(House of Representatives - March 03, 2015)

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[Pages H1528-H1531]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL

  During the recess, the House was called to order by the Speaker at 10 
o'clock and 48 minutes a.m.
  The Assistant to the Sergeant at Arms, Ms. Kathleen Joyce, announced 
the President pro tempore and Members of the U.S. Senate, who entered 
the Hall of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore 
taking the chair at the left of the Speaker, and the Members of the 
Senate the seats reserved for them.
  The SPEAKER. The joint meeting will come to order.
  The Chair appoints as members of the committee on the part of the 
House to escort His Excellency Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of 
Israel, into the Chamber:
  The gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy);
  The gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Scalise);
  The gentlewoman from Washington (Mrs. McMorris Rodgers);
  The gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden);
  The gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Messer);
  The gentlewoman from Kansas (Ms. Jenkins);
  The gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. Royce);
  The gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen);
  The gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Granger);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Zeldin);
  The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Dold);
  The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Crowley);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Israel);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel);
  The gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler);
  The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Hastings);
  The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Deutch);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman);
  The gentlewoman from California (Ms. Hahn); and
  The gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis).
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The President of the Senate, at the 
direction of that body, appoints the following Senators as members of 
the committee on the part of the Senate to escort His Excellency 
Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, into the House Chamber:
  The Senator from Kentucky (Mr. McConnell);
  The Senator from Texas (Mr. Cornyn);
  The Senator from South Dakota (Mr. Thune);
  The Senator from Wyoming (Mr. Barrasso);
  The Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Wicker);
  The Senator from Tennessee (Mr. Corker);
  The Senator from Illinois (Mr. Durbin);
  The Senator from New York (Mr. Schumer);
  The Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Menendez); and
  The Senator from Maryland (Mr. Cardin.)
  The Assistant to the Sergeant at Arms announced the Acting Dean of 
the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Hersey Kyota, the Ambassador of 
the Republic of Palau.
  The Acting Dean of the Diplomatic Corps entered the Hall of the House 
of Representatives and took the seat reserved for him.
  At 11 o'clock and 6 minutes a.m., the Sergeant at Arms, Paul D. 
Irving, announced His Excellency Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of 
  The Prime Minister of Israel, escorted by the committee of Senators 
and Representatives, entered the Hall of the House of Representatives 
and stood at the Clerk's desk.
  (Applause, the Members rising.)
  The SPEAKER. Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and the 
distinct honor of presenting to you His Excellency Binyamin Netanyahu, 
Prime Minister of Israel.
  (Applause, the Members rising.)

 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  March 3, 2015, on page H1528, the following appeared: (Applause, 
the Members rising.) Prime Minister NETANYAHU. Thank
  The online version should be corrected to read: (Applause, the 
Members rising.) The SPEAKER. Members of Congress, I have the high 
privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you His 
Excellency Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel. 
(Applause, the Members rising.) Prime Minister NETANYAHU. Thank

 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  Prime Minister NETANYAHU. Thank you, Speaker of the House John 
Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senate Majority Leader 
Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority 
Leader Kevin McCarthy.
  I also want to acknowledge Senator and Democratic Leader, Harry Reid. 
Harry, it is good to see you back on your feet. I guess it is true what 
they say, you can't keep a good man down.
  My friends, I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a 
third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the 
U.S. Congress. I want to thank you all for being here today.
  I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I 
deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. 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. I know that no 
matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.
  The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has 
always been above politics. It must always remain above politics 
because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of 
promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope.
  Israel is grateful for the support of America's people and of 
America's Presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
  We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel. Now, some 
of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and 
intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.
  Some of what the President has done for Israel is less well known. I 
called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he 
immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.
  In 2011, we had our Embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he 
provided vital assistance at the crucial moment. Or his support for 
more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took 
on Hamas terrorists. In each of those moments, I called the President 
and he was there.
  Some of what the President has done for Israel might never be known 
because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues 
that arise between an American President and an Israeli Prime Minister. 
But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for 
that support.
  And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your 
support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous 
military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.
  Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of 
Hamas rockets because this Capitol Dome helped build our Iron Dome. 
Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you have done for Israel.
  My friends, I have come here today because, as Prime Minister of 
Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue 
that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of 
my people, Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.
  We are an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many 
have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.
  Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we will read the book 
of Esther. We will read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who 
plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago.
  But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and 
gained for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against 
their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.
  Today, the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian 
potentate to destroy us. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, 
spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the 
newest technology.

