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Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu
Aired November 23, 2006 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Benjamin Netanyahu, elected prime minister in Israel in May 1996 in Israel`s first direct election. As prime minister, he combined fighting terror with the advancement of the peace process. Through his three-year term, the number of terror attacks drastically decreased.
In the U.S., he`s been credited for his central role in changing American policies on international terrorism. Now, he`s come out with a bold, new statement: urging the world to pay attention to Iran and warning we could be facing World War III.
Powerful, influential, and frighteningly honest, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tonight faces honest questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Welcome to the program. On Fridays, this show breaks every rule. Well, it kind of does that all week. We spend an hour talking about one person, one thing, one item. This week, the focus of our program has been our special, which was on Islamic extremism. We wanted to spend an hour with a gentleman who knows it extraordinarily well, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Hello. Welcome, sir.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FMR. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Hello. Good to be with you.
BECK: This program and this particular hour, we spend time asking just sometimes I think politically incorrect questions. I`m a regular American shmoe that quite honestly, right before 9/11 -- and I don`t mean any offense, sir -- but Israel and the Palestinians, everybody who`s been arguing for so long, as a typical American before 9/11, I was like, "Oh, you know what? Just set it out -- you can all just fall into the middle of the sea and it doesn`t matter to me, because you`re always fighting."
Now 9/11 happened. I thought, "Gee, maybe I should pay attention to this." And many Americans did and saw, "Wait a minute. There`s trouble." But now that`s changing even more, and you said something in Los Angeles that I`m so grateful that somebody`s finally saying, that this is World War III, this is Germany 1938.
Could you explain that?
NETANYAHU: Iran is Germany, and it`s 1938, except that this Nazi regime that is in Iran, that`s a religious kind of fanaticism, but it wants to dominate the world, annihilate the Jews, but also annihilate America. Remember, we`re the small Satan. You`re the big Satan.
NETANYAHU: We`re just the first way station en route to you. So there is this fundament fanaticism that is there. It`s a messianic cult. It`s a religious messianic cult that believes in the Apocalypse, and they believe they have to expedite the Apocalypse to bring the collapse of the West.
BECK: See, nobody is saying -- why isn`t George Bush saying this? Why is it nut jobs like me who is saying this? Why isn`t the media bringing this stuff out?
NETANYAHU: Well, I think they`re getting around to it, but it has to be explained. And that`s why I appreciate the opportunity to say it. But if I had to offer an analogy -- you know, Glenn, I was looking for an analogy to try to explain to Americans what it is that is so dangerous about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. You remember those crazy people in Waco, Texas?
BECK: Yes, David Koresh.
NETANYAHU: David Koresh?
NETANYAHU: So imagine David Koresh with nuclear weapons. Imagine David Koresh, not with hundreds of followers, but millions of followers, with nuclear weapons, wanting to obliterate America, wanting to obliterate America`s allies, wanting to take over the world`s oil supply.
If the lunatics escape from the asylum, that`s one thing. But if they can get their hands on a nuclear weapon, that`s another. And this is that kind of cult. It`s the cult of the Mahdi, a holy man that disappeared a thousand years ago. And the president of Iran believes that he`s supposed to -- he was put here on Earth to bring this holy man back in a great religious war between the true Muslim believers and the infidels. And millions will die in this Apocalypse, and the Muslim believers will go to heaven.
That`s dangerous, if they have nuclear weapons to realize this fantasy. And that is where the world is coming to. Now, people said that of Hitler in the 1930s. They said this man has a mad ideology, very fanatic, very dangerous, and if he gets his hands on a military power, he would use it. Hitler did use it, but Hitler developed atomic weapons, tried to develop them only after embarking on the world conflict.
Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is first trying to develop nuclear weapons and then going about his mad fantasy of global conflict. So he has to be stopped. I think when you have something as fanatic and as dangerous as this, the question now is not whether he should be stopped, but how`s he going to be stopped?
