Benjamin Netanyahu held a bloggers’ conference call today -- his second in six months, reflecting both the urgency of his message and his recognition of the importance of the new media in conveying it.
Netanyahu’s first bloggers’ call was last August, just after the cessation of hostilities in
Netanyahu described the U.N.-mandated cease fire [in
Lebanon] as merely an interlude -- a first round with “the forward unit of the Iranian army,” armed with sophisticated missiles, with more coming. . . . He is skeptical about U.N. Resolution 1701, because the prior one (1559) was a better, clearer one -- and it “turned out to be totally useless.” . . .
Iran is the single greatest threat to our civilization, a state with millennial suicidal ambitions and missiles that can reach Paris -- a state with global ambitions and thus a global threat. . . . [W]hat we are witnessing is not just a dispute between Jews and Arabs -- he wishes it were, it would be simpler -- but rather the opening salvo of Iran’s bid for empire.
I said recently in the
United States that it is 1938, Iran is Germany, and it is racing to get nuclear weapons. This is in a nutshell the predicament we are in. Iran could be the first non-deterrable nuclear power -- that is fueled and motivated by hatred and ideology, a messianic apocalyptic cult that is willing to sacrifice millions of its own people for the mad and twisted vision of a reconstituted Islamic empire under Iranian rule.
For this purpose they want to get nuclear weapons that will help them complete what they’re already doing, which is seeking to topple
Lebanon and turn it into a Shiite republic. They’ve already taken over the Palestinian regime with their Hamas proxies. They are seeking to throw out the United States from Iraq and make it part of the Shiite crescent.
But if they get nuclear weapons, then they would get control over the oil supplies and the Arabian Peninsula and topple many other regimes, [and] then be armed in such a way that they could foster terror on an unimaginable scale.
But equally what they seek to do, as they openly say, is to destroy my country. While denying one Holocaust they are preparing another. So this obviously has to be stopped. And by the way, if they start with
Israel, they’ll only start with Israel. Because just like the Hitlerian apocalyptic creed, it starts with Jew-hatred and then it spreads like wildfire to the rest of humanity. So stopping Iran is in the interest of civilization, and of peace, and of security.
So how to stop it?
At the moment the UN Security Council took some fairly mild sanctions. I don’t completely discount the importance of having one action, finally, by the U.N., but it is obviously not sharp enough. There are those who say, well you shouldn’t go to the military option, or shouldn’t go to it right away. And I say to them -- “Fine -- let’s see what can be done to blunt the advance of the Iranian nuclear program and begin to press this regime.”
Iran is not invulnerable. It is quite vulnerable. Ahmadinejad just lost an election . . . because of economic woes -- high unemployment, oil revenue that doesn’t percolate down to his people, because of corruption and other bureaucracy. So Iran and this regime is vulnerable. So what I propose is that we make it more vulnerable -- put greater pressure on it, press the regime and make it stop its nuclear program.
The most effective pressure that I can think of is to get large financial institutions in the West to divest from holdings from companies that do business with
Iran. I spoke to the Treasurer of Massachusetts about getting the Massachusetts state pension fund to divest from Iran, as was done by the Missouri Treasurer. He said he needs the Legislature to do it, but that they’ll look into it. I spoke to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who happens to be a personal friend but also the Governor of California, which has the largest state pension fund in the world, 200 billion dollars in holdings covered.
Obviously if we could get the ball rolling to get all these state pension funds to divest from
Iraq -- this in addition to what the U.S. Treasury is doing in curtailing banking activity with Iran -- it puts formidable pressure on the regime. And one of two things will happen -- either it will work and obviate the need for stiffer action, or it will pave the way for stiffer action.
It has to come under the rubric of divesting from genocide. And I know such resolutions have been fielded in the case of Darfur against the
Sudan. I suggest a coalition of liberals and conservatives across the political band in the United States, divesting against genocide -- that is, the one that is being perpetrated, the one that is being denied, and the one that is being planned.
I can think of no better purpose, no better moral purpose, no better purpose period. This is what can differentiate our period from the 1930s, by actually doing something. So let’s do it.
We’ve been warned now, twice, and given a road map to peace -- a way possibly to avoid the Hobson’s choice of a pre-emptive strike against
Richard Baehr asked Netanyahu to predict Iran’s response, assuming non-military options failed and some military response becomes required, and Netanyahu answered as follows:
"I can posit many, many responses -- those that are mentioned and some that are not, on the part of Iran. But none of them involve the risk, none of them begin to measure up to the horrible -- not risk, horrible certainty -- certain horrors I should say -- that await if Iran gets nuclear weapons. So at the end of the day, we have to prevent them from getting those weapons. Period."
Essential reports on the Netanyahu call include those by Atlas Shrugs (who also summarizes the Q&As following Netanyahu’s remarks), Gateway Pundit (an “incredible talk . . . an exceptional call”), Mere Rhetoric (with Omri’s usual stellar analysis) and The Hedgehog Blog (with an insightful comment on divestment). Other bloggers whose reports will undoubtedly follow include Boker tov, Boulder! and American Thinker. The extended list of bloggers on the call is here, where you should listen to the entire 25-minute call.
UPDATE: Richard Baehr’s perceptive summary in American Thinker is here; Power Line’s post calls attention to Atthias Kuntzel’s very important article in The Weekly Standard (“
The alarm cannot be sounded loudly enough. If
is not put under pressure without delay and forced to choose between changing course and suffering devastating economic sanctions, the only remaining alternatives will be a bad one -- the military option -- and a dreadful one -- the Iranian bomb. Iran