Segments in this Video

Congressional Speech (05:28)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was determined to stop the nuclear deal between Iran and the Obama Administration. He gave a speech before the U.S. Congress, angering the president.

Netanyahu's Background (05:03)

In 1972, Palestinian militants hijacked an airliner; Netanyahu was part of the Israeli strike force that responded. Netanyahu's father Benzion brought his sons to America after not receiving tenure at the Hebrew University. Benzion viewed the world as hostile and eternally anti-Semitic; he told his sons they must protect Israel. (Credits)

Six-Day War (04:16)

In 1967, Arab armies amassed on Israel's borders; Israel had tripled in size by the end of the war. Netanyahu skipped graduation in America to dig trenches during the war. In a subsequent war, Netanyahu's brother Yoni was killed in action.

Political Rise (04:08)

Netanyahu Americanized his name and presented himself as a terrorism expert. He became an official spokesman at the Israeli embassy by the 1980s and a celebrity with the Jewish right in the U.S. At the age of 34, Netanyahu was appointed Israeli ambassador to the U.N.; he defended Israeli activities in the West Bank and Gaza.

Oslo Accords (03:40)

By the early 1990s, Israel was engaged in negotiations with Arab neighbors and the Palestinians. The Clinton Administration organized the ceremony for the document signing between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

Opposition to Oslo (06:03)

Netanyahu built a coalition in Israel that strongly opposed the Oslo Accord. Protests and demonstrations began, growing in intensity. During a large rally in Jerusalem, Netanyahu verbally attacked Arafat and the government of Rabin; violence erupted in the city center.

Rabin's Assassination (04:41)

Over 100,000 supporters sang at a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Yigal Amir killed Rabin; several people placed blame with Netanyahu. President Clinton spoke at Rabin's funeral services about letting go of hate.

Peres vs. Netanyahu (05:03)

President Clinton supported Shimon Peres and backed his campaign; Netanyahu was behind in the polls a week after Rabin's assassination. As Election Day neared, Hamas blew up commuter buses in Jerusalem; Netanyahu and the Likud Party gained ground.

Prime Minister Netanyahu (05:52)

In July 1996, President Clinton demanded Netanyahu continue the Oslo Accords and meet with Arafat; the meeting became contentious. Netanyahu met Arafat at the Erez Crossing and publicly shook his hand. Despite agreeing to further implement Oslo, Netanyahu "slow walked" the peace process.

Change of Political Power (04:23)

Some people from the conservative right worked with those from the Israeli left to oust Netanyahu. Ehud Barrak won the election and Clinton attempted to push through a peace deal between Barak and Arafat; Palestinians launched the Intifada. Netanyahu supporters believed he should return to power.

Shifting Political Culture (03:27)

Muslim extremists struck America on September 11, 2001; President Bush's response resonated with Netanyahu's world perspective. In Israel, violence continued while peace efforts collapsed and by 2008, Netanyahu prepared to run for prime minister; he met presidential candidate Barack Obama in Jerusalem.

New U.S. President (06:31)

Obama reached out to Muslims during his inauguration speech and his first presidential phone call was to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama believed he could help facilitate peace between Palestine and Israel and sought the efforts of George Mitchell. Netanyahu feared what Obama admired most in the Jewish community.

Progressive vs. Conservative (06:55)

Hamas controlled the Gaza and Israeli airstrikes continued; circumstances were not conducive to peace talks. Netanyahu became Prime Minister for the second time; Rahm Emanuel warned Obama about Netanyahu. Obama demanded a Jewish settlement freeze, surprising Netanyahu.

Cairo Speech (05:07)

In Egypt, Obama made an overture to the Muslim world; many aspects of the speech directly impacted Israel. Obama left the Middle East without visiting Israel; his advisors differed on this decision.

Popularity in Israel (03:17)

Netanyahu capitalized on Obama's decision not to visit Israel after his Cairo speech; right wing newspapers portrayed Obama as an enemy. George Mitchell visited Israel 19 times in two years and resigned in 2011. Obama's Middle East policy was in trouble and Jewish criticism mounted.

Arab Spring (04:27)

Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire and became a catalyst for revolution throughout the Middle East. In Tahrir Square, thousands protested President Hosni Mubarak and Obama demanded Mubarak resign; Netanyahu worried Muslim extremists would take hold.

Clash of Leaders (08:23)

Obama makes a speech about change in the Middle East and the 1967 borders. Netanyahu viewed the speech as an ambush and lectured Obama during his public visit the next day.

Iran/Israel Conflict (05:39)

Netanyahu focused on Iran and their nuclear arms race. Iran was entering the zone of immunity and Israel prepared to attack. Netanyahu asked Obama for assurance of U.S. support if Iran retaliated.

Political Tension During an Election Year (05:28)

Netanyahu made repeated public appeals for U.S. support against Iran. Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu and Netanyahu actively supported Mitt Romney. Obama won reelection.

Secret Negotiations (06:27)

Obama's staff engaged in talks with Iran without Netanyahu's awareness; Israeli intelligence discovered the meetings. Netanyahu spoke with the press before and after a meeting with John Kerry during his visit to Israel. He believed Obama would provide military support against Iran.

American Interests and Israel (06:33)

Obama sought U.S. public support of a deal that imposed limits on Iran's nuclear programs. In March 2015, Netanyahu made a controversial speech in Washington, appealing to Republicans. Violence returned to Israel and Palestinian territories.

Credits: Netanyahu at War (01:01)

Credits: Netanyahu at War

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most polarizing political leaders on the world stage. His hardline politics on Iran and Israeli-Palestinian affairs have won him both intense support and bitter criticism at home and abroad—all the more so after his dramatic attempt in March 2015 to derail President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran in front of the U.S. Congress.

Length: 114 minutes

Item#: BVL151236

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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