Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Canada last week as the "peace flotillia" was intent on causing mayhem in Gaza. Before the terrorists got their surprise, courtesy of the IDF, Netanyahu had given an interview with CBC. Here is a partial transcript, for the record:
Transcript: Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu
Last Updated: Sunday, May 30, 2010 | 9:04 PM ETCBC News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Canada on Sunday for the first time since 2002, giving speeches at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum and at a Walk with Israel event sponsored by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto before heading to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.
The following is a transcript of an interview by the CBC's Peter Mansbridge with Netanyahu on May 30.
Mansbridge: Prime Minister, welcome to Canada.
Netanyahu: Thank you. I'm absolutely delighted to be here and I mean it when I say it.
Mansbridge: There are those who say that Canada is now Israel's closest ally.
Netanyahu: It's pretty close, I have to say.
Mansbridge: Who's closer?
Netanyahu: Well, I can tell you that I won't make comparative rankings, but we feel very comfortable with Canada. We're very proud of the fact that we have an increasingly strengthening relationship in every field — people to people, technology to technology, universities to universities, government to government. Stephen Harper has been a great champion of defending Israel's basic right to defend itself, fighting the campaign to de-legitimize Israel. People take note. They take note of the friendship of the government of Canada and the people of Canada. And I've come here to express our appreciation for that and to seek ways to work together for peace.
Mansbridge: If we can talk about a number of the issues that are confronting Israel. Just the other day, Friday, the United Nations Nuclear Non-proliferation Conference suggested it wants to check, in effect regulate, Israel's nuclear capability. Do you buy that?
Netanyahu: Well, I thought that was a particularly distorted and flawed resolution because it singled out Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East and the only country anywhere on Earth threatened with annihilation. Yet it failed to mention Iran, which brazenly violates the Non-proliferation Treaty, is racing to arm itself with atomic weapons and openly expresses its wish to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth. So they single out Israel, let Iran go. That tells you how distorted a resolution this is. And given the nature of this distortion, I don't think Israel will participate in the implementation of the resolution.
Mansbridge: I want to get to Iran in a moment. But does the world have a right to know what Israel's nuclear capabilities are beyond energy?
Netanyahu: The problem in the Middle East is not Israel. The problem of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East is centred on those tyrannical regimes, or regimes that have supported terrorists, that have signed the Non-proliferation Treaty but has brazenly violated — beginning with Saddam, that is, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, which built a nuclear plant to produce atomic bombs, Libya which was very advanced in its nuclear weapons program, and Syria. And of course, most dramatically, Iran, which basically defies the entire world. So that's where the emphasis should be on and not on Israel. Israel doesn't threaten any country with annihilation. It doesn't seek to annihilate any country.
Mansbridge: But I understand that. But there's a broader world out there and I'm wondering whether they have that right to know what your capabilities are.
Netanyahu: Well, we're a responsible country and the important thing, I think, is that we understand that the problem of nuclear proliferation is a serious one obviously in the world, but it's not uniformly serious. It's very different if Luxembourg gets nuclear weapons — I hope I didn't make a — step on any diplomatic faux pas — or if the Ayatollah regime in Iran has nuclear weapons. The greatest threat to mankind today, and this is what we should be focusing on, is if a radical Islamic regime meets up with nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons meet up with a radical Islamic regime. The first is called Iran and the second is called the Taliban takeover of Pakistan. These developments could be a pivot of history. They could change the world. And I think if the international community wants to be concerned with the problem of what happens if these radical regimes acquire nuclear weapons, what happens if they give them to terrorists — these weapons could appear anywhere, they don't even have to have missiles, they could be put in a container on a boat without a direct address, they could appear in any country in the world — that is the single greatest threat of our time and that's what people should be focused on.
Mansbridge: Let's focus on Iran for a moment. The Times of London has a report today that says that you're prepared to position Israeli nuclear submarines off the coast of Iran in the Gulf because of intelligence that you have — your country has — of missiles moving from Iran to Syria to Lebanon. True or not true?
Netanyahu: Well, parts of this are completely untrue. What is true is that we are interdicting as best as we can the flow, a tremendous inflow, of weapons from Iran to their terrorist proxies, which is Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. They're shipping them thousands and thousands and thousands — tens of thousands of rockets and missiles — to fire on our cities, on our children. And we have been able to interdict. For example, one celebrated interception was on the high seas. We found a ship from Iran destined to Hezbollah that had 200 tons — can you imagine, 200 tons — just in one ship, of these deadly weapons that are aimed at civilians — and we took it away. But these are the ships that we intercept. I can't (overlap) … about those that we don't intercept....