Netanyahu to Abbas: 'Recognize the Jewish state'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that reassuring words from Iranian officials about not wanting nuclear weapons do not square with Tehran’s actions — and that the international community needs to exert more pressure to deny Iran the capability of making nuclear arms.

In a speech at the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference, Netanyahu also had a message for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: “Recognize the Jewish state. No excuses, no delays, it’s time.”

The Israeli leader also denounced as anti-Semitic the Palestinian-led movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions —knows by its acronym, BDS. The boycott has been growing recently, mainly in Europe, where some businesses and pension funds have cut investments or trade with Israeli firms they say are connected to West Bank settlements.

“Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot,” Netanyahu said. “They should be exposed and condemned. The boycotters should be boycotted.”

On Iran, Netanyahu is fighting an uphill battle. Six world powers, including the U.S., recently reached a diplomatic agreement with Iran that rolls back its nuclear program in exchange for some easing of economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy. Israel sees Iran’s nuclear program as an existential threat and fears Tehran is using negotiations toward reaching a final agreement as a way to stall while it continues to build nuclear arms.

Iran “wheels out its smiling president and its smooth-talking foreign minister. But if you listen to their words, their soothing words, they don’t square with Iran’s aggressive actions,” Netanyahu said.

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