A transcript of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the AIPAC Policy Conference Monday.
Thank you. Todah rabah.
Thank you very much.
Sara and I want to thank you for that wonderful reception. This applause that could be heard as far away as Jerusalem . Jerusalem – the eternal and united capital of Israel.
Thank you Howard, Rosy, Michael, and thank you all the leadership of AIPAC. Thank you for everything that you do.
I know that more than a half of the members of Congress are in attendance here tonight. I deeply appreciate your being here.
Michael, you said that when I spoke last May, in Congress, you – the members of congress – stood up to applaud the State of Israel.
Now I ask for another applause. Now I ask the 13,000 friends of Israel who are here tonight to stand up and applaud you – the representatives of the United States for standing up for Israel. Democrats and Republicans alike, I salute your unwavering support to the Jewish state
I want to send a special message to a great friend of Israel who is not here tonight: Senator Mark Kirk, the co-author of the Kirk-Menendez Iran Sanctions Act.
Senator Kirk, I know you’re watching this tonight. Please get well soon. America needs you; Israel needs you.
I send you wishes for a speedy recovery. So get well and get back to work.
I also want to recognize Yossi Peled, who is here tonight. Yossi, would you please stand up.
Yossi was born in Belgium. His parents hid him with a Christian family during the Holocaust, World War II. His father and many other members of his family were murdered at Auschwitz.
His mother survived the Holocaust, returned to reclaim Yossi, and brought him to Israel. He became one of Israel’s bravest and greatest generals. And today, he serves as a minister in my cabinet.
Yossi’s life is the story of the Jewish people – the story of a powerless and stateless people who became a strong and proud nation, able to defend itself.
And ladies and gentlemen, Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself.
I want to recognize Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. Michael, you’re doing an outstanding job. Thank you for all you do for our country. And thank you for everything you are doing for the friendship between Israel and the United States.
I also want to recognize Ambassador Dan Shapiro, the United States’ Ambassador to Israel. President Obama is right, your Hebrew is improving, though it is not on par with Michael Oren’s. Dan, we appreciate your efforts to strengthen the alliance between America and Israel.
Are there any students here tonight?
Is there anyone here from Florida?
from New York?
from Wisconsin? — that’s important. I’ll tell you about it later
You’re the future, and thank you all for ensuring the future of the great alliance between America and Israel.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tonight, I’d like to talk to you about a subject that no one has been talking about recently…: Iran.
Every day, I open the newspapers and read about these redlines and these timelines. I read about what Israel has supposedly decided to do, or what Israel might do.
Well, I’m not going to talk to you about what Israel will do or will not do, I never talk about that. But I do want to talk to you about the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran. I want to explain why Iran must never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
President Obama has reiterated his commitment to prevent that from happening. He stated clearly that all options are on the table, and that American policy is not containment.
Well, Israel has exactly the same policy — We are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; we leave all options on the table; and containment is definitely not an option.
The Jewish state will not allow those who seek our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal.
A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped.
Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons. You see, Iran claims to do everything it’s doing, that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical isotopes.
Yeah, that’s right.
A country that builds underground nuclear facilities, develops intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactures thousands of centrifuges, and that absorbs crippling sanctions, is doing all that in order to advance…medical research.
So you see, when that Iranian ICBM is flying through the air to a location near you, you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s only carrying medical isotopes.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it?
That’s right, it’s a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck. And it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck.