Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Victoria Day

May 18, 2015   Residents of New Westminster celebrated Victoria Day in a special manner.   We are the “Royal City”, because Queen Victoria personally gave us our name.   We continue to honour all our sovereigns on that day, with a 21-gun salute.   Since we have not had a functional cannon for a long time, we use two anvils.   Unique to New Westminster is the Ancient and Honourable Hyack Anvil Battery.   With great ceremony, they make the same celebratory salute.   Therefore, on Victoria Day, we again made some big noise in honour of the sovereign.  See pictures.

On the same day, the federal government issued the following on the occasion of Victoria Day:

Today, Canadians from across the country pause to officially celebrate the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.

This year marks an historic moment of tremendous significance for both our Queen and country.  On September 9, Her Majesty’s reign will officially surpass that of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, making her the longest reigning Sovereign in the modern era. 

For over 63 years, Her Majesty has served Canada and Canadians with wisdom, dignity and dedication.   It is for this reason that later this year, Canada will commemorate her historic reign in a variety of visible ways,

*-including the awarding of the first Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship to students for international exchanges across the Commonwealth

*-the issuing of commemorative coins by the Royal Canadian Mint

*-a stamp from Canada Post

*-a new $20 bank note from the Bank of Canada. 

Canada will also broadly distribute a special edition of its educational booklet on the Canadian Crown entitled “A Crown of Maples”, to new Canadians at citizenship court ceremonies.

As we move closer to celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, we are reminded of the many proud chapters of our history in which the Queen plays a pivotal role, thus emphasizing the central aspect of the Crown in both the daily life and the identity of our country.

On this Victoria Day, let us reflect on Her Majesty’s enduring service based on a deep affection for and unwavering dedication to this country.  We wish Her Majesty continued health and happiness in the years to come.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Canada Remembers Netherlands Liberation

May 4, 2015   A Canadian delegation is in the Netherlands this week to attend a series of ceremonies honouring the sacrifices Canadian soldiers made when they liberated the Dutch from Nazi occupation 70 years ago.

On Monday, the delegation of veterans attended a ceremony at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands.   I have been there previously, and it is a solemn place.   The cemetery is the final resting place for 1,393 Commonwealth soldiers who died during the liberation campaign.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said,  “The heroes who liberated the Netherlands, like the men and women who serve our country today, understood that when there arises a great evil, a threat to all the things that define our existence as a free and just people, such enemies must be confronted.”

In total, more than 7,600 Canadians lost their lives in the Netherlands between the fall of 1944 and May 5, 1945, when the Germans surrendered.   In honour of those Canadians, the veterans delegation is participating in 70th anniversary events throughout the week.  

In addition to the ceremony Monday, the Government of Canada hosted a ceremony of remembrance at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetary on Sunday, a liberation parade is planned for Tuesday, and a national street parade and liberation festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 9.

Source CTV 

Monday, 27 April 2015

May Day Community Heritage Picnic

May Day Community Heritage Picnic
 New Westminster Citizens Group Creates New “May Day Community Heritage Picnic”
Sunday, May 24, 2015

Century-old Royal City May Day traditions live on at free family event. 
Pack a lunch, wear your spring hats, and bring a smile.

Join local citizens at the first May Day Community Heritage Picnic
Sunday, May 24th from 1 – 4 p.m.
at the Armoury of The Royal Westminster Regiment (Queens Ave and 6th St).

The event is free, inclusive and open to all ages.
 For Information contact: Co-Chairs David MacGrotty or Karen Baker-MacGrotty royallancers@shaw.ca 604-526-2988

David MacGrotty, Chair of the Royal Lancers and his wife, Hon. Col. Karen Baker-MacGrotty have unveiled a plan to generate a positive outcome from the recent New Westminster Council decision to eliminate the historical dance performance at the City’s hosted banquet.

A new grass roots May Day Community Heritage Group, comprised of former May Queens, Royal Lancers, coordinators, business and community leaders has been formed.  This collaborative committee of dedicated citizens will work in partnership with key community organizations and local historians to help share the joys of May Day present and past.

While dealing with the recent public campaign to preserve the traditional Royal Lancers’ dance performance, the MacGrottys recognized something special happening in the Royal City.   “Not only did we see an overwhelming public outcry to protect the rich traditions of May Day, we noticed an intense outpouring of community pride.  The Royal City was buzzing everywhere - on the streets, in coffee shops and at meetings.  Phones were ringing, emails were circulating and social media was on fire.  This topic had sparked conversation, united families, old friends, and even strangers, all with a common bond of May Days past.   It was apparent citizens wanted to embrace and celebrate the positive aspects of May Day!   We also could no longer sit back to allow more than a century of tradition to disappear,” said Baker-MacGrotty.

There was an idea of a picnic last year, but was put it on the shelf.   The recent closed-door Council decision led to revisit the plan.   “While everyone is waiting for various Council meetings to take place, we want to create something positive to lift the spirits of all the impacted groups, the children, their families, their friends and the community as a whole. It is just the right thing to do!” stated Baker-MacGrotty

“The picnic concept recreates, in a small way, the early beginnings of May Day in the Royal City.  May Day is not only a celebration for children.  As we look back to the early days in our city’s history and the reason for the creation of May Day, you find it was a celebration of all ages with its purpose to build community spirit for the disheartened citizens at that time.  We want the celebration to be fun and lighthearted!  We invite everyone to join, including our City Mayor and Council.”

“Whether it was memories of dancing as a child, or as an adult participating only once or at many May Days, or even just seeing a family member or neighbour involved in May Day, we discovered a large community of like-minded people, all with a common bond.  The desire to protect our cultural heritage and build the positive experiences of the Royal City’s May Day for future generations could not be ignored,” stated Baker-MacGrotty.

“Simply talk to people about their May Day experiences and they light up with instant smiles, recalling the feeling of the dances, the magic of the light hearted music, the fun and the games. People reminisce about their families, their wonderful memories of visiting and coming together for a joyous and cheery day.  It is said, May Day brings out the child in all of us!  We hope the happiness and joyful innocence of our youth, will perpetuate throughout this event and overflow into the community!  Let’s all come together in celebration and harmony!”

Since introducing the idea of a May Day Community Heritage Picnic, the response has been overwhelming.  Offers of help have been pouring in.  “As an open and inclusive event, bringing together citizens of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicity, the community picnic will foster the bonds between families and neighbours and help bridge the gap between youth and seniors,” stated Royal Lancers Chair David MacGrotty.  “It will have a positive impact on the social fabric of our citizens.  We want everyone to be happy!  This is our first event, and with less than a month to May Day, we will start small and simple.  We hope it will continue annually for many years to come!”

Further details will be announced in the coming weeks. Watch for updates.

For Information contact: Co-Chairs David MacGrotty or Karen Baker-MacGrotty royallancers@shaw.ca 604-526-2988

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Economic Action Plan 2015 (EAP) Budget

In keeping with a pre-budget tradition, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver purchased a pair of new shoes Monday, opting for runners from the "New Balance" brand.

Oliver bought the black shoes, trimmed in Tory blue, at a store in north Toronto while journalists looked on.  This year, Joe Oliver sported a pair of “New Balance” runners to tout his government’s “action plan”, and first balanced budget since the 2008/09 recessions.

The late Jim Flaherty, who delivered his final budget last year, once got his shoes resoled instead of new ones to reflect his fiscal plan to rein in spending when the world economy went sour.

The new path, fresh start for the road ahead, new shoes tradition, started in the 1950’s.

A few highlights

Economic Action Plan 2015 (EAP)  supports jobs and growth, helps families and communities prosper, and ensures the security of Canadians.

Existing income splitting for families will be expanded.

The enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit will increase to $160 per month for families with children under six, and add a benefit of $60 a month for children between six and 17.

Families will also see a tax break with a $1,000-increase to the maximum amount that can be claimed under the Child Care Expense Deduction, which comes into effect next year.

For seniors, the government is reducing the minimum withdrawal required from retirement savings funds and introducing a tax credit to help cover the cost of home accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps and stair lifts.

The budget also increases the annual contribution Canadians can make to their tax-free savings account. The new limit is $10,000 a year, which targets older, more established workers with higher incomes.

The budget extends the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits from six weeks to six months. This will help Canadians caring for gravely ill family members such as elderly parents and families providing homecare.

Benefits for Veterans.   They include a new retirement income security benefit for disabled veterans that extends beyond their 65th birthday, ensuring that reserve veterans get access to the same benefits as regular forces troops, and a $70,000 tax-free benefit for severely disabled and traumatised veterans.  In total, the government says it is spending about $2.5 billion over six years on new benefits for veterans.

