Netanyahu to U.S. Jews: The time is now to “speak up” about Iran

Netanyahu said the only viable deal that should be made with Iran consists of two main factors. The first is the end of all uranium enrichment and second would be the end of construction for Iran’s heavy water reactor. He added that this is not only his position, but has been the position of the international community as well.


By Aaron Marcus | November 12, 2013


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses JFNGA in Jerusalem.
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90

Jerusalem, Israel – In a rousing speech to attendees at the annual General Assembly meeting of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNAGA), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his audience Sunday evening that Iran was an “historical killer,” that cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. The Jewish Federations of North America represent 153 Jewish communities in North America. Netanyahu pleaded with those in attendance to speak up now about Iran because time is running out to stop their nuclear program.

Currently, the UN Security Council’s five permanent members consisting of the U.S., Russia, China, the UK and France plus Germany, more commonly referred to as the P5+1, at this writing are in negotiations with Iran over a potential nuclear deal that Netanyahu has described as a bad deal. He, told the crowd Sunday night that, “No deal, is better than a bad deal,” and that the deal waiting to be signed is a “bad deal,” not only for Israel but the entire world and particularly the Middle East.

The purpose of international sanctions against Iran was to provide an incentive to dismantle its atomic program. Netanyahu told the assembly that now that Iran is finally on the ropes, and their economy crippled, they have no alternative but to come to the negotiating table. The current deal proposed by the P5+1, however, would not diminish Iran’s capability to produce nuclear weapons. “What is being proposed now is a deal where Iran retains that capacity,” stressed Netanyahu, “Not a single centrifuge will be dismantled.”

Netanyahu said the only viable deal that should be made with Iran consists of two main factors. The first is the end of all uranium enrichment and second would be the end of construction for Iran’s heavy water reactor. He added that this is not only his position, but has been the position of the international community as well.

Netanyahu reminded the crowd that while Iran poses a serious security threat to the United States, nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical Iranian government is an existential threat for Israel. He added that while Iran is in close proximity to Israel, therefore putting the country at risk, the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles that Iran is developing are not intended for Israel. “They need those ICBMs to reach North America,” highlighting that if Iran does not lose the capability of building nuclear weapons, the ICBMs “could be equipped with nuclear warheads.”

“I will not compromise on the safety and security of the one and only Jewish State,” Netanyahu stated emphatically, making it abundantly clear that while the United States and the rest of the P5+1 may sign onto this deal, Israel will not.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro announced Sunday morning at the Assembly that the U.S.-Israel relationship is as good as ever, a talking-point expounded upon by the Obama administration at every available opportunity. He added, that even if the P5+1 signs this deal, it would not be a final negotiation with Iran; mentioning explicitly that all options, including military, would remain on the table for Iran.

The JFNAGA is meeting in Jerusalem at a crucial time in the U.S.-Israel relationship. While both the Israeli and American governments espouse the idea that the bond between both nations remains firm, the American Jewish community and the Israeli public are both beginning to see fissures that have been made obvious in recent months. The deal being negotiated with Iran comes weeks after Israelis felt abandoned by Obama’s fluctuating policy on Syria and it coincides with the administration’s fervent push at an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement without regard for Israeli security concerns.


Aaron Marcus, a graduate of Rutgers University, is an MA candidate in Government, Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya, in Israel. Mr. Marcus is also foreign correspondent for SFPPR News & Analysis.