A Modern-Day Hitler; Ahmadinejad Targets Jews

Article excerpt

Byline: Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

On Thursday, Jews celebrated Yom Kippur. A key component of this holiest of days is teshuva - repentance and the possibility of change. Our parents taught us that to wipe the slate clean we must detail our own misdeeds and dialogue face to face with those with whom we've been in conflict.

There are diplomats and religious leaders who believe that unconditional conversation is also the way to secure peaceful relations with Iran. The issue of how to engage the soon-to-be-nuclear Tehran is also a defining fault line between the competing foreign-policy visions of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.

Some analysis of recent events and an anniversary of a pivotal moment in history can help clarify the fine line between dialogue and appeasement. By any yardstick, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's trip to New York last month was a triumph for Ayatollah Khamenei and a debacle for the cause of human rights in Iran. At the rostrum of the U.N. General Assembly, President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann gave Mr. Ahmadinejad a public embrace usually reserved for a Nobel Prize laureate, not for the president of a country under heavy U.N.-led sanctions. His speech also generated warm applause from scores of ambassadors in the hall. But did anyone actually read his lips?

Mr. Ahmadinejad might as well have been reading from the genocidal Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was the Jew-hater's valedictory address. Having already threatened to wipe Israel off the map, Mr. Ahmadinejad graduated to the next level of hatemongering. Deploying rhetoric not heard in the international arena since the days of Hitler and using imagery usually reserved for the rants of the KKK and neo-Nazis, he came after all Jews. In the midst of the unprecedented global economic meltdown, Mr. Ahmadinejad pointed to a network of Zionists and their lackeys as scheming, materialistic villains responsible for the world's ills.

The mullahs must have taken smug satisfaction that their frontman paid no price for his tirade. No one stormed out of the General Assembly. American interviewers let him evade the tough questions, surrendering to his clever retorts by presenting the warm, human side of the person who recently pushed for the death penalty for Muslim converts to Christianity. And respected religious leaders, including the representatives of 550 million Protestants from the World Council of Churches, still lined up for a gala evening with Mr. Ahmadinejad. Hailed by the Mennonite and Quaker organizers as the dialogue dinner, the only dialogue available to the distinguished leaders was with the waiters. Despite his earlier promises, Mr. Ahmadinejad took no questions. Instead he spoke, feasted on the propaganda bonanza, and departed.

The net result was not dialogue, but appeasement. …