March 9, 2012

Auschwitz won't stop Iran

2009: Bibi proves the Holocaust was real...
I shouldn't have to say this, but: I take the Holocaust very seriously, and much of my schooling and my career has been devoted to studying and honoring the memory of the Holocaust.

Having said that, and setting aside my concerns with some of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's strategic and diplomatic behavior vis-a-vis Iran, he seems dangerously obsessed with applying Holocaust terminology to contemporary situations.

Sometimes, as I blogged last year, he has used the Holocaust to try and impress world leaders with the overwhelming evidence that the Holocaust is a historical fact, and that therefore Iranian President Ahmadinejad is lying... and that therefore Iran has no right to develop nuclear weapons. Right. The problem is, there are a few logical gaps there, beyond the fact that the United Nations -- where he delivered such a speech -- had already established a firm policy of Holocaust commemoration and condemning Holocaust denial. And Netanyahu played no part in that achievement (as reflected in his speech).

Evidently, the Prime Minister was looking to impress his voters back home, and it worked -- as usual. This is becoming a ritual for him, much like Rudy Giuliani trotting out 9/11 at every opportunity back when he was running for President.

Fast forward to last week's speech to AIPAC, when he again invoked the Holocaust as a reason for Israel to take matters into its own hands, an unmistakable reference to his well-known intention of launching an attack against Iranian targets. He gave the obligatory caveat: "2012 is not 1944.  The American government today is different." Gee, thanks.

So why mention the Holocaust at all? Why not mention 1967, when Israel attacked first and won? Why not 1973, when Israel waited and almost lost everything? Beyond his Israeli audience, he also knows that for many American Jews, Israel and the Holocaust are the main prism for their Jewish identity. That should be something an Israeli leader would want to discourage as holding back our Jewish FUTURE, but instead he milks it. Again and again.

The Holocaust is extremely significant for Jews and for many Gentiles alike. But the thousands of AIPAC guests and millions of Israelis are not the ones who need convincing, it's the Europeans and the leadership of Russia and China -- for starters. The Holocaust will not motivate them to impose tougher sanctions, let alone stand by while Israel launches a military attack. Israel's security and intelligence elite -- those who used to outrank Netanyahu when he was an officer in the field -- overwhelmingly oppose an attack because it's not feasible, won't make a lasting impact on Iran's program, and will provoke a region-wide conflict.

But wait a minute, did I mention... "Auschwitz"??

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