Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Netanyahu, speaking at UN about Iran

In response to my note “The Bombing of Iran – hypothetical considerations” ( ) a reader asked if I had read Netanyahu’s speech at the UN General Assembly. It is a sad thing to read. On the one hand Netanyahu is fearless and vehement in what he says. On the other hand, why should he have to say things like this in 2009? The bulk of the U.N. seems to be where Hitler and the Nazis were in the 40s.

The Netanyahu speech can be found at In it Netanyahu says, “. . . if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after an horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind. That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction.

The most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?

Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism?

Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging. . . .”


Reading this speech, and especially the portion I quote above, and applying it to the matter of whether Israel truly expects diplomatic efforts to turn Iran from their nuclear ambitions, I would have to conclude that Netanyahu does indeed intend to wait and see, but it is apparent that he is not optimistic. For Netanyahu and Israel “the Jury is still out on the United Nations.”

In another portion of the speech, Netanyahu apparently to show the deficiencies of the UN how in Palestine “. . . after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country's civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II. During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians ? Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.”

He goes on to describe how Israel used the utmost care in conducting surgical strikes and yet though the UN gave the 8 years of Palestinian bombing a free pass, they did not do that to Israel’s response. The logic of Netanyahu’s speech doesn’t permit us to apply this lesson of Gaza to what Netanyahu might intend to do to Iran, and yet this has been a topic on the minds of many. What will Israel do if Iran intends to do something like the Nazis did against London? Is it a mere coincidence that he describes what Israel did in response to being bombed from Palestine? Or should we view it as fair warning to Iran?

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