Already famous ‘Bibi bomb’ said to be product of brainstorming by Israeli PM, close advisers; got exactly the attention Israel hoped for
The “Bibi bomb” was born of days of discussions between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a brains trust of close advisers on how to make a powerful impact in yet another speech on Iran’s nuclear program.
“The diagram made his address special,” a senior official in Netanyahu’s entourage said on Friday, referring to the cartoonish drawing of a bomb the Israeli leader used at the UN General Assembly as a prop to illustrate what he sees as Iran’s drive for an atomic weapon.
It may have raised a titter on Twitter, where the New Yorker magazine quipped, “If Wile E. Coyote ever gets hold of this, the Roadrunner is toast.” But the graphic got what Israel was hoping for – attention.
Such a Looney Tunes analogy would not have been lost on Netanyahu, who was educated in the United States, and at least one of his top advisers, Ron Dermer, who was born there and immigrated to Israel.
But on the world stage at the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu took out a marker and dramatically drew a red line just below a label reading “final stage” to a bomb, in which Iran would be 90% along the path to having sufficient weapons-grade material.
“I tried to say something yesterday that I think reverberates now around the world,” Netanyahu said at a meeting on Friday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Iran denies allegations by Israel that it is enriching uranium in order to build a weapon.
So who was the father of the “Bibi bomb?” The Israeli official would not say.
“He’s got a small group of close advisers,” the official said. “In different meetings, people throw out all sorts of ideas. Ultimately, the prime minister makes a decision which ideas to accept.”
The team met for days, proposing “countless drafts” and a decision was made that “by using the diagram, the people would get the message – people would understand”, the official added, calling the drawing “a useful tool.”
He said he did not know who actually drew the bomb or if it had been copied from a computer graphics program. And, as with any Netanyahu speech, it is unclear until the last moment what stays in and what is left out.
“He’s making changes until the very end. He was making changes as he was being introduced in Congress last year,” the official said about Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of the US legislature in May 2011.
Meanwhile, the United Nations on Friday called on all sides in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program to tone down “shrill war talk,” – the first UN reaction to clashes at the world body this week between Netanyahu and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“It’s obvious that harsh tones and rhetoric are not going to be helpful, that is quite clear,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said when asked about Netanyahu’s UN speech.
“What is also clear is that Iran needs to prove to the international community that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.”