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Ex-PM Netanyahu Calls on World to Stop Iran

"The world, which did not stop the Holocaust, must try to stop the genocide being planned by Iran," Netanyahu said, pointing a finger at US pension funds investing with companies trading with Iran.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 1/21/2007, 3:09 PM / Last Update: 1/21/2007, 3:32 PM

Speaking Sunday at the prestigious Herzliya Conference, Netanyahu said,
"I want to call upon the world, which did not stop the Holocaust, to try and stop the one that Iran is planning: Stop investments in Iran - in order to stop a genocide...

"You remember the companies that arose against the apartheid in South Africa? The same thing can be done against Iran. We can start with the pension funds in the U.S. They invest enormous sums in 50 companies that trade with Iran. If these investments are stopped, this will place tremendous pressure upon Iran... Once the snowball of voluntary sanctions against Iran starts rolling, the citizens of Iran will start asking themselves if they are willing to pay this economic price.

"Israel has a key role in the international campaign against Iran. Israel must lead a coordinated, comprehensive campaign. We have to move world opinion, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and explain where the justice lies and where is evil. If another Holocaust is being threatened against the Jewish nation, who is going to respond if not us?"

Netanyahu said that he and other international political figures are working to have Ahmadinajad tried in an international court for his crimes: "If we succeed in drying out the Iran source, the Hamas and Hizbullah roots will be weakened as well. Without the Iranian checkbook, Hamas will be destabilized."

Relating to Prime Minister Olmert's not-quite shelved plan for a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu said, "Such plans will only bring Palestinian rockets closer to the Tel Aviv area... Good neighborly relations with the Palestinians will come only by toppling the Hamas government, not by concessions or various other programs."

Having served as Finance Minister under Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu said, "We can bring Israel's economy to an annual growth rate of 6%; over the course of a decade, this will double our economy. For this, we need to take three steps: a stepped-up decrease in taxes, streamlining the public service sector, and continued economic structural reforms. We did all this when we in power, and a government headed by us will take the necessary steps to do this."

Netanyahu concluded, "A new spirit, that's what Israel needs today. This isn't only dependent on us. Israel is a just country - historically, legally, and humanely. We want peace and are prepared to make concessions to achieve it."

The Herzliya Conference opened today, featuring worldwide experts and politicians on various social, military and political topics centering around the theme, "Israel's Balance of Strength." Ever since Ariel Sharon announced his Disengagement at the Herzliya Conference of 2003, other politicians have similarly used that forum to make important declarations.

Others scheduled to speak at the conference today include US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, US Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Birthright Chairman Dr. Shimshon Shoshani, Former National Security Adviser to the German Chancellor Dr. Horst Teltschik, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee members MK Maj.-Gen. (res.) Matan Vilnai and MK Brig.-Gen. (res.) Effie Eitam, Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School (via satellite), and others. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will address the conference on Wednesday evening.