The government is committing $2.3 billion over the next four years to support affordable housing, which was a key recommendation of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Cities will be able to apply for transit infrastructure money under a new transit fund, which will provide $750 million until 2019, then $1 billion annually on a permanent basis. The government will favour public-private partnerships, and make payments over 20 or 30 years.

Friday, 3 April 2015


* Easter gives the world hope

In tough times, Easter gives the world hope that this earth isn’t our forever home.   That inspirational hope is essential to our faith.  God is, and is engaged with His creation.

* Easter brings families together

Easter is an amazing occasion for celebration and remembrance all across Christianity.   It is an opportunity to bring everyone in your life together to worship, to be thankful, and learn the values of  productive living.

* Easter gives us reason to sing

Many beautiful hymns and songs have come about as a result of Easter, so enjoy singing them this year.  Spring is the time to sing, as the birds sound renewed melodies.

* Easter gives us a chance to pause

Celebrating Easter gives us a chance to stop and remember all that Christ sacrificed for us, and what really is the way, the truth, and the life.   Remembering brings thankfulness.

* Easter gives us a chance to have community

While Easter is as commercialized as any major holiday, it has produced its share of fun and meaningful social traditions.   We all have great memories of an Easter egg hunt or a parade.

* Easter gave us everything

Without Easter there would be no Christianity and positive philosophy of life.   Belief in the resurrection is what keeps the inner faith going, and then positively impacting people by the millions.


Easter (Old English usually Ēastrun) also called Pasch (derived, through Latin: Pascha and Greek Πάσχα Paskha) or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary Jerusalem.  

The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.   In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday.

Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow the only cycle of the sun; rather, its date is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar.   It has come to be the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March, but calculations vary in East and West.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar.   In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are identical or very similar.    Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb.   The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide.   Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and non-Christians which may include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades.   There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.

The New Testament states that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith.   The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God (and also God) and is cited as proof that God will judge the world in righteousness.   God has given Christians "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead".   Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of life.

Easter is linked to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection.   According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as he prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper.   He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed.   St.Paul states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are.   For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb.

(text from many sources)

Friday, 27 March 2015

The NDP supports terrorists ?

The NDP Leader seems to be supporting terrorists.  Thomas Muclair appears foolish and small-minded in the Commons, as revealed in the exchange below.   Mulcair is rebuked by the Speaker for his words.  However the CBC TV tried to misrepresent the exchange, into one of support for Mulcair, when in fact upon examination of the full transcript below, it is Mulcair who lost his grip on his Parliamentary behaviour, and thereby demeaned all Canadians with his performance. (Paul Forseth)

House of Commons Debates




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

National Defence
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the foreign affairs minister claimed that Canada's legal basis for bombing in Syria was “the same basis as the Americans”.  The United States justification for war in Syria is that it is defending the Iraqi government.
    Does the Prime Minister stand by that?

    Mr. Speaker, I have already made it very clear that Canada will pursue its air campaign in Syria on the same legal basis that our allies have been pursuing that campaign without challenge for the past several months.
    Our position is that ISIL should be given no safe refuge in Syria. The fact that Canada and its allies strongly oppose the Assad regime is, of course, absolutely no reason to allow ISIL safe haven in Syria, from which it could launch attacks against others.

    Mr. Speaker, precisely in Samantha Power's letter to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon on September 23, she says that that is the American justification; that they are helping Iraq and it is at the request of Iraq that they are going into Syria.

The question for us, then, is this:  Did Canada receive a formal request for military intervention in Syria from the Iraqi government, yes or no?

    Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat my answer.
     The Government of Canada is pursuing the Islamic State in Syria on the same legal basis as our allies. They have been pursuing that campaign without challenge over the past several months, and we accept that.
    With regard to the specific question, the Iraqi government has expressed its support for our actions and those of our allies. Obviously, our motivation is to protect our country from this terrorist caliphate.

    Mr. Speaker, that means the answer is no. They never received a request for military intervention in Syria from Iraq, unlike the Americans, who indicated as much in their letter to the United Nations.

Let us stay with the United Nations because the Prime Minister says that he is following the U.S. model here. The United States wrote to the Secretary-General, as required under article 51 of the UN charter, and laid out its legal case for its planned intervention in Syria.
    Has the Prime Minister written to the United Nations, laying out Canada's justification for its planned intervention in Syria?

