Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Using Hitler Analogy to Promote War with Iran Dangerously Wrong-For U.S. and Israel

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Using Hitler Analogy to Promote War with Iran Dangerously Wrong-For U.S. and Israel

Article excerpt

IN CERTAIN JEWISH circles, today's world is being compared to 1938, just before the Nazi assault on Poland began World War II.

An April conference in New York entitled "Is It 1938 Again?" featured such speakers as Norman Podhoretz, Alan Dershowitz, Hillel Halkin and Malcolm Hoenlein. Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has flatly declared: "It's 1938 again," and a fund-raising letter from the World Jewish Congress concludes: "Iran poses the greatest danger to the Jewish people since the Nazis came to power in the 1930s." Joining the chorus, an Anti-Defamation League fund-raising letter declares that, "ADL has taken a tough and principled stand against those who deal with demagogues like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad...We've put it to the world that Ahmadinejad must be isolated."

The Sept. 25 New York Times featured an anxious full-page ad paid for by the Anti-Defamation League about a nuclear-armed Iran, while an American Jewish Congress resolution urged that "military action" against Iran "be considered."

Not surprisingly, a particular advocate of strong action against Iran is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). According to a recent AIPAC letter, "Today the threats to Israel have never been greater?Iran is speeding up its nuclear weapons program. Now that the Iranians have the capability to enrich uranium, they have constructed more than 2,000 centrifuges and plan to have more than 8,000 centrifuges in operation by the end of this year...Do your part to stop Iran's rapidly accelerating nuclear weapons program..."

Norman Podhoretz, longtime editor of Commentary magazine and author of the recently published World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism-which he is now promoting before Jewish audiences across the country-argues that Iran poses an imminent threat. In a recent Commentary essay, he depicted President Ahmadinejad as a revolutionary, "like Hitler... whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it?with a new world order dominated by Iran?The plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force."

"I pray with all my heart," Podhoretz concluded, that President Bush "will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions toward both us and Israel."

Podhoretz told politico.com that he had met with the president for about 45 minutes to urge him to take military action against Iran and believes that "Bush is going to hit" Iran before leaving office.

The government of Israel is urging its American supporters to take a strong stand on dealing with Iran. Israeli Ambassador to Washington Sallai Meridor told the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in October that there is "very little time" left to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, and called for punitive sanctions against Tehran. Israel must always be ready to "pre-empt, to deter and to defeat, if we can," any threat, he said, especially from Iran.

The fact is, of course, that those who argue that "it's 1938 again" and advocate a pre-emptive war against Iran are totally unrepresentative of the thinking of the vast majority of American Jews, as well as of those Middle East specialists who genuinely seek a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Discussing the 1938 analogy in an article in the June 2007 issue of the Jewish magazine Moment, Leonard Fein, editor of Moment from 1985 to 1987 and now a columnist for The Forward, wrote: "If it weren't so pernicious, it would be downright silly?True, history can be a helpful teacher. But which yesterday should we choose to guide us? Is it Sept. 29, 1938, the day the Munich agreement was signed, or is it to be Sept. 13, 1993, on the south lawn of the White House where the Oslo accords were signed, or Nov. 6, 1995, the day Yitzhak Rabin was buried? …

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