  He tweets that Israel must be annihilated. He tweets. In Iran there 
isn't exactly free Internet, but he tweets in English that Israel must 
be destroyed.
  For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state but not 
the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah,

[[Page H1529]]

Iran's chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in 
Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the 
  But Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the 
Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem.
  The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 
60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses 
a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also to the peace of the entire 
  To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, 
we must fully understand the nature of the regime.
  The people of Iran are very talented people. They are heirs to one of 
the world's great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by 
religious zealots, religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a 
dark and brutal dictatorship. That year, the zealots drafted a 
constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the Revolutionary Guards 
not only to protect Iran's borders but also to fulfill the ideological 
mission of jihad. The regime's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted 
his followers to export the revolution throughout the world.
  I am standing here in Washington, D.C., and the difference is so 
stark. America's founding document promises ``life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness.'' Iran's founding document pledges death, 
tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across 
the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that. Iran's 
goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its Revolutionary Guards on the 
Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. 
Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Backed by Iran, Shiite 
militias are rampaging through Iraq. Backed by Iran, Houthi are seizing 
control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the 
Red Sea. Along with the Strait of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second 
choke point on the world's oil supply.
  Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise, 
blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier--that is just last week--while 
they are having nuclear talks with the United States. But 
unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran's attacks against the United 
States have been anything but mock, and the targets have been all too 
  Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran; murdered hundreds of 
American soldiers, marines in Beirut, and was responsible for killing 
and maiming thousands of American servicemen and -women in Iraq and 
  Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through 
its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and 
the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires; it helped al Qaeda bomb U.S. 
Embassies in Africa; it even attempted to assassinate the Saudi 
Ambassador right here in Washington, D.C.
  In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals--Baghdad, 
Damascus, Beirut, and Sana'a. And if Iran's aggression is left 
unchecked, more will surely follow.
  So at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of 
nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.
  We must all stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, 
subjugation, and terror.
  Now, 2 years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign 
Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran--some 
change, some moderation. Rouhani's government hangs gays, persecutes 
Christians, jails journalists, and executes even more prisoners than 
  Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath 
at the grave of Imad Mughniyah. Imad Mughniyah is the terrorist 
mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist 
besides Osama bin Laden. I would like to see someone ask him a question 
about that.
  Iran's regime is as radical as ever, its cries of ``Death to 
America,'' that same America that it calls the great Satan, as loud as 
ever. Now this shouldn't be surprising because the ideology of Iran's 
revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that is 
why this regime will always be an enemy of America.
  And don't be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn't turn 
Iran into a friend of America. Iran and ISIS are competing for the 
crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic; the 
other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant 
Islamic empire, first on the region, and then on the entire world. They 
just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.
  In this deadly game of thrones, there is no place for America or for 
Israel; no peace for Christians, Jews, or Muslims who don't share the 
Islamist medieval creed; no rights for women; no freedom for anyone.
  So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your 
enemy. The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, 
captured weapons, and YouTube; whereas, Iran could soon be armed with 
intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.
  We must always remember--I will say it one more time--the greatest 
danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear 
weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to 
win the battle but lose the war. We can't let that happen. But that, my 
friends, is exactly what could happen if the deal now being negotiated 
is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing 
nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those 
weapons, lots of them.
  Let me explain why.
  While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any 
potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don't need 
intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can 
Google it.
  Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran 
will include two major concessions to Iran. The first major concession 
would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with 
a short breakout time to the bomb. ``Breakout time'' is the time it 
takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear 
  According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be 
demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be 
left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected but not 
destroyed. Because Iran's nuclear program would be left largely in 
tact, Iran's breakout time would be very short--about a year by U.S. 
assessment, even shorter by Israel's. And if Iran's work on advanced 
centrifuges--faster and faster centrifuges--is not stopped, that 
breakout time could still be shorter--a lot shorter.
  True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran's nuclear 
program, and Iran's adherence to those restrictions would be supervised 
by international inspectors. But here is the problem, you see: 
inspectors document violations; they don't stop them.
  Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn't 
stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the 
inspectors; and, within a few years, it got the bomb.
  Now, we are warned that within 5 years, North Korea could have an 
arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs. Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied 
international inspectors. It has done that on at least three separate 
occasions, 2005, 2006, and 2010.
  Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks and shut off the cameras. Now, 
I know this is not going to come as a shock to any of you, but Iran not 
only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-
cheat with them.
  The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday 
that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear 
program. Iran was also caught--caught twice, not once--twice operating 
secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors 
didn't even know existed. Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear 
facilities that we--the U.S. and Israel--don't know about.
  As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013: ``If 
there is no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first 
time in 20 years that it doesn't have one.'' Iran has proven

[[Page H1530]]