    Mr. Speaker, the government is pursuing this action on exactly the same legal basis as its allies.
     I am not sure what point the leader of the NDP is ultimately making. If he is suggesting that there is any significant legal risk of lawyers from ISIL taking the Government of Canada to court and winning, the Government of Canada's view is that the chances of that are negligible.
    We are clearly defending not only the wider region, but—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Order, the hon. Leader of the Opposition.
    Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Speaker, extraordinary. Living in a Canada where that sort of idiocy passes for argument in the House of Parliament.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The Speaker: Order, please. I know that the hon. Leader of the Opposition will want to avoid using terminology like that which can cause a great deal of disorder.
    The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
Citizenship and Immigration
    Mr. Speaker, today, the Punjab Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous motion calling on Canada to apologize for the Komagata Maru incident.
    The Komagata Maru is a dark moment in Canadian history. The ship was turned away simply because its passengers were from India. Upon returning home, many were arrested or killed.
    Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing, acknowledge this horrific tragedy, and apologize in this House for the Komagata Maru?

    Mr. Speaker, the NDP knows that Canada and Canadians have appropriately acknowledged that incident for some time.
    I would be remiss if I did not return to the previous exchange, and while I obviously will not repeat the terminology used by the leader of the NDP, if his idea of protecting Canada's national interest is that we do not do everything in our power, legally, militarily, and in terms of co-operation with allies, to defend the interest of this country against the terrorist caliphate, he and I obviously have very different ideas of what the national interest of this country is.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Saint Patrick's Day - March 17

St. Patrick's Day in Canada is strange when one thinks about it, yet it is fun.   Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick", is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church.   The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.   Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.   Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday's tradition of alcohol consumption.

Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland-Labrador, and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat.   It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.    

St Patrick's Day is not a public holiday in the rest of Canada, but it is a fun theme to celebrate.   Some organizations arrange St Patrick's Day parties, but these do not disrupt normal affairs.   Public transport services run on regular timetables.   Some cities have parades or large public events.

In Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, St. Patrick's Day parades are held, often on the Sunday closest to March 17.   The parade in Montreal has been held since 1824.   The first recorded celebration of St Patrick's Day was in 1759 by Irish soldiers following the British Army conquest of  New France (Quebec).   The Irish Association of Manitoba organizes a three-day festival of Irish culture in the week of St Patrick's Day.

People who enjoy Irish culture may hold Irish themed parties and serve traditional dishes, such as Colcannon or Irish stew.   Colcannon is mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage, and Irish stew is traditionally made with lamb and root vegetables.   Traditional Irish drinks include stout, a dark beer, and whiskey.   Other parties may be themed around the color green.   Guests may be expected to wear green clothes, and only green food and drink is served.

From the Coliseum in Rome to hotel towers in Abu Dhabi to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, landmarks and buildings around the globe will be lit green in honour of the Irish. Waterways were dyed green in Chicago and parades were held everywhere from Tokyo to Toronto.

How is it that a day originally meant to honour the patron saint of one small country, has become a global phenomenon that celebrates all things Irish, marked by millions of people who don't have a trace of Irish blood?   Ireland's culture and history are cause for worldwide merriment.   To understand why, one must look to the United States.   That's where the version of St. Patrick's Day that is known and celebrated today, really has its roots.

St. Patrick's Day was originally a religious event before Irish immigrants in the U.S. "refined, repackaged, re-imagined it as an American day."   The result was then exported back to Ireland, and the new St. Patrick's Day tradition has spread around the world.

March 17 started as a religious feast day in the 17th century, marking the death of St. Patrick, who is credited with spreading Christianity in Ireland.   It was a sombre day when people would go to mass, not to the pubs, which were closed.

Meanwhile, Irish immigrants in the U.S. began their own St. Patrick traditions in the 18th century. A group of Irishmen first gathered for a celebratory dinner in Boston on March 17, 1737.   The parade tradition was born about 30 years later in New York City in 1766 when Irish Catholic members of the British army took to the streets.   The Irish started parading on St. Patrick's Day as a way of declaring their ethnicity.   Not all Irish immigrants to the U.S. were involved.   They were characterized by some as drunken, violent and disease-carrying.  But the parades offered Irish-Americans an opportunity to showcase their pride and cultural background.   As more immigrants arrived they felt strength in numbers, and the Irish started climbing the social ladder, moving into positions of social prominence.

They kept marching, in more cities, in more public spaces, and not just in typically Irish neighbourhoods.   A key reason St. Patrick's Day grew out of the U.S. was the notion of hyphenated identity.   The Irish were proud of their old country and patriotic about their new one (USA) and were able to comfortably express those feelings.   The U.S. was a nation full of immigrants and accustomed to the idea of varied historical identities, whereas the Irish diaspora in other countries couldn't as easily put their pride on display.

