Before his address to the U.S. Congress Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to 16,000 pro-Israel activists. He tried to keep the focus off his disagreements with U.S. President Barack Obama and on Iran.
CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg has the story from Washington.
Netanyahu in Washington says Iran must be containedBefore his address to the U.S. Congress Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to 16,000 pro-Israel activists. He tried to keep the focus off his disagreements with U.S. President Barack Obama and on Iran. CCTV America's Roee Ruttenberg has the story from Washington.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told thousands of pro-Israel activists gathered in Washington that Iran must be contained. Netanyahu’s comments come as American negotiators are meeting in Geneva with their counterparts from Tehran. Netanyahu has said a deal with Iran may be detrimental to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made stopping Iran a pivotal part of his agenda. So this year’s address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC has re-enforced previous ones, But now Netanyahu says the timing is urgent. It was a familiar stage and crowd for the Israeli leader. A familiar message even.
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there is still time to avert them,” Netanyahu said. “The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over.”
Netanyahu, of course, is referring to Iran, Israel’s adversary.
He believes the Iranians are trying to acquire nuclear weapons. They deny it. But Netanyahu fears negotiations between Washington and Tehran – now underway in Switzerland – might go easy on Iran.
Many of the 15,000 delegates at AIPAC tend to agree.
“When we started negotiations with Iran, the us policy was total dismemberment of their nuclear enrichment capabilities. Dismantling of their capabilities,” Rich Sokol, AIPAC delegate from Colorado said. “Now it’s monitoring. So we’ve moved from dismantling to how many centrifuges is Iran going to be allowed to have and how are we going to monitor.”
The American President, Barack Obama, thinks Netanyahu is ill-informed about any possible deal unaware of key details, officials say.
“We actually share a goal which is making sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon,” President Obama said. “The deal that we are trying to negotiate is to make sure that there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one. And as long as we’ve got that one year breakout capacity, that ensures us that we can take military action against them if they were to stop it.”
A new poll released Monday shows American support for Netanyahu, from Jews and non-Jews, are at an all-time high. A number of Jewish groups campaigned against his visit saying: he doesn’t speak for them.
Netanyahu, of course, did come. On Tuesday, he’ll try to convince Congress that the Iran deal must be stopped. It’s unclear how they would be able to do that. President Obama has already said he would veto any new sanctions legislation. It’s likely he’d be equally tough on efforts to stop a historic agreement with Tehran.
Matthew Duss discusses the possible changes in Israel support
CCTV America’s Mike Walter interviewed Matthew Duss, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He discussed the possible changes to Israel’s ally support.