the fold.
Since 1981, Israel has operated under the so-called Begin Doctrine. This states that Israel will take preventive military action to stop any nation it considers a threat from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Dianne Feinstein tells CNN that what concerns her is what @netanyahu didn't say: Would Israel strike Iran?
Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don't know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, "If there's no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn't have one." Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that's why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal. [...]
This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.
Netanyahu made no mention of what everybody knows to be the case. It has 100 or more nuclear warheads itself, built secretly in a facility hidden from outsiders, including U.S. inspectors.
When the Iran deal expires in 10 years, Netanyahu said, Iran could have a massive number of centrifuges to enrich uranium:
The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.
And by the way, if Iran's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.
Given the pep-rally nature of Netanyahu’s speech, the shadow of Neville Chamberlain that he sought to invoke along with his scaremongering about a nuclear attack not just against Israel but the United States itself, it's not hard to figure what kind of talk we'll be hearing from Republicans and plenty of Democrats, like Sen. Bob Menendez, over the next few weeks. The prime minister most probably has accomplished his apparent goals: making a deal with Iran more difficult and boosting his standing with at least some of the electorate at home who got to see how much he is adored by so many members of the U.S. Congress.