Binyamin Netanyahu called a press conference on
September 11, 2001, at a time when he did not hold a
political position, and announced that he had
predicted attacks on the World Trade Center six
years before they had taken place.
Netanyahu distributed to the reporters copies of
pages of his 1995 book,
How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and
“After an interlude of several years in which the
vigil against terrorism was relaxed, new forces of
domestic and international terror have emerged,”
Netanyahu wrote in the book’s prelude. “Chief among
them are the various strains of militant Islam,
which likewise see their ultimate destiny as leading
to a final confrontation with the Great Satan, the
Later in the book, Netanyahu suggested that the
Iranians might use militants loyal to them in the
West to plant a nuclear bomb in the basement of the
World Trade Center.
“This may sound incredible or beyond the realm of
possibility,” Netanyahu wrote.
“Unfortunately, it is not. Anyone familiar with the
warped fanaticism and increasing technical
proficiency of Islamic militants cannot rule it out
as a growing danger.”
Netanyahu predicted at the September 11, 2001, press
conference that the day would be a turning point in
the history of the United States, similar to the
1941 Pearl Harbor attacks.
He used the press conference to attack plans for the
West Bank security fence, saying that Israel could
not build a fence taller than the Twin Towers.
American writer Daniel Pipes criticized Netanyahu in
a 2009 article for claiming to have predicted the
September 11 attacks.
“A nuclear bombing of the twin towers would have
rendered all of New York City uninhabitable for
generations,” he wrote. “The two airliners on 9/11
brought down the World Trade Center and destroyed
nearby buildings, but otherwise New York City
remains very much inhabited and alive today, a
dynamic world capital.”
Noting more recent claims by Netanyahu that he had
predicted “militant Islam bringing down the World
Trade Center,” Pipes’s verdict was that Netanyahu
did not predict 9/11.
“The discrepancy between the actual text of the 1995
book and recent claims reveals something small but
troubling about Netanyahu’s character, reminding me
of the politician who served unsuccessfully as prime
minister in the 1990s rather than an older and wiser
‘new Bibi,’” Pipes wrote.
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