PM Netanyahu, Speech to the 67th UNGA | storytelling tactics

By Limor Shiponi

Much has been written and said already about the “Bibi and bomb” speech. PM Netanyahu is well known for his fondness of talking in front of an audience. The questions are – does he tell a story? does he incorporate storytelling tactics? I’ve analysed President Obama’s acceptance speech in the past, now I’m looking at Bibi.

PM Netanyahu’s words in bold
My extended remarks in italics
My short remarks in plain text

The first storytelling element doesn’t appear in the speech but rather in it’s preparation. According to his staff he was writing and rewriting for days and until minutes before standing infront of the GA. If you look at the video you’ll see him shifting a new note every sentence or two. This means:

  • He allowed for maximum flexibility – to add or eliminate
  • He was listening to relevant events happening prior to his appearance and making decisions
  • He was seeking to understand exactly where “eye level” was
  • He made sure every segment will receive his full attention while speaking

These tactics align with the second phase in preparing yourself to tell a story: observation, choice, eye level, clear action.

Speech analysis  

Thank you very much Mr. President.

It’s a pleasure to see the General Assembly presided by the Ambassador from Israel, and it’s good to see all of you, distinguished delegates.

Making contact to the here and now

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Three thousand years ago, King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear.

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. We say in Hebrew Am Yisrael Chai, and the Jewish state will live forever.

When the PM went “three thousand years ago” I thought “oh no, not a history spill-out now!” The second sentence cancelled out my alarm. What he does here is begin a story, and then cut through it quickly, relating only to what is extremely relevant to the time and main theme of the entire speech. He actually states the theme upfront as a motto well known to every Jew in the world – Am Yisrael Chai – the people of Israel live on. The next paragraph marks the beginning of a background story.

The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continued to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages. The masses of our people never gave up the dreamed of returning to our ancient homeland.

Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home.

We will never be uprooted again.

If you don’t know our history – here it is. Now he’s bringing you closer.

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

Every year, for over three millennia, we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past. We pray for our future. We remember the sorrows of our persecution; we remember the great travails of our dispersion; we mourn the extermination of a third of our people, six million, in the Holocaust.

But at the end of Yom Kippur, we celebrate.

We celebrate the rebirth of Israel. We celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David, and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern Jewish state.

In Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we blaze new trails in science, technology, medicine, agriculture.

Notice the use of visualizations. If you can see it, you can relate. It’s a storytelling principle elevated to the extreme in this speech…

In Israel, the past and the future find common ground.

Concluding the “welcome to our story” part, he is now zooming-out on the picture; Leading you to a part of the narrative he wants you to look at. He is not zooming-out geographically at this point; He is zooming-out on “what do you want your life to look like”. Since you cannot place your inner eye on any territory, you look at the examples he is stating in the form of polarization between modern and medieval. “Where do I stand?” is the question you’ll be asking yourself. Subconsciously, he is placing the listener into the narrative through conflict. The external conflict will become an inner one. Through this tactic, the listener becomes involved as either a protagonist or an antagonist – depending on his own point of view. However, who wants to be on the antagonist side of this modern-medieval conflict? Who is willing to declare such an intention? Open uncomfortable question here and it will keep some people thinking.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in many other countries. For today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval.

Here, PM Netanyahu is leaving behind the possibility of telling a sequential story. Concerning the magnitude of meanings he needs to convey and the point he wants to make, a story cannot serve his purpose anymore. He chooses to enhance the polarized picture.

The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred.

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.

One visual for every major issue. Notice the choice of verbs.

These forces clash around the globe, but nowhere more starkly than in the Middle East.

Someone switched on the light over the map… are you curious to know where the flashlight is going? What country, group or nation he will talk about? That’s how you build suspense and it’s created while waiting to see if there is a gap or correlation between our expectations and what he will actually say. This tactic of building suspense on the basis of our assumptions happens in storytelling often and is the source of intellectual delight.

Israel stands proudly with the forces of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens:  men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – all are equal before the law.

Israel is also making the world a better place: our scientists win Nobel Prizes. Our know-how is in every cell-phone and computer that you’re using. We prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia.

Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man paralyzed from the waist down climb up a flight of stairs, quite easily, with the aid of an Israeli invention.

It’s a little clunky here PM Netanyahu, too much information, not all directly relevant.

And Israel’s exceptional creativity is matched by our people’s remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world – in Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey Indonesia and elsewhere – Israeli doctors are among the first on the scene, performing life-saving surgeries.

It feels like a sidetrack doesn’t it. It could be something that would make you think, “ok, so you think Israel is great, move on to the point will you?” PM Netanyahu knows who’s listening. He’s making Israelis proud, informing others, in a way hinting that “boycott Israel” is an unpractical idea unless you want to go ‘medieval’ and he’s serving all this knowhow to the next point.

In the past year, I lost both my father and my father-in-law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact, every year, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israel to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors.

I know you’re not going to hear that from speakers around this podium, but that’s the truth. It’s important that you are aware of this truth.

For many, there is a double surprise here: not only do Palestinian Arabs receive treatment from some of the best medical personnel available considered by many their ‘enemies’, so do Arabs from throughout the Middle East. He is very aware of the fact that many people can’t believe their ears right now. Therefore, the emphasis – “that’s the truth” tied to the reason for many being unaware of it.

It’s also, in a way, quite an inconvenient moment for representatives from the Arab world sitting in the hall and a fine example of using a double-layer storytelling tactic – aiming the same text at two different ears with two different questions. 

It’s because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace.

Here he is connecting the idea of Am Yisrael Chai with the next issue – seeking peace. Remember, he can’t use a sequential story. Therefore, he needs to incorporate some other ‘binding’ tactics.

We seek to preserve our historic ties and our historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinians.

At this point, PM Netanyahu is already fully standing in the next segment of his speech. He is also standing in his audience’s shoes and asking “What does my audience see when ‘Middle East’ and ‘Peace’ are mentioned in close proximity?” He knows the answer – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, he did not come to speak to the GA about that; He came to speak about a much larger picture and therefore is putting things into proportion. However, he knows he will have to relate to the issue.

This storytelling tactic takes into consideration the fact an audience cannot listen to what you want to say if some strong inner voice is distracting them. If you want them to listen, you’ll have to clear the path before you continue.

President Abbas just spoke here.

I say to him and I say to you:

We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. That’s not the way to solve it. We won’t solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood.

We have to sit together, negotiate together, and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the one and only Jewish State.

Back to his agenda now…

Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and 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 seek supremacy over all Muslims. 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.

Militant Islam has many branches – from the rulers of Iran with their Revolutionary Guards to Al Qaeda terrorists to the radical cells lurking in every part of the globe.

But despite their differences, they are all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is directed first at their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, secular people, anyone who doesn’t submit to their unforgiving creed.

They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma and unrelenting conflict.

That was a careful, diplomatic build-up. It too serves the idea you don’t want your audience busy with a rock blocking the path of attention. He also knows there are many ears waiting for him to trip over his tongue.

I am sure of one thing. Ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness.

“Light will penetrate the darkness” is a powerful visual. Yet, it is not enough. The audience needs some practical sketching-out about how is this possible. He knows many can’t see the picture. From a storytelling point of view, it is his responsibility to show it. Here it comes, in the form of more concrete visuals…

We’ve seen that happen before.

Some five hundred years ago, the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age. Eventually, ignorance gave way to enlightenment.

So too, a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology. When this happens, our region will be guided not by fanaticism and conspiracy, but by reason and curiosity.

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.

We’ve seen that happen before too.

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.

That was a fade-out fade-in tactic. The visuals needed to anchor the possibility of “light will penetrate the dark” were combined into the next point – the price of procrastinating certain decisions.

My friends, we cannot let that happen again.

The previous visual has brought you to think – 20,000,000 lost lives. Now he will stretch it even wider. This ‘changing perspectives drastically’ tactic keeps the mind busy and the listener engaged.

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.

Remember the protagonist-antagonist fluctuation? he’s just stabilized the picture the way he sees it and is pointing at the antagonist.

To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda.

Making the visual more concrete.

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.

Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up till now, without nuclear weapons.

In 2009, they brutally put down mass protests for democracy in their own country. Today, their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children, directly participating in this murder.

They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. Before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds, embedding nearly 100,000 missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies.

In the last year, they’ve spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They’ve even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat.

And of course, Iran’s rulers repeatedly deny the Holocaust and call for Israel’s destruction almost on a daily basis, as they did again this week from the United Nations.

He is making sure people are aware of this part of the narrative and taking them over to look at the situation from his point of view. “Can you see what I see?” if so, what do you think? He is overtly asking the question, here…

So I ask you, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs.

Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who would be safe in Europe? Who would be safe in America? Who would be safe anywhere?

The picture has been stretched to the maximum. Next comes dealing with logic and it comes in strange forms that keep the mind busy and need to be addressed before he can continue; Keeping the path clear from rocks and side-tracks.

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.

But deterrence may not work with the Iranians once they get nuclear weapons.

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.

That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.

Just listen to Ayatollah Rafsanjani who said, I quote:  “The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything, however it would only harm the Islamic world.”

Rafsanjani said: “It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”

Not irrational…

And that’s coming from one of the so-called moderates of Iran.

Shockingly, some people have begun to peddle the absurd notion that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually stabilize the Middle East.

Yeah, right…

That’s like saying a nuclear-armed Al-Qaeda would usher in an era of universal peace.

Another tactic worth noticing before we continue is the use of pausing. Netanyahu brought us to the middle-cut incorporating a growing number of pauses. He slowed down so we can rest a little and he can recharge and change pace to ‘ticking’…  

We are now half way through the speech. Although PM Netanyahu is not telling a story, he is using a story arc and the internal relationships between it’s parts. Next, he will build-up his main argument and stretch to reach the dramatic peak, the ‘moment of truth’ – an internal realization he hopes to stimulate in the listeners’ minds.

Using a story arc helps him to convey a lot of information he sees necessary for understanding what he is talking about. If he wouldn’t use a story arc it would be very difficult to keep people engaged.

Each listener is busy with something else. My comments from here on will follow my authentic real-time thoughts. You may have others. Yet, the interactive dynamics taking place between what he is saying and doing on stage and the fact people are listening, considering, anticipating and realizing – are the same for everyone; Not the content – the engagement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’ve been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years.

Hmmm… that’s a lot of time

I spoke about it in my first term in office as Prime Minister, and then I spoke about it when I left office. I spoke about it when it was fashionable, and I spoke about it when it wasn’t fashionable.

Why is he elaborating about himself? so he spoke about it all that time – so?

I speak about it now because the hour is getting late, very late. I speak about it now because the Iranian nuclear calendar doesn’t take time out for anyone or for anything. I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country, it’s not only my right to speak; it’s my duty to speak. And I believe that this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.

Aha, that’s why. If many others are watching, he might be pushing them to think “are our leaders responsible concerning this issue?”

For nearly a decade, the international community has tried to stop the Iranian nuclear program with diplomacy.

“Oh,” they might think, “maybe they are. He just said ‘international community’ didn’t he?”

That hasn’t worked.

Shoot. Now what?

Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program.


For over seven years, the international community has tried sanctions with Iran. Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date.

Thanks Obama. Bibi-Obama matter settled for me right now, I don’t really care. What about the nukes?

I want to thank the governments represented here that have joined in this effort. It’s had an effect. Oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been hit hard.

Thank you too other governments, I’m sorry for you Iranian people, what about the nukes?

It’s had an effect on the economy, but we must face the truth. Sanctions have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program either.

Here was a missed opportunity to emphasize an important part of the narrative. What Netanyahu did say is too indirect. The people actually suffering from the sanctions are Iranian citizens. Throughout history, tyrants never considered their own people – who paid with their lives in huge numbers. Sometimes you need to spell it out.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, during the last year alone, Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges in its underground nuclear facility in Qom.

What does it mean?

At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Ok, now you’re saying what you came for. We all read about the ‘red-line’ debate. What did you mention the centrifuges for?

Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.

Good headline Bibi, I’ll tweet that.

Look at NATO’s charter: it made clear that an attack on one member country would be considered an attack on all.  NATO’s red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century.

Yes. Cool. It actually did.

President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That red line also prevented war and helped preserve the peace for decades.

Cool too.

