‘Does Israel Have The Right To Exist?’: Benjamin Netanyahu (Transcript)

Transcript of Jordan B Peterson’s podcast titled ‘Does Israel Have The Right To Exist?’. Here Dr Jordan B Peterson and Israel Prime Minister-Elect Benjamin Netanyahu discuss the history of Israel, its status as an embattled nation, the importance of the struggle for statehood, why and how the PM came back from political demise, and his vision for the future.


DR JORDAN B PETERSON: Hello, everybody watching and listening. I’m always excited to talk to the guests that I’m talking to, which is why I bring them on the podcast to begin with.

But today we have something that I think is unique. I’m going to be speaking with Benjamin Netanyahu, who was recently re-elected as Prime Minister of Israel. This is a very interesting development as far as I’m concerned. It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to speak with someone who is a sitting head of state or soon will be. And I think the reason that that’s relevant and worthy of note is because it’s one of the markers for the development of a new kind of political dialogue.

We’re in a situation now where it’s possible to sit with a political leader and have a genuine conversation for a long period of time. We’ll go at least 90 minutes unscripted so that there’s no soundbite quality or editing to it. You just get the unvarnished words of someone who’s in a position to make decisions that affect all of us. And so I’m very excited about this.

I’ll read the bio and then we’ll go on to the interview. Benjamin Netanyahu, as I said, was recently re-elected as Prime Minister of Israel. Having previously served in the office from 1996 to 1999 and 2009 to 2021. From 1967 to 1972, he served as a soldier and commander in Sayeret Matkal, an elite special forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces. A graduate of MIT, he served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN from ‘84 to ’88 before being elected to the Israeli parliament as a member of the Likud party in 1988.

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He has published five previous books on terrorism and Israel’s quest for peace and security. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Sarah. In his newest book, Bibi:My Story, the newly re-elected Prime Minister tells the story of his family, his people, his path to leadership, and his unceasing commitment to defending his country and securing its future.

Hello, Prime Minister Netanyahu. Thank you very much for agreeing to talk to me tonight. I’ve been reading your book, your new book, Bibi: My Story. And it weaves an interesting personal tale, familial tale, and political cultural tale all together. There is one particular element of it I wanted to begin discussing with you that’s I think of broad interest.

One of the things I realized when I was reading was just how ignorant I am in some fundamental sense about the history of the development of the Jewish state of Israel. And I know that there’s tremendous constant noise about issues as fundamental as Israel’s right to exist even.

And you start by talking about, in your book, you embark on explaining that at least in some part by talking about Herzl and his terror that anti-Semitism, that the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe was going to cause a catastrophe, which was obviously a justified terror. Would you be kind enough to walk me and my viewers and listeners through your rationale for the moral justification for Israel, the political justification as well?

And I’m going to do what I can to my limited ability, let’s say, to push back. I’ve heard the arguments of often young people who are more prone to give credence and sympathy, say, to the Palestinian viewpoint. I’d like to rectify my ignorance and maybe help my viewers and listeners do the same thing. So would it be useful to start with Herzl?

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