Following the Monday afternoon meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, the Israeli leader arrived at the Washington D.C. convention center to address the 13,000 people awaiting his remarks on one issue: Iran.
After thanking the United States and it’s government for their support of Israel, the Prime Minister said, “Tonight I would like to talk to you about a subject that no one’s been talking about recently, Iran.”
That was where the joking stopped.
“The Jewish state will not allow those who seek our destruction, the means to achieve that goal. A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped,” Netanyahu said.
“I promise you that as Prime Minister, I will never gamble with the security of the state of Israel.”
Reiterating President Obama’s remarks to the conference on Sunday in which he stated that the United States’ policy towards Iran is not one of containment, Netanyahu stated that “Israel has exactly the same policy.”
The issue of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons dominated the AIPAC conference from start to finish. Israeli President Shimon Peres, Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressional leader Nancy Pelosi all reaffirmed their positions that Iran must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear bomb.
The international community’s attempts to stop that pursuit has been a mixture of diplomacy and financial sanctions, while Iran continues to claim that it’s pursuit of nuclear technology is for medical research.
Netanyahu told the crowd that while these efforts are admirable and necessary, up until now, they have not been effective in curtailing the Iranian nuclear program.
Sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy, but the nuclear program has “continued to march forward,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
“We’ve waited for diplomacy to work, we’ve waited for sanctions to work, none of us can afford to wait much longer.”
How much longer Israel will wait is the question everyone wants to know. The answer to that question however is not something that will come publicly from Netanyahu’s administration.
“I’m not going to talk to you about what Israel will do or will not do, I never talk about that,” he said.
He was clear about one thing though, as long as he is leading the state of Israel, Iran and it’s proxies – including Hezbollah and Hamas – pursuit of the Jewish state’s destruction will be fought.
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation,” Netanyahu said.