BECK: I was in the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., and one of the more powerful rooms for me was the room where they have all of the newspapers up on the wall and all of the headlines. And to me, what stuck out was, Hitler was very clear, very clear. Basically, he was saying, "Take the Jews before I kill them." And everybody was in denial.
Now, let me play devil`s advocate with you. We`ve heard nut jobs, especially in Iran, for a very long time. What makes you say we should take this nut job at his word? Why is this guy different than what we have seen with religious fanatics that are really only interested in power and not interested in the Apocalypse?
NETANYAHU: Well, I was getting this question in the 1990s, and I said that the West really doesn`t understand militant Islam. So I wrote a book in 1995, and I said that, if the West doesn`t wake up to the suicidal nature of militant Islam, the next thing you will see is militant Islam is bringing down the World Trade Center.
Other nut ideologies don`t do that, but militant Muslims do, and they are competing. They have two strains: the Sunni type, led by Al Qaeda, who have done the World Trade Center; the Shia types, led by Iran, who want to top that by having nuclear weapons with which they can dominate the world, ultimately bring down America.
We`re merely the first target. They hate us because we`re you, and we`re the first station, in the Middle East. They hate Israel because it represents America. They don`t hate America because of Israel, because we`re part and parcel of that same free, to their minds, hated hedonistic civilization.
NETANYAHU: So I think the real problem is: Do we let this fanatic regime, this messianic cult of the Apocalypse, get their hands on atomic weapons? I think it`s folly.
And I don`t think it`s just an Israeli question any more so than Hitler was just a Jewish question. Hitler started with the annihilation of the Jews, but pretty quickly moved on to threaten the entire world. And America woke up late, after 6 million Jews died.
But in our case, you know, we don`t have to wake up dead in order for people to realize that he threatens America. We want to both defend ourselves, defend the Jewish state, certainly, but also defend America and free civilization against people who would extinguish our freedoms and our lives.
BECK: I am amazed at the parallels of World War II, just it is incredible, all the way down -- you hear people say all the time, "Well, it`s the Jews. It`s Israel. They`re causing the problem. They`ve done all these horrible things, yadda, yadda, yadda," just as though Hitler used the Europeans and saying, "Well, it`s the Versailles treaty, and it`s this, and it`s that." That was a mask to bring in the real point of Hitler.
NETANYAHU: Well, let me ask you a question, you know, because people really don`t get this. Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, and the cult that he represents, they couldn`t care less if we made a deal with the Palestinians or we didn`t. As far as they`re concerned, the only deal possible is the elimination of Israel. And even that would merely remove an obstacle on the way to Europe and on the way to the United States. Israel could disappear, and it wouldn`t make a difference.
NETANYAHU: Because they`re out to get you; they`re not out to get us. We`re simply standing in their way. They`re not interested in Israel, per se. They`re interested in bringing down Western civilization, led by the United States. That`s why you`re the great Satan, and we`re just the little Satan.
BECK: Tell me what the world looks like if we don`t act.
NETANYAHU: If you don`t act, it means that it will be the first time in the history of the world that a totally unstable, globally mad regime will have atomic bombs and the means to deliver them.
This means, a, that they will dominate the Middle East very quickly. They will make the Persian Gulf an Iranian pond. They will control the world`s oil supply. And they will probably use the weapons, first against my country, and then to intimidate or threaten Europe. They want to control the world.
Now, eventually, they`ll be brought down. How many millions will have to die for that? How many cities will be wiped out before the Western world and civilization realizes that this is not a local problem, that this is their problem, that it`s directed against them, directed against you?
BECK: OK. When we come back -- we have to take a break -- but when we come back, I want you to answer my father`s question. My father told me on the phone a couple of weeks ago, "You know what? We`re the United States of America. Nobody can defeat us. Stop. It`s not that big of a problem."
And the second thing I want you to address is, how long do we have before we are right on the front lines?
Back with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in just a moment.
