LOS ANGELES (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jewish community leaders on Thursday that he was determined to contain Iran’s nuclear program and protect the state of Israel from Iran.
The prime minister spoke at the Museum of Tolerance, where exhibits document how 6 million Jews and Europe’s lively Jewish culture was destroyed in the Holocaust. He drew a parallel between a 1919 letter on display at the museum in which Adolf Hitler laid out his plans for an “uncompromising removal of the Jews altogether.”
Similarly, the Iranian regime calls for the annihilation of the state of Israel “openly and unabashedly,” only 70 years after the Holocaust, Netanyahu said.
“We see who is lying and we shall expose what Iran is really doing — building weapons of mass death and dispatching weapons of immediate death right now to the worst terrorist groups in the world,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu previously called an interim agreement with Iran “a huge mistake.” That six-month deal, set to expire in July, requires Iran to freeze some nuclear activities, which it claims are for peaceful energy purposes, in exchange for relief from sanctions.
“We cannot be tolerant to the intolerant. We cannot be tolerant to the fanatics,” he said. “These people are out to destroy a section of people called the Jewish people. We will not let them, we shall expose them and we will fight them. And I’ll tell you another thing: We shall beat them.”
The Los Angeles museum is part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish human rights organization whose founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the prime minister calls a close friend.
Netanyahu visited it on a previous trip to California and has praised the center’s plans to build a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu also traveled to Silicon Valley on Wednesday to sign an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown to develop joint technology projects and conduct research in California and Israel.
During a meeting at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the two emphasized their joint interests in cybersecurity, energy sources and water conservation, and suggested Israel — an arid country with a growing population — might be able to help California cope with its ongoing drought.
The visit followed Netanyahu’s meetings with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Monday and his appearance Tuesday at the Los Angeles premiere of a television documentary that features him giving a tour of his country that will air on public television stations.
It was the first California visit from an Israeli prime minister since 2006.
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