The largest American Jewish organization, the Jewish Federations, is having its annual conference in Israel this year. Netanyahu addressed the group tonight and said they had a responsibility to stop the deal that global leaders are trying to reach with Iran.
"That's what I expect from every one of you, and I know it's achievable."
Netanyahu said the task was urgent in the light of the Holocaust. When we were silent in the face of genocide. And that Jews haven't come through 4 millennia " to have the likes of the ayatollahs threaten our life." A collective us, the Jews.
American Jews have a historical obligation to stand with Israel, he reminded the American Jews. "The purpose of the Jewish state is to enable Jews to defend themselves. This is something that we could not do before we had the Jewish state."
Netanyahu also said that Iran was threatening the U.S., but that was later.
Excerpts of his speech:
"That's a bad deal. It's a dangerous deal because it keeps Iran as a nuclear threshold nation and it may very well bring about a situation where the sanctions are dissolved or collapsed. It's a bad and dangerous deal that deals with the thing that affects our survival. And when it comes to the question of Jewish survival and the survival of the Jewish state, I will not be silenced, ever. Not on my watch.
"When the Jewish people were silent on matters relating to our survival, you know what happened. This is different. We are the Jewish state. We are charged with defending ourselves and we are charged with speaking up. And it is time now to speak up -- all of us. All of us have to stand up now and be counted.
I can think of nothing that is as important and as crucial. We shall continue to work with the rest of the world, and it's good that we have now a few days because this is not only in the interest of Israel; this is in the interest of the entire world. ... it is possible right now, given the precariousness and vulnerability of the Iranian economy, to press forward the demand for Iran to dismantle its nuclear bomb-making capacity. That's what I expect from every one of you, and I know it's achievable. And it's important.
"I know that there have been many times that we have stood together. You have stood together with us. In any case, you know that the idea of the Jewish state and the purpose of the Jewish state is to enable Jews to defend themselves. This is something that we could not do before we had the Jewish state. But we can do it now and we shall always, always defend ourselves and defend our state.
"I heard the learned commentaries of experts who explained to us that Israel cannot defend itself. They must know something I don't know. This is our purpose. This is our goal. This is our way of assuring our destiny. And we have not come nearly four millennia in our odyssey over time, from the time that Abraham set foot in this country to the present, to have the likes of the ayatollahs threaten our life. We will always defend ourselves and our state."
Netanyahu also said that the Palestinians are balking on key terms of a peace deal. Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, accepting an Israeli military presence in the West Bank, giving up Jerusalem. "[The conflict] was and still is about the Jewish state. They have to recognize the Jewish state," he said of Palestinians.
He seemed a little defensive, selling all that to the Americans. And this ending had an authoritarian ring to it, "the inner strength" bit, and him being king of the Jewish people:
"When I think of the challenges that the Jewish people have undergone, challenges that no nation has undergone, no people have undergone, and we've been able to overcome them over nearly 4,000 years -- challenges to our physical survival, challenges to our spiritual survival and cohesion. I know that we have that inner strength to guarantee the Jewish future. I know it and you know it; together we're going to achieve exactly that -- to defend and secure the Jewish people and the one and only Jewish state. I say that here in our eternal capital, Jerusalem, and I know, I know that you stand with me."