(The following is the speech* prepared for delivery on March 3, 2015 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a special joint session of the U.S. Congress. It was obtained by Breitbart News and is published here in full. The content is subject to change, especially so far in advance of the actual event. Please check text against delivery.)
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Majority Leader, Ambassador, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is the highest honor to address you here, in the heart of the world’s greatest and most powerful democracy, once again.
I know my visit has been a topic of some heated debate. For that, and for any breach of protocol, I apologize sincerely.
But when we look back on world history, especially our mistakes, we never ask: why were we impolite? Instead, we ask: why we didn’t we do more to stop disaster?
I am here to sound a warning.
When last I spoke with you, in 2011, I was able to offer my hearty congratulations to you and to President Barack Obama on the killing of the terrorist, Osama bin Laden—may his name be erased!
I thanked you for the tough, effective new sanctions that you passed against Iran. And I shared with you that “the ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear weapons program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action.”
I am not here to ask this Congress, this great people, to go to war. I know how much you have sacrificed around the world for the freedom of billions—some of whom do not know how to be grateful.
I know that Americans are weary of sending their sons and daughters abroad. Believe me, I know how hard it is to send a citizen army into battle.
I am here to ask you to prevent war. And the only way to prevent war is to stand together against Iran and radical Islam—now.
Because time is running out.
When last I was here, the Arab Spring had just begun. There was still some hope that it would become a movement for liberation and democracy. And in some places, it has.
Yet in places like Syria, it became a brutal civil war, where Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. After the horrors of World War II, in which my people suffered most, we thought that could never happen again. But the world did nothing.
Instead, Iran moved its soldiers, its generals, and its weapons into Syria and jumped into the bloodbath. It was joined by the Hezbollah terrorist army, which has participated in the mass murder that happens in Syria on a daily basis.
You might recall that Hezbollah was once the darling of the so-called “Arab Street” because it attacked Israelis. Now it is cursed across the Middle East because of the terrible atrocities it is perpetrating against Arab civilians.
Yet too little is being done to stop the slaughter, to which Iran is an accomplice.
President Obama created something called the Atrocities Prevention Board, led by some of the best experts on the subject.
But in the Middle East, no one fears a committee. What people fear and respect is military strength.
In the same year that chaos unfolded in Syria and elsewhere, the United States began carrying out its withdrawal from Iraq, soon to be followed by its ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan.
And in the aftermath, we have seen the rise of Daesh, the so-called Islamic State. ISIS began to slaughter Christians, to sell Yazidi women into unspeakable slavery, to behead Western aid workers and journalists.
We have seen thousands of civilians—Muslims, too—rounded up from their homes and shot into mass graves. We are witnessing crimes against humanity unknown since the Holocaust, since the Rwandan genocide, since the darkest days of the medieval era.
These are the outrages that would have once launched the world to war. And indeed, as ever, the United States has begun to answer the call, by sending humanitarian aid and weapons to the brave Kurdish peshmerga, and by attacking terrorist targets from the skies.
But the terrorists have opened a new front. Now they are murdering people in western cities, from Sydney to Paris. They are killing Jews in shops and synagogues. They are attacking our most basic freedoms–speech, worship, expression.
This terrible violence is not about any particular grievance. It has nothing to do with the Palestinian people and their cause, for example.
In Paris earlier this year, I marched together with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement of solidarity against terror. I challenge him to live up to that commitment by stopping the incitement that has inspired so many recent attacks against innocent Israeli men, women, and children, Jew and Arab.
Peace is possible between Israelis and Palestinians—but only through negotiations. The rise of tyranny and terror in the Middle East has encouraged the Palestinians to take a different route, to violate our past agreements by going to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.
The American taxpayer should not be burdened with funding a Palestinian government that takes such steps to make peace impossible. That is what President Abbas must understand.
What we are learning today is the same lesson we learned in the 1930s: that tyranny never stays where it begins, that evil is never satisfied by its early victories, that what starts “over there” never stays over there.
Israel was reminded of that in January this year, when we attacked a Hezbollah convoy that was moving toward our border in the Golan. An Iranian brigadier general was among them, preparing for an invasion, an impending attack against Israel.
Iran is expanding wherever and however it can. Its proxy militia in Yemen toppled that country’s government in January. Its terrorist ally, Hezbollah, bombed a bus of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2012.
Iran shipped long-range missiles to the terrorist militias of Gaza. It even tried to blow up a restaurant here in Washington, D.C. in 2011. And it may have assassinated the Argentinian prosecutor who pursued its role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
We know that Iran wants a nuclear weapon. We know because it cheated and lied to the United Nations about its nuclear program for years as it defied Security Council resolutions. We know because even as Iran sat down to talk with the P+5 nations last year, it violated the interim deal.
The Tehran regime is building new nuclear plants in Iran—and in Syria, where it is also setting up missiles. And we now know that some of Iran’s new missiles are designed to hit targets well past Europe.
Meanwhile, radical Islam is advancing around the world.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram kidnaps young girls and slaughters thousands of Christians. In Pakistan, the Taliban murder hundreds of Muslim schoolchildren.
And in the West, sleeper cells are awakening. One terrorist sympathizing with ISIS was arrested as he prepared to attack this very Capitol where we gather today.
We must call this evil by its name—radical Islam. It will not be stopped by calling it something nicer.
Yes, there are different kinds of radical Islam—Sunni, Shia, and otherwise. Yet they are all encouraged by the same idea: that the West is too weak to fight back.
It is the same idea that motivated the dictators of Europe, both fascist and communist, in the last century.
We dare not make the same mistake our predecessors made, thinking that if we give our enemies just enough, they will leave us alone. Their intentions are quite clear. They want to destroy Israel and America to build their caliphate.
And it begins, as it did in the 20th century, with the murder of Jews.
My friends, I know my visit here has caused some inconvenience. But in the 1930s, the Jewish people threw themselves at the door of every nation, and no one answered.
Today, thank God, we have a state, and we have friends in Congress. I know, standing here, that we share an unbreakable friendship with the American people, regardless of whatever disagreements emerge between our administrations.
In two days, Jews in America and around the world will celebrate the holiday of Purim. It marks the day, thousands of years ago, when our people were doomed to destruction by the ruler of Persia. Through the appeals of Queen Esther, we were saved, and our enemies were destroyed instead.
I am here to follow her example, to warn you that our enemies are planning to destroy the Jewish people—and that they will not stop there. But if we stand together, we can stop them first.
We have allies, too, in the Muslim world–like Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, who has led the call for reform.
We should be prepared for war. In many places, a war is already being fought. But I am not here to make the case for war.
I am not even here to make the case for new sanctions. You know it well enough. You have leaders in both parties who can speak more powerfully than I about why more pressure is needed, after a year of fruitless talks.
No—I am here to ask merely that America be what America is: the leader of the free world.
Last year, another leader stood before you and said: “Democracies must support each other. They must show solidarity in the face of aggression and adversity. Otherwise, they will be eliminated–one by one.”
I am here to reiterate that message, and to ask you to stand with us once again, as you always have done.
The relationship between our two countries is not a partisan issue. But to create an artificial divide between us is to invite aggression and terror against both of us.
The State of Israel can defend itself. And we will. Yet we know that we are but the front line in a global conflict.
We can defend Tel Aviv ourselves, but we cannot defend Charlie Hebdo for France.
It is time for the whole free world to stand up against radical Islam and the Iranian regime, for the sake of our common humanity.
There is only one power strong enough, worthy enough, and courageous enough to lead us. It is you, the United States. It is you, the American people.
I thank you.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak
* Note: This is not Netanyahu’s actual speech. Though perhaps it could be.