A network of clubs and societies, the influence of Irish businessmen, and pride passed from one generation to the next, all helped spread Irish culture across the U.S.   By the 1920s, St. Patrick's Day in the U.S. was beginning to show the “Hallmark Card” effect, evolving into something more commercial.   In Ireland, it was still a serious day that did include parades, but they were military and official ones, not entertaining float-filled fun for kids.

It wasn't until the 1960s that the celebratory style of St. Patrick's Day took hold in Dublin -and the pubs were opened for business.   In 1996, Ireland began celebrating its multiday festival.   By then, McDonald's had been serving green Shamrock Shakes for more than 20 years in the U.S.

Ireland's government now takes full advantage of the world's attention on March 17.   Its ministers fan out across the world on trade missions and high-level political meetings.   Prime Minister Enda Kenny is in Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama and others.

Irish people think it's great to celebrate their country, but not if it's only wrapped up in shamrock stereotypes and partiers falling down drunk after too many green pints.   Wherever green pints are being served, those downing them likely don't know they have the USA to thank for helping make Ireland's day, an international event.

It is a fun day in Canada, which helps break the boredom of grey weather and a delayed spring season. 
(from varied public media sources)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A most important speech for our time.

A most important speech for our time.  We need to read from original sources, rather than only infer about content from media commentators.  In my view, this is a great speech that is timely.  It is important to understand why it was needed, and what we should take from it for our own lives. PF
       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

March 03, 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speech to Congress, Washington DC
(to a joint meeting of Congress in the Congressional Chamber )

Thank you.

My friends, I'm deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy.   I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political.   That was never my intention.   I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics.   It must always remain above politics.

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope.   Israel is grateful for the support of American -- of America's people and of America's presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.   Now, some of that is widely known.
Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.   Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.   In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.   Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.   And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.   But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

Thank you, America.   Thank you for everything you've done for Israel.   My friends, I've come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.   We're an ancient people.   In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.   Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we'll read the Book of Esther.   We'll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago.   But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.   Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us.   Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology.   He tweets that Israel must be annihilated -- he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn't exactly free Internet.   But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.   For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran's chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem.   The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran's regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They're heirs to one of the world's great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots -- religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran's borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to "export the revolution throughout the world.''

I'm standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that. Iran's goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world's oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That's just last week, while they're having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran's attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real. Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaeda bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C. In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran's aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

We must all stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani's government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before. Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I'd like to see someone ask him a question about that. Iran's regime is as radical as ever, its cries of "Death to America,'' that same America that it calls the "Great Satan,'' as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn't be surprising, because the ideology of Iran's revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that's why this regime will always be an enemy of America. Don't be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn't turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember -- I'll say it one more time -- the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can't let that happen.

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them. Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don't need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it. Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran. The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed. Because Iran's nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran's break-out time would be very short -- about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel's. And if -- if Iran's work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter. True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran's nuclear program and Iran's adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here's the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don't stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn't stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb. Now, we're warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs. Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It's done that on at least three separate occasions -- 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock -- as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught -- caught twice, not once, twice -- operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn't even know existed. Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don't know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, "If there's no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn't have one.'' Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that's why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it's the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It's a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran's nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs. Iran's Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount -- 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires. Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy. And by the way, if Iran's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb. So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don't believe that Iran's radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite -- would only wet Iran's appetite for more. Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it's under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism? Why should Iran's radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world's: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel's neighbors -- Iran's neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it's been given a clear path to the bomb. And many of these neighbors say they'll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won't change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that's supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet. This deal won't be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks -- if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we'll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I've come here today to tell you we don't have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don't have to gamble with our future and with our children's future. We can insist that restrictions on Iran's nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second... Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state. Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn't change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

My friends, what about the argument that there's no alternative to this deal, that Iran's nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do? Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn't get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can't drive. A pilot without a plan can't fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can't make nuclear weapons.

Iran's nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table -- and this often happens in a Persian bazaar -- call their bluff. They'll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. My friends, for over a year, we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it.

Now we're being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That's just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal. A better deal that doesn't leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in place until Iran's aggression ends.

A better deal that won't give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country... ... no country has a greater stake -- no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don't have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, "never again.'' And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

This is why -- this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel. You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history's horrors.

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.'' My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.  You're wonderful. Thank you, America. Thank you. Thank you.