PM Netanyahu's Remarks to the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference
Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks, today (Sunday, 7 June 2015), to the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York City:
"From Jerusalem, the capital of the modern State of Israel for the past 67 years, the united capital of Israel for the last 48 years, and the capital of the Jewish people for some 3,000 years, I extend warm greetings to the participants in the Annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.
Israel has no better friend in the world than the United States. And the United States has no better friend than Israel. I want to thank President Obama, the Congress and the American people for all they have done for Israel's security.
But even the closest of friends can respectfully disagree about issues of international security. And of these, none is more important to Israel, to the stability of the Middle East and to the peace of the world, than the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.
Preventing Iran from being able to build nuclear weapons is the preeminent challenge of our generation. We must understand that Iran doesn't just threaten the destruction of Israel; it is conquering huge swaths of the Middle East as it seeks to export its Islamic revolution across the globe.
Today, Iran's campaign of aggression engulfs the entire Middle East: Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, Libya, elsewhere. Today, Iran is sponsoring worldwide terrorism in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, in North and South America. Today, Iran is conducting an unprecedented conventional arms build-up: drones, rockets, satellites, submarines, precision guided missiles and other lethal weapons. And in recent months Iran has supplied increasingly sophisticated weapons to its terrorist proxies: to Hezbollah, to Hamas, to Islamic Jihad, the Houthis in Yemen and others. Today, Iran conducts cyber-attacks against Israel, its Arab neighbors and the West.
Iran is doing all this today without nuclear weapons. Think of what Iran would do tomorrow with nuclear weapons.
Now, unfortunately the Lausanne framework paves Iran's way to produce the enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons. That's the inevitable outcome if Iran keeps the deal. If they decide to break the deal, they can get to the bomb much sooner. The deal also gives Iran tens of billions of dollars immediately, and hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years.
That's big money - big money to support Iran's global terrorism, big money to fund Iran's aggression in the region, big money for Iran's massive conventional arms build-up. It would be a historic mistake to rush now to conclude this bad deal.
What are needed are patience and resolve, to hold out for a better deal, one that will actually block Iran's path to the bomb, one that will tie the lifting of restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to changes in Iranian behavior.
A better deal is still possible. It's not too late.
Over the last two weeks, there was an attempt to throw Israel out of FIFA, a national student union in Britain voted to support boycotting Israel and the CEO of a French telecommunications company declared his intention to end the company's business dealings with Israel. His subsequent words of admiration for Israel clearly don't square with the unequivocally hostile remarks he made in Cairo.
We are in the midst of an orchestrated global campaign to delegitimize Israel. And here's what's so absurd about it: The Palestinians walk away from peace negotiations. They walked away from Barak. They walked away from Sharon. They walked away from Olmert. And they now walk away from me.
They consistently shun direct peace talks and then call for sanctions on Israel, because there are no peace talks. Unfortunately, all too many in the international community go along with this charade. Delegitimization must be fought. It's not about this or that Israeli policy. It's about our right to exist here as a free people, our right to defend ourselves, our right to determine our own future.
Israel is the most embattled democracy on earth. And what a democracy it is - robust and rollicking, with an often rancorous parliament - I can give you personal testimony; a thoroughly independent judiciary - it will stay that way; a free press - it will stay that way; a democracy that rigorously protects the equal rights of all its citizens without exception.
This democracy, Israel, seeks a genuine peace with our Palestinian neighbors just as we are fending off the barbaric forces of terrorism and extremism that surround us.
In the battle against delegitimization our most potent weapon is the truth.
We must speak the truth - loudly, clearly, proudly. That's what we must all do.