March 3, 2015 — New York, NY
AJC praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s clarion call for achieving the best possible deal to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress today came three weeks ahead of the March 24 deadline for a framework political agreement between the P5+1 and Iran, an accord that, if achieved, could lead to a permanent deal by the end of June.
During his 45-minute address, Netanyahu stressed the strength and closeness of the U.S.-Israel relationship, underscored the longstanding bipartisan nature of that link, and emphasized the robust support of the Obama Administration for Israel.
“The remarkable alliance between Israel and the U.S. has always been above politics, and always must remain above politics,” said Netanyahu, who expressed deep gratitude for the support of American presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
“We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel,” said Netanyahu. “Some of what the President has done will never be known, but I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.”
“No doubt, the question of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington could have been handled more artfully by all sides. But that’s water under the bridge, or at least it should be,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
“The laser-like focus now ought to be on his crystal clear message to Congress regarding Iran and the prospect of what he terms a dangerous deal over its nuclear program. American Jews are rarely unanimous about anything, but most, I believe, would agree that the issue needs to be about policy, not personality or politics,” Harris added.
The Prime Minister also stressed that details of the emerging deal, which, he warned, could leave Iran on the cusp of producing nuclear weapons, are a matter of public record. “The deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It all but guarantees that Iran will get nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu. He cautioned that, “Iran could get the bomb by keeping the deal” because the agreement could leave intact Iran’s extensive nuclear infrastructure, and would expire “in about ten years,” after which “Iran [would] be free to develop a huge nuclear capacity to build many nuclear bombs.”
“This is a very bad deal. We are better off without it. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal,” Netanyahu added.
The Prime Minister asserted that an Iran motivated by a radical Islamist ideology with regional hegemonic aspirations would pose a threat not just to Israel, but to Israel’s Arab neighbors and the larger world. Netanyahu noted, "Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem.”
Netanyahu also laid out the record of Iran’s ongoing human rights violations and support for terror over the past 36 years, since the theocratic regime seized power, including its support for Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations around the globe. “We must stand together to combat Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation, and terror,” said Netanyahu.
“We urge everyone to read the Prime Minister’s speech and consider it on its merits,” said Harris.