Coming just two weeks before Israeli elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, D.C. today. Netanyahu stressed that the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the United States would “all but guarantee” that Tehran will get nuclear weapons.
He warned against what he called a “bad deal” being negotiated with Iran to freeze its nuclear program.
In a challenge to U.S. President Barack Obama, Mr. Netanyahu told a joint meeting of Congress that Iran’s “tentacles of terror” were already clutching Israel and that failing to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons “could well threaten the survival of my country.” The deal Mr. Obama seeks will not prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, he said, but “will all but guarantee” it.
“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror,” Mr. Netanyahu told the lawmakers, who responded with repeated standing ovations.
More than 50 Democrat lawmakers skipped the event but Netanyahu was still greeted warmly and with enthusiasm by a bipartisan delegation.
The Israeli leader didn’t shy away from tackling the ongoing discontent between himself and Obama – a drama which has consumed Israeli-American relations for weeks:
“I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political,” he said. “That was never my intention. I want to thank you Democrats and Republicans for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.”
Nancy Pelosi appeared agitated on the floor during the speech and later issued a statement saying she “was near tears” because she was “saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States” and “the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran.”
Gallup, however, found that 45 percent of Americans have a positive view of Netanyahu, a 10-point jump since a similar poll in 2012, compared with 24 percent who viewed him unfavorably. But the views broke down sharply along party lines, with Republicans favoring Mr. Netanyahu three to one and Democrats evenly split.
Watch his entire speech to the joint session below: