For His Big U.N. Speech, Netanyahu Will Learn from His Mistakes

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the final word at the United Nations General Assembly this year, delivering an impassioned speech next Monday that will learn from his past missteps at the annual gathering of nations. 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the final word at the United Nations General Assembly this year, delivering a speech next Monday that will reportedly show he's learned from his past missteps at the annual gathering of nations. The New York Times' Mark Landler reports that Netanyahu will give a familiar speech this year, closely resembling his 2012 General Assembly speech, but avoiding some of the rhetorical flourishes that have undermined his arguments in the past.

Netanyahu will "offer a familiar list of demands," Landler reports: that Iran ceases its uranium enrichment program, hands over its enriched uranium, and shutters the existing nuclear facilities operating inside the country. The speech will also be a rebuke to President Obama's burgeoning relationship with Iran's new moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, which some hope could lead to a thaw in diplomatic relations between the two countries. Something "Bibi" doesn't want that to happen, though, believing it's merely a trap being set by Iran to avoid sanctions.

This preview of Netanyahu's speech makes it sound very similar speech to his 2012 speech, with only some minor — but important — changes. The hype from Israeli officials ahead of last year's speech was nearly identical, before he went on to literally draw a nuclear red line on a cartoon bomb to illustrate how far Iran could go with its nuclear program before Israel would step in to stop them. After being widely mocked for that bit of showmanship, there's no indication he'll break out any props this year, keeping it serious.

There will be one other difference to this year's speech. Netanyahu will trot out an old rhetorical device he first tried in 2009 by comparing Iran to one of the world most notorious villains. In 2009, the Israeli Prime Minister came under fire for making a "bogus" comparison, as Phillip Weiss put it, between Hezbollah and the Nazi regime. This time he'll compare Iran to North Korea, who spent the better part of the last year threatening nuclear war with the West. Despite his tense relationship with Iran, that's a much more reasonable comparison. "He feels morally impelled to stake out this position," an Israeli official tells Landler.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.