Netanyahu insists Israeli prime ministers must be able to stand up to the U.S.
By World Israel News staff
In his final Knesset speech as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that he will not leave politics, and as leader of the opposition, he will work to topple the new government and fight against the U.S. returning to the Iran nuclear deal.
He denounced incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as soft and unable to stand up to President Joe Biden on Iran.
“Bennett,” said Netanyahu, “hasn’t got the international standing, the integrity, the capability, the knowledge, and he hasn’t got the government to oppose the nuclear agreement. That is the biggest problem. An Israeli prime minister needs to be able to say no to the president of the United States.”
Raising eyebrows, Netanyahu further compared U.S. talks to return to the Iran nuclear deal with the Holocaust.
“The new U.S. administration asked me to keep our disagreements quiet. I said ‘no!’ to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“But I told them we wouldn’t do it, and I’ll tell you why,” Netanyahu said. “In 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, Roosevelt refused to bomb the trains and gas [chambers], which could have saved many of our people. Today we have a voice, we have a country and we have a defense force.”
Netanyahu also said he would oppose any plans to return the U.S. consulate to eastern Jerusalem. When President Donald Trump relocated the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, the eastern Jerusalem consulate’s services for Palestinians were folded into the embassy. He also touted the Abraham Accords as one of his several important diplomatic achievements.
There were plenty of reactions to the speech on Twitter. Israeli author David Hazony called it a “highly combative speech,” saying that Netanyahu will “likely be a very noisy leader of opposition—a role he has reveled in in the past.”
It was a highly combative speech, and ran twenty minutes longer than the allotted time. He is still in campaign mode and will likely be a very noisy leader of opposition—a role he has reveled in in the past.
— David Hazony (@davidhazony) June 13, 2021
Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies called the speech “a victory lap. The achievements he’s touting are not false. He deserves to take credit for quite a lot. My question: will he leave (for now) on this high note?”
Amazing. Bibi has not been interrupted once. Totally silence in the room. His supporters barely allowed Bennet to speak for 30 seconds at a time.
— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer) June 13, 2021