Speaking at an annual meeting of the pro-Israel lobby ‘AIPAC’, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran’s influence in the Middle East is on the rise. The audience there was captive.
But back home, Netanyahu is embroiled in a corruption scandal that is threatening his job. CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
The Israeli Prime Minister received a hero’s welcome as he addressed the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC on Tuesday.
He’s a frequent speaker at the annual event in Washington, often focusing on the same issue: Iran. “We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran,” he said.
Netanyahu walked the stage confidently – without his oft-used props. He touted Israel’s economic strength and what he called its military might.
He said his warnings about the Iran nuclear deal – that Tehran’s leaders can’t be trusted – were right, and he thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for saying he might scrap the agreement.
“We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in 10 years, not ever,” Netanyahu said.
“President Trump has made it clear that his administration will not accept Iran’s aggression in the region. He has made clear that he, too, will never accept a nuclear armed Iran. That is the right policy. I salute President Trump on this.”
Netanyahu also touted the U.S.-Israel alliance, saying that it’s stronger now than ever. And he said he was reassured by his White House meeting a day earlier, when he and Trump reportedly discussed “Iran, Iran, Iran.”
Missing from that meeting – and from his AIPAC speech – was any significant talk about the Palestinians.
Netanyahu also avoided talking about the corruption scandal he’s facing back home. New developments in at least one case threatened to overshadow his U.S. trip.
It’s been years since the environment in Washington has been this pro-Israel, particularly with the current administration. Netanyahu was assured, he was relaxed; less of a salesman and more “cool professor.”
The scripted performance earned him repeated standing ovations. But given the problems Netanyahu faces back home, there’s a growing chance this curtain call could be among his last.