Watch Prime Minister Netanyahu’s full address to Congress above.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wove religious, historical and popular culture anecdotes throughout his address to Congress today. Here are 11 of those references that kept our ears perked:
After greeting Congress, Netanyahu referenced Purim — the Jewish holiday described in the Book of Esther, that commemorates the salvation of Jewish people in ancient Persia from a plan to destroy them.
“We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.”
Netanyahu segued from an ancient story, to modern technology.
“Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.”
The Holocaust was mentioned twice during Netanyahu’s speech. Once at the beginning.
“Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II.”
And once at the end when the prime minister acknowledged Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
“I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”
U.S. Declaration of Independence
Netanyahu juxtaposed the infamous ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to Iran.
“America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.”
Game of Thrones
The Israeli Prime Minster plugged George R.R. Martin’s series into his speech.
“In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.”
Islamic State has used YouTube to recruit and spread their propaganda.
“So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.”
The phrase “win the battle, lose the war” is typically attributed to the Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus, and the wars his army fought.
“To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.”
Have a question? You know the universal rule.
“While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.”
Set during World War I, Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” focuses on an American ambulance driver for the Italian Army.
“This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.”
In the “Road Not Taken” Frost wrote about two roads that diverged.
“You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.”
If you didn’t know an image of Moses existed so prominently inside the Capitol, Netanyahu’s conclusion revealed that fact.
“Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, ‘Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.'”