Former Israeli Primer Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the featured speaker at this afternoon’s UJC General Assembly plenary, and judging by the applause he received, his apocalyptic message was sufficiently scary.
Toward the beginning of his speech, Bibi articulated his assessment of the current Israeli/global political predicament with a refrain he repeated at least four times during his address: “It’s 1938, Iran is Germany and it’s racing to arm itself with nuclear weapons.” In case his warning of a future Holocaust wasn’t clear enough, Bibi concluded his speech by reading remarks written by Churchill in 1935.
Other points made by Netanyahu:
– Iran is following a genocidal path similar to that of Nazi Germany in its two step approach: (1) Slander and vilification of the victim (the Jews); (2) Habituation (i.e. getting the international community used to its aggressive postures)
– “If only you listened to me before…” — That’s not a direct quote, but Bibi cited his prediction from the early 1990s that terrorists would attack the World Trade Center. (Apparently, he wrote this in a book, though I haven’t seen the source myself.)
– This is a direct quote: “The Holocaust taught us that no one will defend the Jews if the Jews do not defend themselves.”
– Finally, Bibi was perhaps the only speaker on Israel that I’ve heard at the GA who did not totally conflate anti-Israel rhetoric with anti-Semitism. According to Netanyahu, Israel is being targeted by Iran as the first — but not the last — in a series of Western enemies. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state seemed secondary for Bibi. In his words: “It wouldn’t make a difference if it was Belgium there.” Meaning, any Western democracy in the Middle East would be targeted by Iran.