Quote by Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu about Pakistan misrepresented
Benjamin Netanyahu clarified in 2011 he meant ‘a Taliban takeover of Pakistan’
Claim: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked in an interview, “What is the biggest problem facing the next generation and what should we do to solve it today?”. He responded by saying the main goal is to stop militant Islamic regimes from getting nuclear weapons and that Pakistan is one of the two countries which are a threat to Israel.
Fact: A crucial part of Netanyahu’s response was cut out, misrepresenting what he said. The Israeli prime minister did not say Pakistan was a problem to solve, rather, “The greatest mission that we have is to prevent a militant Islamic regime from meeting up with nuclear weapons or from nuclear weapons meeting up with a militant Islamic regime. The first is called Iran, the second is called Pakistan, or more specifically, a Taliban takeover of Pakistan.” He did not say Pakistan is a threat to Israel.
On 17 March 2023, Soch Fact Check received on WhatsApp a video showing an interview of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Along with the flag of Pakistan, the following phrases are superimposed on the video:
- “Netanyahu on Pakistan being a threat to Israel”
- “اسرائیلی یہودی وزیراعظم [Israeli Jewish Prime Minister]”
- “ہماری اگلی نسل کا سب سے بڑا مسئلہ کیا ہے اور ہمیں اسے کیسے حل کرنا ہے؟ [What is the biggest problem of our next generation and how do we solve it?]”
- “ہمارا سب سے بڑا مقصد ایک اسلامی ایٹمی طاقت کو روکنا ہے تاکہ وہ ایک مضبوط حکومت نہ بنا سکے۔ [Our main goal is to stop an Islamic nuclear power in order to prevent it from forming a strong government.]”
- “اور ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کو مسلمانوں سے اور مسلمانوں کو ایٹمی ہتھیاروں سے دور رکھنا۔ [And keeping nuclear weapons away from Muslims and Muslims away from nuclear weapons.]”
- “جس میں پہلا نمبر ایران ہے اور دوسرے نمبر پر پاکستان ہے [In which, the first is Iran and the second is Pakistan]”
Netanyahu — the chairperson of the Likud party, also known as the National Liberal Movement — has held the Prime Minister’s Office thrice: from June 1996 to July 1999, from March 2009 to June 2021, and from December 2022 to the present.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check reverse-searched keyframes from the clip and found the original interview in its entirety. It is available on החדשות, the YouTube channel of the now-defunct Hebrew-language Channel 2, or The Second Channel, here (archive).
The video — titled “YouTube World View Interview With PM Benjamin Netanyahu” — was uploaded on 31 March 2011 and has received more than 420,000 views to date. The interviewer was Israeli journalist Dana Weiss.
The transcript of the full interview is available on the website of the Government of Israel here (archive), published by the Prime Minister’s Office under ‘Events and Speeches’. The page specifies that it was aired during the 32nd government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
We found the following text, which is the full response to the interviewer’s last question, from the transcript linked above:
Weiss: “Let’s go to the third question and that would be: ‘What is the biggest problem facing the next generation and what should we do to solve it today?’ That’s a big question, but let’s see if you can try [and] give us an answer.”
Netanyahu: “I just gave the answer. I just said that the greatest mission that we have is to prevent a militant Islamic regime from meeting up with nuclear weapons or from nuclear weapons meeting up with a militant Islamic regime. The first is called Iran, the second is called Pakistan, or more specifically a Taliban takeover of Pakistan. Because if these radical regimes have nuclear weapons, they will not obey the rules that have been obeyed in the last almost seven decades. And they can threaten our world. So the first thing is to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. That’s mission number one and mission number two is to find a substitute for oil. That would make our planet safe, that would make our planet clean. These are the two great missions for our generation and the next one.”
The premier stresses that it is not Pakistan but “more specifically a Taliban takeover of Pakistan” that Israel would consider a threat.
Soch Fact Check concludes that the video is misleading as a crucial portion of Netanyahu’s response has been removed from it.
Conclusion: Netanyahu’s response was distorted and misrepresented. The Israeli premier actually states, “The first is called Iran, the second is called Pakistan, or more specifically, a Taliban takeover of Pakistan.” He emphasises that the threat is not Pakistan but “a Taliban takeover of Pakistan”.
Background image in cover photo: Cole Keister