"It's 1938 -- and Iran is Germany," he repeated again and again as he addressed some 5,000 delegates attending the United Jewish Communities' General Assembly (UJC-GA) at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
"When someone tells you he is going to exterminate you, believe him and stop him," Netanyahu urged.
The Knesset opposition leader said he had been trying for a decade to warn world leaders that Iran represented the greatest threat, not just to Israel but also to Europe and America, "but nobody seems to care very strongly."
While Hitler started a war and then tried to develop an atomic bomb, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is building nuclear weapons first and then will start a war, Netanyahu said.
Even if Israel were to meet all Palestinian demands, or were to disappear altogether, Ahmadinejad would pursue his plans because he basically believes that the rise of the West has been a historical mistake which must be reversed.
The real threat to world peace is not Iraq or Al Qaeda, but Iran, though unlike 1938 and its aftermath, this time the Jewish people will not be the sacrificial lamb, Netanyahu declared to prolonged applause.
He urged all nations, for their own self-interest, to start now by supporting President Bush's pledge that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
Six Israeli cabinet ministers are attending the GA, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to address the meeting Tuesday afternoon. One Israeli official suggested jokingly that the next cabinet meeting be held in Los Angeles.
Minister of Tourism Isaac Herzog formally opened the Israeli Pavilion in the exhibit area Monday. He told reporters that Israel is launching a $9.3 million television advertising campaign in the New York, Los Angeles and southern Florida areas to shore up tourism in the wake of the war in Lebanon.
Israeli Consul General Ehud Danoch and his wife Miki hosted Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, other visiting Israeli dignitaries, and leaders of the Los Angeles Jewish and Israeli communities on Monday at his residence.