BECK: Back with a full hour with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, about the situation we`ve been talking about all week. Before we broke, I told you that I was on the phone with my father, and he says, "You know, you`re talking about this scary stuff. Glenn, we`re the United States of America. Nobody can come in here and destroy us." And I said, "Dad, if people don`t wake up, that`s exactly what`s going to happen."
Please convince my father and others like him that that is a possibility.
NETANYAHU: What your father says is absolutely true in the case of deterrable powers. The Soviet Union had enough firepower to destroy the United States, but they realized that you would destroy them, so they were deterred. They were not suicidal.
But militant Islam is suicidal. They often put their zealotry, their ideology above their survival. That`s why you didn`t have any Communist suicide bombers, but militant Islam produces hordes of them, battalions, and they smash into buildings in New York.
Now, do you doubt that if, for example, Al Qaeda had nuclear weapons, this city would not exist today?
BECK: Oh, it would be gone.
NETANYAHU: Where does your father live?
NETANYAHU: No, that`s far away, but they could get there, too, right? And Seattle could disappear, because they`re not deterrable. That`s the whole point.
If they were a normal power, a normal regime, without this crazy messianic cult of death, the idea that millions have to die in order for their particular Islamic messiah to come, millions have to die, and the sooner the better, in their view, because they have this cult, that`s what makes them so dangerous, if they acquire nuclear weapons to realize it. So your father is right if you were dealing with the Soviet Union...
NETANYAHU: ... or with Russia, or with China, or with India. None of the powers that have nuclear powers today have this zealotry, this mad ideology, but Iran does. So if Iran acquires it, and they think that you are their worst nemesis, we`re just an underling, we`re just your subordinate, we happen to be a small Satan, a small appendage of America.
But their goal is to reverse a thousand years of history. The rise of the West, the rise of America. This was the mistake of history that has to be corrected through this Apocalypse. Don`t wait for them to realize this; don`t let this David Koresh in Tehran get his hands on atomic weapons so he can test out his theories on us or on you.
BECK: OK. I had a conversation with Rush Limbaugh this week. And when you`re on his program, you don`t usually disagree with him, because he`s a pretty bright man. And he said, "Glen, I think this is coming, and I think we`ve got -- and the world is going to change within the next 15 years." And I said, "I hate to disagree with you, but I think we may have three." How long do we have before it is just too late to wake up?
NETANYAHU: There are different estimates, but they all hover between the two- to four-, five-year range, and we may be wrong. We were wrong about North Korea. And it turned out that they could get...
BECK: But North Korea, when you say North Korea, you know, North Korea, we said it`s unacceptable for North Korea to have nuclear weapons. I think when you -- you know, we saw those pictures of that mountain where they tested. I think, when we see the ground rise up in Iran, I think when you see that they`ve successfully tested a nuclear weapon, I don`t think they say, "Hey, well, I`m going to wait for the U.N. to tell us" -- I think they make a call to us and say, "Get all of your stuff and get out of the Middle East," and then game on.
NETANYAHU: Yes. And, well, they`ll go a lot further than that, I can tell you.
BECK: Well, yes.
NETANYAHU: How long will it take? The estimates could be wrong. I was referring to the fact that people thought that North Korea would take longer to produce a device, first device. And here, we think -- we don`t know -- the official statement give by the chief of Israeli intelligence -- and I can say this because it was publicized -- it was said in our foreign affairs and defense committee in our Knesset, our parliament, he said it will take them anywhere up to three years to cross all the nuclear technology threshold, and then it takes about a year or two to weaponize.
But this at most would give us five years. It could very well be next year. Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is boasting that he`s on the express train.
NETANYAHU: Yesterday, the international atomic agency commission two days ago found enriched plutonium traces in Iran, which means that they`re moving ahead towards making that weapon. Again, that weapon is aimed at my country. I want to be, as you say, complete open...
NETANYAHU: ... divulgence. How do you call it?
