On Thursday, a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the Oslo Peace Accords in a speech to the UN general assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the pulpit in New York, choosing first to communicate his complete dissatisfaction with the Iran Nuclear Deal before addressing Abbas and name-dropping Yogi Berra, the New York Yankee legend who died earlier this week.
“Iran’s rulers promised to destroy my country, murder my people,” said Netanyahu. “And the response from this body, the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here, has been absolutely nothing. Utter silence. Deafening silence.”
Bibi then scanned the room, from left to right, and did not say a word. His behavior should not have come as a surprise since Netanyahu did give fair warning, in a sense, at the beginning of his speech, when he told the audience to “check [their] enthusiasm at the door.”
From there, Netanyahu spoke of his complete abhorrence for the Iran deal, which he believes threatens Israeli’s way of life. Perhaps the best way to exemplify his argumentation is by the questions he posed to the UN, andto those who would come to listen, which touch upon some familiar talking points:
In the wake of the nuclear deal, Iran is spending billions of dollars on weapons and satellites.
You think Iran is doing that to advance peace?
You think hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and fat contracts will turn this
rapacious tiger into a kitten?
If you do, you should think again…
…But this deal, this deal will treat Iran like a normal country even if it remains a dark theocracy that conquers its neighbors, sponsors terrorism worldwide and chants “Death to Israel”, “Death to America.”
Does anyone seriously believe that flooding a radical theocracy with weapons and cash will curb its appetite for aggression?
Do any of you really believe that a theocratic Iran with sharper claws and sharper fangs will be more likely to change its stripes?
Later, Netanyahu held up a “400-page screed” written by Major General Salehi, the commander of the Iranian Army, “detailing his plan to destroy the State of Israel.” He continued:
Last month, Khamenei once again made his genocidal intentions clear before Iran’s top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts.
He spoke about Israel, home to over six million Jews. He pledged, “there will be no Israel in 25 years.”
Seventy years after the murder of six million Jews, Iran’s rulers promise to destroy my country.
From there, Netanyahu spoke about perseverance of the Jewish people and Israel, the “innovation nation,” before pledging to Abbas the opportunity to negotiate “without any preconditions whatsoever.”
For Bibi, and perhaps for his audience, too, it’s déjà vu all over again.
(You can read the full transcipt of Netanyahu’s speech here.)