The Israeli ambassador to the United States defended Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress on Iran at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
Ambassador Ron Dermer, a top Netanyahu confidante, posted the text of his speech at an event hosted by Israel Bonds in Boca Raton, Florida, to Facebook. He defended Netanyahu’s speech as the prime minister’s “sacred duty” given the existential threat that Iran would be to Israel if it acquired nuclear weapons.
“Now there may be some people who believe that the Prime Minister of Israel should have declined an invitation to speak before the most powerful parliament in the world on an issue that concerns the future and survival of Israel,” Dermer said. “But we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent.”
“That is why the Prime Minister feels the deepest moral obligation to appear before the Congress to speak about an existential issue facing the one and only Jewish state,” he continued. “This is not just the right of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty — to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.”
Dermer, who was Netanyahu’s top political adviser before becoming ambassador in 2013, coordinated with Boehner’s office to arrange the prime minister’s speech, according to Hareetz.
The White House has called the March 3 speech, planned without consultation with the administration, a breach of protocol. President Barack Obama will not meet with Netanyahu when he comes to Washington, D.C., with the White House citing the Israeli elections two weeks later.