Benjamin Netanyahu on Radical Islam & a Nuclear Iran
The following are excerpts from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2012 woven together to form a singular narrative.
Throughout our history, the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It’s their ideologies that have been discarded by history. The people of Israel live on.
In Israel, the past and the future find common ground. Unfortunately, that is not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval. The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected… The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified.
Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. It’s because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect.
Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, they oppose this. They are bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world. They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict.
I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. I think the relevant question is this: it’s not whether this fanaticism will be defeated. It’s how many lives will be lost before it’s defeated.
Some 70 years ago, the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. It went down in flames. But not before it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at an horrific cost. My friends, we cannot let that happen again. At stake is not merely the future of my own country. At stake is the future of the world.
Nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda. It makes no difference whether these lethal weapons are in the hands of the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime or the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. They’re both fired by the same hatred; they’re both driven by the same lust for violence.
There are those who believe that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred like the Soviet Union. That’s a very dangerous assumption. Militant Jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers. Yet Iran produces hordes of them. Deterrence worked with the Soviets, because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose their survival.
There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement. Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth.
The clash between modernity and medievalism need not be a clash between progress and tradition.
We heed the words of the Jewish prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Jeremiah to treat all with dignity and compassion, to pursue justice and cherish life and to pray and strive for peace. Let us commit ourselves today to defend these values so that we can defend our freedom and protect our common civilization.
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