BECK: You want to be cards face-up on the table.
NETANYAHU: Absolutely, yes. I`m worried about the survival of my country, but so is Czechoslovakia.
NETANYAHU: It was engulfed, and the Jewish people were engulfed by Hitler. So what? That was on the path towards engulfing the world. And when you have this religious fanatic cult, you do not let it, hating the United States, wanting to bring down the United States, and anything associated with it, like Israel, you do not let these fanatics get their hands on atomic bombs.
NETANYAHU: And tell your father that they`re not deterrable. That`s the main problem: They`re not deterrable.
BECK: People have said that I was nuts when I said, before we went into Iraq, it ain`t about Iraq. This is about Iran, right, wrong, and why?
NETANYAHU: I think you`re right. I think in the larger -- there`s a pecking order here. I think Afghanistan was the first one. It dispatched Al Qaeda. You got the right to do. By getting Iraq, you got Libya. Libya dismantled its nuclear program.
But Libya and Saddam Hussein`s Iraq were essentially neighborhood bullies, very dangerous, very, you know, poisonous, but you could either bring down their dictatorship or force them to become reborn, OK, as Gaddafi was trying to be. They are not suicidal.
If you got Iran, you would have folded the entire chain down and you would have eliminated the most virulent and the most dangerous of the lot. This is a regime that seeks to influence a billion people worldwide, a billion Muslims. Now, granted, they`re not going to influence a billion Muslims, but suppose they influence 10 percent. That`s 130 million or over 100 million people.
And it`s not merely the ability to incite radicals in every Western capital, or in anywhere from San Francisco to Bali, Indonesia, and Bali and even north, south, anywhere. It is that they will have the nuclear weapons to back up terror. They`ll have terror with a nuclear umbrella, so the terror that we`ve seen will be on a scale we haven`t seen. And the greatest terror of all is that they may actually use atomic bombs against our cities and our countries.
BECK: OK. More with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in just a minute. And we get to Iraq and also why so many Jewish people here in America vote for the Democrats.
BECK: Welcome back to the program. We`re spending a whole hour with ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from Israel. Are you going to run again?
BECK: Good. Let`s talk a little bit about Iran -- I`m sorry, about Iraq. First, honest question: Are you afraid of us? Are you afraid that we`re going soft?
NETANYAHU: Maybe in the short term the United States could have some setbacks. In the long term, the free peoples always win, you know? But the question is: At what cost?
BECK: That really wasn`t the question. I`ll let you escape.
NETANYAHU: Well, come on...
BECK: I`ll try one more time. Are you afraid we`re...
NETANYAHU: I got out of that one.
BECK: We are now proposing a phased redeployment, which, if you would translate, would be cut and run. What happens if we get out of there?
NETANYAHU: I think you`re going to find it a lot more difficult than you think, because what happens when you run, when you cut and run, from terror, terror has this unfortunate quality of chasing you. This is, however, an American decision you make.
BECK: Yes, but a lot of people believe that if we just -- you know, they haven`t stood up. I don`t think most people understand the fear that people live under of these kooks that are, you know, beheading people. But they`re saying, "If the Iraqis want it so bad, they should step up for it and we will leave them, because most people think that, well, it`s their responsibility."
NETANYAHU: Look, I won`t get into a debate on Iran -- Iraq, rather, because in a way I think it sidelines the main argument. What you decide to do -- it`s an American decision...
NETANYAHU: ... whether you leave in phases, you leave with a timetable, you leave with no timetable, you stay in Iraq, OK, either way, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons next door, you lose Iraq. Not only do you lose Iraq, you lose the entire Middle East, and you lose control of the world oil supply, and your cities come under a nuclear threat of a crazy, fanatic regime.
So the question is: Why is the American debate exclusively focused on Iraq when you should look next door? And the last thing you should do -- whatever you decide on Iraq, I would give one piece of advice: Do not mortgage that solution to the Iranians. Do not get into a situation where you are giving the Iranians any kind of license to develop their nuclear program in exchange for anything that they do with you in Iraq, do or not do.
