Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Iran | Israel | MidPoint | benjamin netanyahu | barack obama

Rabbi Boteach: Let Netanyahu Talk to America About Iran

By    |   Monday, 26 Jan 2015 06:21 PM

The political uproar over an upcoming speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an "astonishing" display of misplaced hostility toward Israel's leader, who should be allowed to state his case against Iran without being smeared, says a Los Angeles rabbi, author and Jewish rights activist.

"The issue for an Israeli prime minster is, if he has the opportunity to address Congress about the threat of a nuclear Iran, he must do so," Shmuley Boteach, popularly known as "America's Rabbi," told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Monday.

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Long-simmering tensions between Netanyahu and the Obama White House have erupted into full view over the planned Iran speech, which Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver in March as a guest of Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

An unnamed Obama administration official charged that Netanyahu "spat in our face" by accepting the Boehner invitation — breaching diplomatic and foreign-policy protocol while the Obama State Department is negotiating to persuade Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Boteach argued that Netanyahu is simply doing "everything in his power to ensure the safety of his country."

At issue is whether Iran can be trusted to abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Netanyahu, who has said that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten Israel's very existence, is expected to speak in favor of a bill to toughen existing sanctions.

President Barack Obama has promised to veto the bill, which the administration says could torpedo negotiations and prompt Iran to resume its nuclear program in secret.

Netanyahu has also discussed launching a pre-emptive military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, raising fears of a wider war in a region already in turmoil.

Boteach said the backdrop for the dispute is an increase in "genocidal rhetoric" aimed at Jews and the Israeli state.

"Firstly, our concern isn't only for the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz tomorrow, the 70th anniversary," he said. "It's for the current threats of annihilation and extermination of the Jewish people today, 70 years later.

"You have the government of Iran, that has repeatedly threatened to wipe the state of Israel off the map … trying to build doomsday weapons that could translate rhetoric into action," he said.

"The only thing that has brought Iran to the table is the fact that there were sanctions and now this administration is … loosening sanctions," said Boteach. "They're giving the brutal regime of Iran billions and billions of dollars by which to persecute their own citizens and finance international terror.

"Why shouldn't the Jewish prime minister of Israel make the case for a nation and a people that experienced the genocide?" he said. "He has to go every place on Earth that will receive him to talk about Iran."

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The political uproar over an upcoming speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an "astonishing" display of misplaced hostility toward Israel's leader, who should be allowed to state his case against Iran...
benjamin netanyahu, barack obama, speech, congress, iran, israel
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2015-21-26
Monday, 26 Jan 2015 06:21 PM
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