In fact, it’s the failure to place red lines that has often invited aggression.

Oh, no third example? Ok, I read your message. Another good tweet, the previous one was better. Just a minute – are you sure?

If the Western powers had drawn clear red lines during the 1930s, I believe they would have stopped Nazi aggression and World War II might have been avoided.

Possibly. We can never know for sure.

In 1990, if Saddam Hussein had been clearly told that his conquest of Kuwait would cross a red line, the first Gulf War might have been avoided.

Same thing. Four examples already, come on… what’s the point of all this?

Clear red lines have also worked with Iran.


Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz. The United States drew a clear red line and Iran backed off.

Coming to think about it, yes. Ok, continue…

Red lines could be drawn in different parts of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But to be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program: on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium. Now let me explain why:
Basically, any bomb consists of explosive material and a mechanism to ignite it.

Are you serious?! Are you actually going to get into a technical explanation? You are talking to the GA and have 30 minutes. You’re not an elementary school teacher, you’re a PM! What on earth are you doing?!

The simplest example is gunpowder and a fuse. That is, you light the fuse and set off the gunpowder.

Holy s—t, he is actually going there… my goodness… oy vey… deep sigh. This is Bibi – you can never know. I hope he does…

In the case of Iran’s plans to build a nuclear weapon, the gunpowder is enriched uranium. The fuse is a nuclear detonator.

I can’t believe it.

For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse.

What do you want?

For a country like Iran, it takes many, many years to enrich uranium for a bomb. That requires thousands of centrifuges spinning in tandem in very big industrial plants. Those Iranian plants are visible and they’re still vulnerable.

Centrifuges again, and all these weird technical names.

In contrast, Iran could produce the nuclear detonator – the fuse – in a lot less time, maybe under a year, maybe only a few months.

I give up on understanding the motivations of my PM. Let go.

The detonator can be made in a small workshop the size of a classroom. It may be very difficult to find and target that workshop, especially in Iran. That’s a country that’s bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Britain combined.

Ooops, visuals again. You’re getting my attention back.

The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a warhead or a nuclear device that could be placed in a container ship. Chances are you won’t find that facility either.

Shoot. Isn’t it hopeless?

So in fact the only way that you can credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, is to prevent Iran from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb.

So, how much enriched uranium do you need for a bomb? And how close is Iran to getting it?

I’m in the dark again. “Amassing?” “enriched uranium?” the last questions are relevant. Tell me please if you know the answer.

Let me show you. I brought a diagram for you. Here’s the diagram.

This is a bomb; this is a fuse.

Thank you. I’m a little brighter than that. A cartoon bomb? Are you joking? Don’t the graphic designers in the PM’s office know how to find a more serious and respectful image?

In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages.

The first stage: they have to enrich enough of low enriched uranium.

The second stage: they have to enrich enough medium enriched uranium.

And the third stage and final stage: they have to enrich enough high enriched uranium for the first bomb.

Ok. Where is Iran? (notice the magical three that just occured) 

Where’s Iran? Iran’s completed the first stage. It took them many years, but they completed it and they’re 70% of the way there.

I don’t like the picture. At the same time you said “many years”. So, what’s the haste?

Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.

You’ve just placed a dead-line?

From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.

I don’t like this information. I don’t know what to do with it. Sounds frightening. Bibi, are you trying to push something? How can I know you’re telling the truth and what it really means?

Notice how in a few minutes he shifted our perspective from looking at the entire world to looking at a single, simple, childish diagram.

What was going on in the background is very important to understand. I’m reminding you this is my analysis, the way I experienced the situation:

PM Netanyahu arrived to the UNGA for a specific purpose. There is political tension in the air between him and President Obama; Between the Israeli government and the American administration. Nevertheless, the problem as he sees it is much bigger than any political or diplomatic dispute. He needs others to become involved, he needs the power of the mass; he needs the maximum media coverage and reach he can get to help him influence other leaders.

PM Netanyahu knows his people, their knowhow, the creativity and blazing spirit he mentioned at the beginning. He also knows we are fast to criticize him and have no inhibition doing so. I’m betting he knew exactly what will happen once he’ll open the diagram and reveal a cartoon: many Israelis will think it’s so ridiculous they will be bound to react – and we did. As he continued talking, an avalanche of memes was already on it’s way to hit social media; He was going viral before concluding the speech. Now he had to take care of mainstream media coverage that was waiting for the speech to end so they can define the best quote.