You should stop the Iranian nuclear program because it is a great threat to the security of the world and the security of the United States.
BECK: Let me give you my biggest fear. My biggest fear is -- we only have one minute? Let me state it, and then I want to come back, because I want to hear your full answer on this.
My biggest fear is that you`re being set up, that Israel is going to - - we`re not going to do anything about it. The rest of the world is already starting to talk, "Hey, let`s talk peace with Iran. Let`s bring Iran and Syria in as partners for peace," which is absolutely insane. You will be sitting in a position saying, "OK, well, we can`t deal with it". You`ll go in and do something about it, and then the whole world will turn and say, "It`s Israel. We were close to peace."
NETANYAHU: Yes, well, that`s what they said about Czechoslovakia when they sacrificed it for Hitler and they thought they`d have peace in their time, and the Munich Accords. And it turned out to have been merely feeding the wolf and wetting its appetite.
But I`ll tell you one thing: Somebody has to take out the Iranian nuclear program.
BECK: OK, I want to get to that. We have to take a quick break. Back in a minute.
BECK: Back with Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister of Israel, talking a little fear-mongering here with Glenn Beck. What a surprise.
We ended with my belief that you`re being set up to make your -- because you`re going to -- well, let me ask you. Are you going to make a move, if nobody else does, on Iran? Do you feel that you would have to make a move if nobody else does to stop them?
NETANYAHU: If that`s the only option. It has to be stopped. And if it means saving the life of the Jewish state and another 6 million Jews who live in Israel, then the answer is yes, because we reserve the right to live.
The Jewish people are not going to be set up again for a second Holocaust by a man who denies the first Holocaust as he prepares our mass annihilation. What would you do? Suppose somebody said, "We`re going to bomb America. We`re going to destroy America." And you sit back and you say, "Oh, he doesn`t mean it." And he prepares, and he does mean it. Are you going to sit back and let him do it?
BECK: I got to tell you, I`ve said this many times before -- no offense, Canada, because I know we`ve got a lot of Canadian listeners, but you`d be toast. I mean, if we had somebody sitting on our border saying the same thing, that people on your border are saying, oh, we`d roll over them with a steamroller.
But what does that mean? I mean, let`s say you go in. They`re so far underground. Do you, a, have the capability of doing this? And, b, if you did, what does that do to the Middle East and the whole world?
NETANYAHU: I think that it`s not particularly useful to discuss these kinds of questions. I would say that there`s a time factor. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes, the more firepower you need.
The earlier you do it -- and you may even -- the earlier you do it, you can actually avoid the need for military action. If you had, for example, a concerted international effort, you could probably get Iran to back off. But the longer you wait, the more you have to get into the harder options and the harder the options become.
And I think that that is unfortunate. But you asked me, what will the world look like if action were taken against Iran by us or by you? Would they retaliate? Yes, of course. But they wouldn`t have nuclear weapons to retaliate with. You do not want them to have these atomic bombs.
BECK: I get that. I get that. I`m with you. However, you know, when you say -- if you go in and take it...
BECK: ... and people will rise up -- you know, I was talking to James Baker, and I said, you know, how much trouble is Europe in? We think of these -- oh, well, we`ll just be able to, you know, rely on our European allies. My gosh. If the Muslim extremists that are in the center of those cities all throughout Europe ever decide to rise up and connect, the armies of Europe are going to be busy in Europe doing guerrilla warfare street to street.
NETANYAHU: But, you know, it`s an interesting question. There are Muslim communities interspersed now throughout the world and throughout Europe, as well. Many of them, most of them are peaceable people.
NETANYAHU: OK? But there`s an extremist core. The extremists core gets more extreme as the two virulent strains of militant Islam get more and more powerful. When they knock out the World Trade Center, they get new adherents. When Iran acquires nuclear weapons, they get more adherents.
