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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.(Photo: Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images)

Netanyahu Threatens War In Speech to Congress

Phyllis Bennis

This was a speech threatening war.

Realizing he has insufficient clout to stop the negotiations, Netanyahu demanded a back-up position: If not "no" deal, then we can have a better deal.

His vision of a "better" deal, however, is grounded in Iranian surrender. And since that is not going to happen, demanding it means abandoning diplomacy in favor of—yes, war.

Netanyahu threatened just such a war against Iran, in his statement "even if Israel stands alone, the Jewish people will not remain passive."

The threat to nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East was issued long ago—not by Iran, but by Israel’s own internationally known but carefully denied nuclear arsenal. It is Israel, not Iran, whose hundreds of nuclear weapons threaten a potential nuclear arms race in the region, threaten its neighbors, and threaten the world.

Any other nuclear weapon in the region, whether from Iran or any other country in some distant future, would not threaten Israel’s existence, it would threaten only Israel’s nuclear weapons monopoly.

And by ignoring any reference to Israel’s decades of occupation of Palestinian land and dispossession of Palestinian people, by keeping the U.S. focus on false claims of Israel being endangered, Netanyahu kept the focus of Congress and the U.S. media squarely where he wanted it—on Iran, away from Palestine, settlements, assaults on Gaza, violations of international law.


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Phyllis Bennis

Phyllis Bennis

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and serves on the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace. Her most recent book is the 7th updated edition of "Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer" (2018). Her other books include: "Understanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer" (2008) and "Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy US Power" (2005).

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