Know your audience…

Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I told you now is not based on secret information. It’s not based on military intelligence. It’s based on public reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Anybody can read them. They’re online.

So if these are the facts, and they are, where should the red line be drawn?

Did he just say UN delegates don’t do their homework?

The red line should be drawn right here…

Bibi, you are pushing your luck with the American administration… the media is going to gobble you up…

Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.

About the use of ‘props’ in storytelling: bringing a prop in, the way I see it, needs to be fully justified. It needs either to add information that cannot be conveyed through text, voice or gesture or enhance the drama by sharpening it to the limit.

In this case, the use of a concrete prop not only served as context to a point (or a line), it also pulled out what we all had in our imaginations – in front of the cameras. Mainstream media got their best quote in a format everybody can capture. You don’t need to be literate to get it. This is beyond brilliant if I’m considering storytelling tactics.

Before Iran gets to a point where it’s a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.

Just a minute… it’s not Bibi stretching the line… Iran is, by continuing that program.

Each day, that point is getting closer. That’s why I speak today with such a sense of urgency. And that’s why everyone should have a sense of urgency.

So why don’t they?!

Some who claim that even if Iran completes the enrichment process, even if it crosses that red line that I just drew, our intelligence agencies will know when and where Iran will make the fuse, assemble the bomb, and prepare the warhead.

Yeh, sure…

Look, no one appreciates our intelligence agencies more than the Prime Minister of Israel. All these leading intelligence agencies are superb, including ours. They’ve foiled many attacks. They’ve saved many lives.

But they are not foolproof.

Who thinks they are?!

For over two years, our intelligence agencies didn’t know that Iran was building a huge nuclear enrichment plant under a mountain.

For example. Need more? (notice how he stands behind us, knowing what we might be thinking and answering accordingly. This is preparation)

Do we want to risk the security of the world on the assumption that we would find in time a small workshop in a country half the size of Europe?

You know, I can’t really tell what UN delegates, world leaders and governments are thinking. Look at what’s going on in Syria. Who can we trust to care about us, the ordinary people?

As a listener, this is the most powerful moment on my emotional arc. The drawing of the red line was an intellectual trigger; this is the ‘moment of truth’. All I want Netanyahu to do now is tell me what needs to be done. I want to know more, to be informed about where my chances are. Through this tactic, the speaker becomes an important resource and someone who can trigger people to act upon their feelings. For instance: I want to know my leaders know all this stuff and are involved in some way. I’m going to demand that from them. Will they care? I don’t know, but now I care. All these feelings might also change my perspective about the speaker.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb.

I see I got it right – it’s not Bibi drawing the line. Do others get it too?

The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target.
I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.

Sure hope so.

This will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether.


Two days ago, from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be contained.

I very much appreciate the President’s position as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program. This goal unites the people of Israel.  It unites Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world.

Which I as an Israeli would appreciate more if they would share the actual responsibility and not leave the dirty work for us. Thanks in advance.

What I have said today will help ensure that this common goal is achieved.

Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue, and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together.

Can’t say I believe it yet.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The clash between modernity and medievalism need not be a clash between progress and tradition.

The traditions of the Jewish people go back thousands of years. They are the source of our collective values and the foundation of our national strength.

At the same time, the Jewish people have always looked towards the future. Throughout history, we have been at the forefront of efforts to expand liberty, promote equality, and advance human rights.
We champion these principles not despite of our traditions but because of them.

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.

Welcome back to our story if you are wondering why we get ourselves involved in this mess – besides being directly under threat. But so are the other countries in the Middle East. Strange they don’t get it.

Story wrap-up. He is connecting the beginning to the end and coming full circle with Am Yisrael Chai, with the ideas of freedom and modernity, of peace and justice, of living on and flourishing.

These are the timeless values of my people and these are the Jewish people’s greatest gift to mankind.

Besides dissatisfaction and krechtz J

Let us commit ourselves today to defend these values so that we can defend our freedom and protect our common civilization.

Thank you.


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