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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid urged Iran during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, accusing the Islamic nation of being behind the anti-Semitic campaign against Israel.
Lapid spoke of “two major threats” facing Israel, linking Iran to both.
“The first threat is the nuclear threat. Fear that terrorist states and terrorist organizations will get their hands on nuclear weapons. The second threat is the demise of truth,” Lapid said. “Our democracies are slowly being poisoned by lies and fake news. Reckless politicians, totalitarian states and radical organizations undermine our perception of reality.”
Illustrating the second point, Lapid recalled the publication of a 3-year-old Palestinian girl named Malak al-Tanani, who was reportedly killed along with her parents in an Israeli air force attack.
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“It was a heartbreaking shot, but Malak Al Thani does not exist. Photo taken from Instagram. She is wearing a girl from Russia,” he said.
“I can give you thousands more examples of such fake news about Israel. The anti-Israel movement has been spreading this lie for years. In the media, on college campuses and social media,” Lapid said. “The question is not why they do it, but why are you willing to listen to them?”
Lapid said it was all about anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitism is the willingness to believe the worst about Jews without asking questions. Anti-Semitism is judging Israel by a different standard than any other country,” he said.
“It is Iran to conduct this orchestra of hate,” Lapid said. He noted that burning Israeli and American flags can often be seen on the streets of Iran, which raises the question of where these flags came from.
“The answer is: they make them on purpose. Just so they can be burned,” he said. “This is what the hate industry looks like.”
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“The Iranian regime hates Jews, hates women, hates gays, hates the West,” he continued. “They hate and kill Muslims who think differently, like Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini. Their hatred is a way of life. It’s a way to keep your despotic rule.”
Regarding the other threat facing Israel, nuclear, Lapid said Iran’s stance towards Israel is the only time a UN member state has openly called for the destruction of another member state.
“If the Iranian regime gets a nuclear weapon, it will use it,” Lapid warned. “It is necessary to make it clear to Iran that if it advances its nuclear program, the world will respond not with words, but with military force. Every time such a threat has been made in the past, Iran has stopped and retreated.”
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Lapid also made clear that the Jewish state was not to be taken lightly.
“Today the Jews have a state,” he said, tacitly contrasting with the time of the Holocaust. “We have an army. We have great friendly relations, primarily with the United States. We have opportunities and we are not afraid to use them. We will do our best: Iran will not get nuclear weapons. While there are those who are trying to kill us. Just not again. Never again.”