Netanyahu to Congress: Iran set 'to destroy the Jewish people'
The Israeli prime minister addressed a full house in Congress on Tuesday. (Screenshot: PBS NewsHour)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on members of Congress to stop Iran's "march of conquest, subjugation and terror" Tuesday, stating that the greatest threat to peace is nuclear power in the hands of "militant Islamists."
The prime minister addressed Congress in the US capital Tuesday morning in a contentious speech that was organized without US President Barack Obama's approval.
Netanyahu addressed his concerns about the developing US-Iran agreement, saying Iran is set "to destroy the Jewish people" and unravel the Israeli nation. Scheduled two weeks before the Israeli election, the timing and publicity placed immense political pressure on what The Jerusalem Post called "the speech of his life."
"It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, it paves Iran's path to the bomb," Netanyahu said about the US deal with Iran. He lobbied against US "concessions" that would allow Iran to further increase its nuclear activity.
Obama has said he plans to veto any bill that would create additional sanctions on Iran. But the president also said he wants a longterm halt on Iran's nuclear activities, and that Iran should stop any nuclear plans for at least a decade if the countries were to strike a deal.
In an earlier speech to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Netanyahu said the alliance between the US and Israel is "stronger than ever."
"I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for the third time in the most important legislative body of the world," Netanyahu said. "I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy."
He said accusations that his presence in Congress was a political move before Israeli elections was false, adding that the alliance between the US and Israel "must always remain above politics."
The prime minister thanked Congress members for their "undying support of Israel." He said Obama had always been a strong ally to him in desperate times, citing the US support for what he referred to as "anti-Israel resolutions at the UN."
Netanyahu referred to Iran as militant Islamists that "will always be an enemy of America," he said, comparing Iran with Daesh (ISIS). "Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire, first on the region and then the entire world. ... In this deadly game of thrones, there is no place for America or Israel.
"Even if Israel will have to stand alone, Israel will stand," Netanyahu said near the end of his speech, but added he knows Israel wouldn't have to.
By Hayat Norimine