"Believe him and stop him," the Israeli opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this."
In extraordinary interviews on Monday and Tuesday Likud leader, and former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu told a luncheon audience and a radio interviewer, "It's 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs."
Netanyahu repeatedly told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Los Angeles, which attracts 5,000 participants, "It's 1938 all over again."
President Ahmadinejad, in a series of talks -- perhaps responding to the increasing clamor from Israeli politicians currently visiting Washington and the U.S. -- declared that Israel was destined to "disappearance and destruction" and that Iran had full nuclear capability. "Time is running in our favor," he said.
The General Assembly, an umbrella organization of American Jewish communal organizations is a traditional pilgrimage for Israeli politicians of all shades of opinion.
According to an account by Peter Hirschberg, in Wednesday's Haaretz (An Israeli newspaper), Netanyahu amplified his remarks in an interview on Army Radio on Tuesday night.
Netanyahu insisted that Israel had the capability to wipe out Iran. "I don't want to analyze the capability required to eliminate [the Iranian nuclear] threat, but this capability exists...This capability is eroded over time, and if we wait years then obviously this capability would not exist anymore...but right now I disagree with the claim that nothing can be done against Iran."
When asked by Israeli radio host Razi Barkai if Bush could afford embarking on another "military adventure" after Iraq, Netanyahu replied,
"... Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran's tour of destruction, but at the planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year... [the arsenal] will be directed against 'the big Satan,' the U.S., and the 'moderate Satan,' Europe."
"Iran is developing ballistic missiles that would reach America, and now they prepare missiles with an adequate range to cover the whole of Europe," he added.
"No one cared then and no one seems to care now," he said, again drawing on the Nazi parallel - Netanyahu warned that Tehran's nuclear and missile program "goes way beyond the destruction of Israel - it is directed to achieve world-wide range. It's a global program in the service of a mad ideology."
"What happens in Iran affects what happens in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not the other way round," he said.
"There is still time. All ways (to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons) must be considered. We can't let this thing happen."
Current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert drew fire from Democrats Monday by publicly praising the war in Iraq after meeting with President Bush, who is trying to divert attention from the recent elections and the deteriorating situation in Iraq.
Clearly many Israeli leaders are panicked that the political fallout from the anti-war tsunami will weaken U.S. resolve. And an emboldened Amadinejad is giving them good reason. Expect a major PR effort to lobby for action against Iran.
It's a scary tinderbox.