So the Muslim communities around the world are looking at it. They`re sitting in the bleacher, and they`re looking at this, and they`re saying, "Who`s winning, the West, the forces of civilization as we understand it, or the militants?" If the militants appear to be succeeding, then the ability to recruit more radicals in Europe and elsewhere, in the United States, grows. So it`s important...
BECK: Well, that`s because they have an understanding that the reason why they are still living the way they are with sticks and stones is because they haven`t been militant enough in their own religion, that they haven`t submitted enough to Shia law, et cetera, et cetera.
NETANYAHU: Not true. I think it`s actually the other way around. I think that, if they see them winning, then they say, "Ah, Allah is with us. That means that the direction of extremism has a future."
What you want to do is actually create despair in the militants. You want to create despair that nothing will succeed, you will never defeat the West. Even if we have setbacks, the free societies, this pro-realistic, free societies that we have, we`ll defeat you. Your way of this pre- medieval, crazy creed that you have, it`s not going to govern the world. There`s no chance that it will govern the world, because the free societies are much tougher than you think.
When they think that, they can`t recruit. When they think the opposite, they do recruit. It`s very important that they understand they`re going to lose and early.
BECK: OK. Now, we`ve talked about millions of people possibly dying in World War III, and nuclear holocaust, and another Holocaust for the Jews, but now let me get to the tough question.
NETANYAHU: That was the easy part?
BECK: That was the easy part. Here`s the tough question. I am so frustrated -- and I said you were going to be on. I got so much e-mail from people asking me the same question that we can`t figure out.
Why is it that it seems as though conservatives are the ones that are the most strong on the protection of Israel, we are the most -- that we`re the strongest in defense, and yet so many Jews here in America are so on- fire liberal and they side with the people, the politicians who are ready to just give away the candy store?
I don`t understand it, and so many Americans don`t. What is it that they can`t see who`s willing to stand up and think it`s important to defend Israel?
NETANYAHU: There is a difference of opinion, obviously, on what is the right sort of defense. And I`m not going to get into that. I mean, Jewish-Americans...
BECK: I told you it was going to be the hard question.
NETANYAHU: ... Jewish-Americans are loyal Americans. They just have a different...
BECK: No, no, no, no, I`m not saying...
NETANYAHU: They have differences among them. You know, some of the most staunchest conservatives in the United States are Jewish, and some of the most staunchest liberals are Jewish, so there are different views. I have enough in my politics in Israel not to get into...
BECK: Sure, not to get into ours.
NETANYAHU: ... American politics. And I have enough Jewish politics in Israel, by the way, more than you can imagine.
BECK: Then let me go here on politics where I think you`re a little more free to talk, the United Nations. Holy cow, I don`t understand the United Nations. I don`t understand -- I don`t even understand -- when I went to Israel for the first time, it was after 9/11, and I really wanted to understand.
And I went to Israel, and I went up to the Israeli-Lebanon border. And I was standing there, and I saw a billboard with beheaded Israeli soldiers and underneath, in Hebrew, it said something along the lines of, "Sharon, your dogs die here." And it was one of the most shocking -- I`m an American -- one of the most shocking things I had ever seen. And it was sitting next to a little, like, pillbox area, and it had two flags. It had the Lebanese flag...
NETANYAHU: And the U.N. flag.
BECK: ... and the U.N. flag.
BECK: What does that say to you?
NETANYAHU: It says to me that the U.N. is a pretty good separation between consenting adults. If you have two governments who want to make peace between them and they put an U.N. tripwire basically symbolizing their agreement to make peace, then the U.N. works.
Anywhere where you have real combat, anywhere where you have real enemies, anywhere where you have a crazy outfit like Hezbollah, which is really a proxy for Iran that we`re talking about, then the U.N. is fairly useless. It doesn`t really get the job done, and that billboard was a perfect example.
