Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo by AFP)
Speaking in a short video recorded on the sidelines of the anti-Iran meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday, hawkish Netanyahu said the eventis an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.
Netanyahus office posted the Hebrew-language video on Facebook and Twitter, in which he could be heard using the Hebrew word milchama, which literally translates to war.
It also tweeted Netanyahus remarks on its English-language Twitter account.
The Israeli premiers open call for war with Iran led to an uproar on social media and even startled the White House, which had earlier claimed the Warsaw forum was not meant to demonize or attack Iran.
The backlash prompted Netanyahus office to quietly delete the tweet and replace it with another one that changed the phrase war with Iran to combating Iran, without issuing a retraction or a correction of any kind.
Israeli media later attempted to portray Netanyahus gaffe as a mere translation blunder.
The US government quickly reached out to Israeli officials to ask for an explanation, according to NBC News.
American delegates traveling with Vice President Mike Pence — who is attending the summit in Warsaw, said that senior Israeli officials told the US that it was a matter of bad translation, the report added.
Senator Angus King, (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, rejected the idea that Netanyahu had simply been mistranslated, and said he knew what he meant.
An Associated Press correspondent based in Israel said that he had himself heard Netanyahu using the word milchama.
Last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Warsaw forum would purportedly focus on the important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.
Later, however, and as officials from various countries indicated their refusal to participate, US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said the meeting was not a venue to demonize or attack Iran, in an apparent about-face.
Tehran condemned the confab as a circus and summoned Polands envoy to protest the European countrys hosting of the event.