Before taking off to the US Sunday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Iran’s leadership, saying, “Today, the world is seeing – and I will certainly emphasize this – that Iran is violating all of its commitments, that it brazenly lies, and that it intends both to develop nuclear weapons and continue its aggression in the region. We will confront both of these together. I heard the threats from an official of the Iranian regime today; I suggest that he not threaten us. He and this regime need to know that we will respond forcefully to any attack on our people and our citizens.”
Netanyahu addressed the expected protests against him in the US and noted: “Nothing surprises me. Whoever organizes this protest is equipped with a lot of money. These are sponsored and organized demonstrations that cross every boundary. They have led to the fact that blocking roads is a normal thing now, that violent harassment of public figures is also an apparently normal thing, and that refusal to serve is a normal thing. Therefore, when they go and slander Israel before the nations, it also seems normal to them. It’s not normal to me. When I was the head of the opposition I never did it.”
Religious Zionism Chairman Bezalel Smotrich tweeted: “There used to be a stateliness here. It was clear that there are arguments and protests at home, but when a prime minister goes on a mission to represent Israel abroad, we all support him. The protesters abroad are indeed BDS activists who harm Israel, and the support they receive from Gantz and Lapid proves that they too have crossed all the red lines and become an opposition to the country. Shame on you.”
Some recalled that back in December 2021, the Bennett-Lapid coalition demanded a debate on Netanyahu’s English language videos which they suggested were sinister, and accused Netanyahu of “behaving like the worst of our enemies.”
On Saturday, Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran had informed him of its decision to “withdraw the designation of several experienced Agency inspectors assigned to conduct verification activities in Iran under the NPT Safeguards Agreement.” Grossi noted that this “follows a previous recent withdrawal of the designation of another experienced Agency inspector for Iran.”
“These inspectors are among the most experienced Agency experts with unique knowledge in enrichment technology. They have conducted essential verification work at the enrichment facilities in Iran which are under Agency safeguards,” Grossi said, and added that “With today’s decision, Iran has effectively removed about one-third of the core group of the Agency’s most experienced inspectors designated for Iran.”
According to the Iranian news agency Tasnim, “Iran’s move seems to have been made in response to a recent hostile and unconstructive move by the IAEA’s Board of Governors against Tehran, which was sponsored by the E3 (the UK, France and Germany) and the United States.”
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi left Tehran for New York on Monday to participate in the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting, where he will, no doubt, explain why his country is sabotaging the work of IAEA inspectors.
Netanyahu told reporters Sunday night, “I am now leaving for the UN General Assembly where I will represent Israel before the nations of the world. I will also meet with many world leaders, especially President Biden, with whom I will discuss – first and foremost, but among other topics – Iran and expanding the circle of peace. I will also meet with the German Chancellor, the President of Ukraine, the President of Turkey, and many additional leaders from Asia, Europe, and Africa.”
As expected, President Joe Biden will not extend an invitation to Netanyahu to visit him in the White House. Instead, the two leaders will meet “on the sidelines” of the UN General Assembly, or, as an unkind Israeli pundit put it, in the UN parking garage.
Netanyahu will start his US visit in California, “where I intend to meet the current leader of the most dramatic development in the new age and perhaps in general, Elon Musk. I will discuss artificial intelligence with him and I will also work toward encouraging him to invest in Israel in the coming years. He is, to a large degree, paving the way that will change the face of humanity and also the face of the State of Israel. Israel needs to be a leader in artificial intelligence. Just as we turned it into a leader in cyber, so we will do in this field as well.”
Naturally, Ynet borrowed a page from the ADL playbook and accused Musk of antisemitism. To remind you, the ADL was criticized by Musk for going after conservative Jewish posts.