BECK: I don`t mean to be crass here, but they were meat shields for Hezbollah over the summer. They were...
NETANYAHU: Well, you know that we had this whole war in the summer. And Lebanon was ignited by the kidnapping of a few of our soldiers.
NETANYAHU: The previous...
BECK: Which seemed to get lost in the shuffle.
NETANYAHU: Well, the previous kidnapping took place -- there was a previous kidnapping of three of our soldiers by Hezbollah, and the U.N. was there. You know what the U.N. did? They photographed it.
So what are they going to do, bring bigger cameras to photograph it, and to have bigger billboards? I mean, this is not -- I think the U.N. is of limited value. It started out as a wonderful idea, but the U.N. is a reflection of its components. And if there`s not enough political will to actively face down the extremists, the radicals, the murderers, the killers in the world, then the U.N. can`t really do the job. It`s left to the free societies to do it, unfortunately.
BECK: Then let me go here. We`re going to have to take a break, but when we come back I want the ask you about political will. There were a lot of us rooting for Israel over the summer and saw the way the war was fought and the saw the concessions made and were horrified. Your answer to that here in just a second.
BECK: Back with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Sir, I watched the fight this summer with great interest, and it didn`t take me very long to figure out -- I watched the events unfold. And within just a couple of days -- and, again, I`m a rodeo clown -- but it took me a couple of days to go, "Wait a minute. This is all about misdirection. This is all about Iran."
And for you to lose that war was pretty significant. And I don`t know if you perceive it as a loss, but it certainly was a shift of perception by the rest of the world. You seemed to be the "drive them all the way back to Saudi Arabia" kind of act. Did you perceive that as less than stellar?
NETANYAHU: It certainly wasn`t a victory. I think basically the war was not won because we lacked a strategy, and the strategy`s a very simple one. We faced about 5,000 Hezbollah, which are really Iranian forward infantry with missiles, when you -- in a war, in order to win, you take overwhelming force, with the firepower and mobility. You move very quickly at the enemy`s weakest point. That`s basically how you win wars.
And in our case, we went with almost the same number of troops against right into their gun sites. Not smart. We should have come from the behind, if you will, with 10 times the force.
BECK: So you would say that it was a lack of strategy. It wasn`t your catching our politically correct disease? You`re not fighting a war for media or anything like that?
NETANYAHU: I think the decisions, the strategic decisions were flawed. No, the people fought, even under bad strategy, the Israeli soldiers fought very, very well.
BECK: No, no, I don`t mean -- yes, yes, yes. I don`t mean that. I mean...
NETANYAHU: ... and ultimately defeated any Hezbollah that were there. But in order to crush an enemy, you have to find his weak point and apply maximum force, and that wasn`t done. And there`s a whole range of commissions now examining in Israel why it wasn`t done. But I think it was basically a problem of strategy and leadership.
BECK: Can either of us win against a foe that understands how to use media, how to manipulate it...
NETANYAHU: Yes, we can win. Of course we can win. We could have won that war. And the next time they do it, you know, if I have anything to do with it, I can guarantee you that the results will be different.
And I think the people in Israel have that power. The soldiers have that power. They have that fighting spirit and ability. But even the best of soldiers need to have the right guidance, the right direction.
And so I wouldn`t give up on the free societies, but we always learn. In history, we see that the free societies, they always get it at the end. But the question is: Do they need what Churchill called a jarring gong of self-preservation? You sort of have to be woken up from your stupor, from your sleep to realize that you`ve got a new Hitler around the block and you have to take action. Do you let him first demolish a few countries and a few millions of peoples?
I hope not. I hope that we have the ability to learn something from history. And certainly, I think that we`re facing a juncture of history unlike any other, where primitive religious creeds are trying to acquire the weapons of mass death. That has never happened before, because nuclear weapons have been around only for half a century. And now the most primitive creed on Earth is trying to get the most advanced weapons on Earth.