time and again that it cannot be trusted, and that is why the first 
major concession is a source of grave concern.
  It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on 
inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger 
that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.
  But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that 
Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal because virtually all 
the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will automatically expire in 
about a decade.
  Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it is 
the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It is the blink of an eye 
in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider 
what will happen when Iran's nuclear capabilities are virtually 
unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would 
then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could produce many, 
many nuclear bombs.
  Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says that Iran plans to 
have 190,000 centrifuges--not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has 
today, but ten times that amount--190,000 centrifuges enriching 
uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an 
entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks once it makes that 
  My longtime friend John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last 
week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge 
capacity when the deal expires. Now, I want you to think about that. 
The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from 
having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear 
weapons--and this with full international legitimacy.
  By the way, if Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile program is 
not part of the deal--and, so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the 
negotiating table--well, Iran could have the means to deliver that 
nuclear arsenal to the far-reaching corners of the Earth, including to 
every part of the United States.
  You see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, 
leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program; and, two, lifting the 
restrictions on that program in about a decade. That is why this deal 
is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's 
path to the bomb.
  Why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will 
change for the better in the coming years or they believe that the 
alternative to this deal is worse.
  Well, I disagree. I don't believe that Iran's radical regime will 
change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power 
for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each 
passing year. This deal would only whet Iran's appetite for more.
  Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its 
economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now 
while it is under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour 
when sanctions are lifted?
  Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with 
which to fund more terrorism? Why should Iran's radical regime change 
for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression 
abroad and prosperity at home?
  This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel's 
neighbors--Iran's neighbors--know that Iran will become even more 
aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is 
unshackled and it has been given a clear path to the bomb. Many of 
these neighbors say that they will respond by racing to get nuclear 
weapons of their own.
  This deal won't change Iran for the better; it will only change the 
Middle East for the worse. A deal that is supposed to prevent nuclear 
proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most 
dangerous part of the planet.
  This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms 
control, and the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear 
tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would 
turn into a nuclear tinderbox.
  If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. 
When we get down that road, we will face a much more dangerous Iran, a 
Middle East littered with nuclear bombs, and a countdown to a potential 
nuclear nightmare.
  Ladies and gentlemen, I have come here today to tell you we don't 
have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change 
for the better. We don't have to gamble with our future and with our 
children's future. We can insist that restrictions on Iran's nuclear 
program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in 
the region and in the world.
  Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran 
do three things: first, stop its aggression against its neighbors in 
the Middle East; second, stop supporting terrorism around the world; 
and, third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one 
and only Jewish state.
  If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its 
behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least, they should insist 
that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.
  If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If 
Iran doesn't change its behavior, the restrictions should not be 
lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act 
like a normal country.
  My friends, what about the argument that there is no alternative to 
this deal, that Iran's nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its 
nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the 
inevitable, which is, essentially, what the proposed deal seeks to do?
  Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn't get you 
very much. A race car driver without a car can't drive; a pilot without 
a plane can't fly; without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched 
uranium, or heavy water facilities, Iran can't make nuclear weapons.
  Iran's nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current 
proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a 
very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the 
price of oil.
  Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table--and this often 
happens in a Persian bazaar--call their bluff. They will be back 
because they need the deal a lot more than you do. And by maintaining 
the pressure on Iran, and on those who do business with Iran, you have 
the power to make them need it even more.
  My friends, for over a year, we have been told that no deal is better 
than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal, it is a very bad deal. We 
are better off without it.
  Now we are being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is 
war. That is just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much 
better deal, a better deal that doesn't leave Iran with a vast nuclear 
infrastructure in such a short breakout time, a better deal that keeps 
the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in place until Iran's 
aggression ends, a better deal that won't give Iran an easy path to the 
bomb, a better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like but with 
which we could live, literally. And no country, no country has a 
greater stake, no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good 
deal that peacefully removes this threat.
  Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. 
We must now choose between two paths.
  One path leads to a bad deal that will, at best, curtail Iran's 
nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a 
nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to 
  The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal 
that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East, and 
the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.
  You don't have to read Robert Frost to know you have to live life, to 
know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it 
will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security 
of the Middle East, and the peace of the world, the peace that we all 
  My friends, standing up to Iran is not easy; standing up to dark and 
murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and 
Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Elie, your life and work inspires to 
give meaning to the

[[Page H1531]]

words ``never again.'' And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the 
lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of 
the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past, not to sacrifice the 
future for the present, not to ignore aggression in the hopes of 
gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this: the days when 
the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies, 
those days are over. We are no longer scattered among the nations, 
powerless to defend ourselves. We have restored our sovereignty in our 
ancient home, and the soldiers who defend our home have boundless 
  For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can 
defend ourselves. This is why, as Prime Minister of Israel, I can 
promise you one more thing. Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel 
will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that 
America stands with Israel, I know that you stand with Israel. You 
stand with Israel because you know that the story of Israel is not only 
the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses 
again and again to succumb to history's horrors.
  Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in 
this august Chamber, is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from 
slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of 
Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has 
steeled our resolve for thousands of years.
  I leave you with his message today:
  Be strong and resolute. Neither fear nor dread them.
  My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and 
resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we 
face the future with confidence, strength, and hope.
  May God bless the State of Israel, and may God bless the United 
States of America.
  Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all. You are wonderful. 
Thank you, America. Thank you.
  (Applause, the Members rising.)
  At 11 o'clock and 54 minutes a.m., His Excellency Binyamin Netanyahu, 
Prime Minister of Israel, accompanied by the committee of escort, 
retired from the Hall of the House of Representatives.
  The Assistant to the Sergeant at Arms escorted the Acting Dean of the 
Diplomatic Corps from the Chamber.