Netanyahu’s Objections Are Real — Not Play-Acting: What He Said about Iran Nuclear Talks as France’s President Visited

Just some words to consider.  A few people (who watch too many episodes of “Homeland” or “Scandal” perhaps) think Israel’s strong objections to the likely nuclear deal with Iran are pre-planned with the Obama Administration.

Actually, it seems that both sides are very annoyed at each other — with the Americans (such as U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro) emphasizing that relations will be fine between the two friendly nations, but this is one of those times that they have sharp disagreements over “tactics.”

For the record, here’s the key part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks — standing in Jerusalem today (Nov. 17) with France’s President Francois Hollande — after pointing out that the two leaders had just visited Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum and memorial), and Netanyahu believes that it’s his job to prevent another Holocaust of the Jewish people:

At the welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport, you said that it is better to be right and in the minority, than to be wrong with a majority. Well, I couldn’t agree with you more. The deal that is being put on the table in Geneva is not a good deal. I believe it’s a bad deal and a dangerous one.

I applaud the fact that you, personally, have taken a stance to make it tougher and firmer, but I‘m concerned, gravely concerned that this deal will go through and in one stroke of the pen it will reduce the sanctions on Iran, sanctions that took years to put in place. And in return for this Iran gives practically nothing.

Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

Like you, François, I want to see a peaceful solution, a diplomatic solution, and like Secretary Kerry, I strongly believe that no deal is better than a bad deal. And I believe that this deal is not merely a bad deal. Look how eager, just look how eager the Iranians are, how eager they are to return to Geneva and sign the deal. Now they said that they will not demand that the agreement include a specific reference to their so-called “right to enrich.” They are already backing off of that, predictably.

They know, everyone knows, that the agreement enables them to continue enrichment, so they say, we already have the right to enrich in practice. And look who’s getting that right: a regime that brutally oppresses its own people, that directly enables and helps the Assad regime to conduct a brutal massacre of innocent civilians in Syria, a regime that plans and conducts terrorist operations across five continents. It’s clear that this agreement is good only for Iran, and that it’s really bad for the rest of the world. Iran’s dream deal is the world’s nightmare.

So today. I believe the choice is not between a bad deal and war. On the contrary. Every day that passes, Iran is placed under greater economic pressure. With patience, with determination, it’s possible to get a good deal. That means keeping the pressure and ratcheting up the pressure. Getting a deal that dismantles Iran’s military nuclear capacity, that gets them to dismantle their centrifuges and dismantle their plutonium heavy water reactor.

François, I say these things, because I can’t sit by and ignore a development that could endanger the existence of my country. And as Prime Minister of Israel I have an obligation to protect my country and to protect the future of my people. It is my duty to act in every way to protect the Jewish state from this threat. I know that you share this goal. You said so clearly, words spoken from the heart. They are sincere and real. Your support, your friendship is real. It’s sincere. You’re one out of six, but you are… You said correctly that in critical times it’s important to stand up for what is right. You have done that and I appreciate that.

November 17, 2013

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