And we`d better wake up. We`d better hear the jarring gong of self- preservation and act to preserve our lives, our cities, our children, our civilization in time.
BECK: What is a sign that people can recognize here? What is it that you -- the first sign that you said, back in Israel in the day and you went, "Oh, boy, that`s not good." What is the sign that may be just beginning to hit over here, that people can recognize over here, and say, "Oh, wait a minute. I have noticed that." Do you remember the first signs you saw over Israel?
NETANYAHU: I think the most important thing to understand is that -- you know the best sign of how dangerous things are? That the president of Iran is not even trying to fake it.
You know, normally, if he wasn`t as fanatic as he is, he`d say, "Well, you know, yes, I think we could recognize Israel if it made the right concessions to the Palestinians." He`d play along; he`d play the game. He`d say, "We`re not really developing nuclear weapons. We just want nuclear energy for peace." You know, he`d say all that.
But that`s not what he`s saying. He`s saying -- and listen to him carefully. He`s saying, "We`re going to wipe Israel off the map. The Holocaust didn`t happen. America`s the great Satan. Iran will have the power to reshape history."
Now, a normal person would not say that. An insane person says that. In the 1930s, an insane person wrote in a book called, "Mein Kampf," "My Struggle," and that was Adolf Hitler. He said exactly what he would do. He was stark-raving mad, but he communicated.
You asked for a sign? That was a sign, 300 pages of signs, OK? Ahmadinejad every day is writing a page. He`s saying what he`s going to do. That`s the best sign. That tells you that there`s a fanaticism at work here which is not even calculating. He`s just going to do it. And let`s not enable him to do it. Let`s stop him.
BECK: It is interesting to me that "Mein Kampf" is "My Struggle." Jihad is "my struggle." Back in a moment.
BECK: Back with Benjamin Netanyahu. In the last break, you said that Islam is the most primitive religion.
NETANYAHU: I didn`t say that.
BECK: You didn`t say that?
NETANYAHU: No. I said that militant Islam is a primitive religion.
BECK: How much of...
NETANYAHU: Most Muslims are not part of this crazy creed.
NETANYAHU: You know, just like you have crazy creeds and crazy cults in Christianity or in Judaism, you have people who are crazy. The difference here is that here you have a crazy cult that is a small percentage, but these are very large numbers when you talk about a billion people. And it`s very violent, very violent, and it may get its hands on nuclear weapons. That`s the reason we`re discussing it.
BECK: All right, only time for one e-mail here. This is from Michelle in Ohio. She says, "I am just an average, middle-class mom and wife in America. What can I do to fight this extremist terrorism? I try to stay informed by listening to Glenn`s show and reading, but I feel helpless."
So many Americans feel this way. They don`t know what to do.
NETANYAHU: Well, they shouldn`t feel helpless, because the difference between this, what`s happening now and the 1930s, is that, at the time, America was an isolationist power and didn`t operate on the world stage. So as we were facing the tremendous fanaticism and destructive power of Hitler, there was no one to face up to him. France and Britain at the time did not have the kind of leadership or the kind of power to stop him.
The fortunate thing is that, in the first half of the 20th century, the dominant power in the world is the United States. And citizens like the one that wrote in do have power. You have representatives. You have a voice. You have Internet and you have congressmen and senators. Make your views known.
If citizens in a free society rise up, in a society like America rise up, and they say, "We want to act in time while action can be effective, while the danger can be stopped, before it gets out of hand," then America will act. And in that sense, I have the confidence that we live in a different age because we`ve already witnessed the horrors of the previous century and we know that we have to stop it. And that`s why it fills me with hope that action is possible.
BECK: We are up against the clock here. I`ve only got 15 seconds, but I want to thank you, sir. And thank you for joining us for this hour. And thank you for your service to, not only your country, but, I believe, the rest of the world, as well.
NETANYAHU: Thank you very much.
BECK: Thank you.
NETANYAHU: Thank you.