Can a nuclear attack on Israel be compared legitimately with the Holocaust?

It can be and should be.

According to this article by the editor-in-chief of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech

moved closer than ever to the point of no return en route to war with Iran.

Netanyahu compared Iran to Nazi Germany, its nuclear facilities to death camps, and his current trip to the White House to a desperate plea to former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt by the U.S. Jewish community to bomb Auschwitz.

. . . .

The Holocaust talk has but one meaning: they force Israel to go to war and strike the Iranians. The justifications against an attack, weighty as those may be, turn to fumes when put up against the Warsaw Ghetto, Auschwitz, and Treblinka. No calculus of missiles falling on Tel Aviv, rising oil prices and economic crisis can hold water when compared to genocide. If that’s the situation, the option of sitting quietly, expecting the “world” to neutralize Iran, or of a stable balance of terror, becomes nonexistent. If Netanyahu doesn’t act and Iran achieves nuclear weapons capabilities, he’ll go down in history as a pathetic loud mouth. As a poor man’s Churchill. (Emphasis added)

With all due respect to the Haaretz editor-in-chief, it seems unlikely that PM Netanyahu compared, or intended to compare, rising gasoline prices, closure of the Straits of Hormouz or even a resulting economic crisis to the Holocaust. There is no such comparison to be made.  Here is what he said. The focus was on an Iran armed with nuclear weaponry.

We are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; we leave all options on the table; and containment is definitely not an option.

The Jewish state will not allow those who seek our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal.

. . . .

Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the belief that the world’s most dangerous regimes won’t use the world’s most dangerous weapons.

And I promise you that as Prime Minister, I will never gamble with the security of the State of Israel.

. . . .

Iran calls for Israel’s destruction, and they work for its destruction – each day, every day.

This is how Iran behaves today, without nuclear weapons.  Think of how they will behave tomorrow, with nuclear weapons.  Iran will be even more reckless and a lot more dangerous.

There’s been plenty of talk recently about the costs of stopping Iran.  I think it’s time we started talking about the costs of not stopping Iran.

A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically increase terrorism by giving terrorists a nuclear umbrella. Let me try to explain what that means, a nuclear umbrella.

It means that Iran’s terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas will be emboldened to attack the United States, Israel, and other countries because they will be backed by a power that has atomic weapons.  So the terrorism could grow tenfold.

. . . .

I want you to think about what it would mean to have nuclear weapons in the hands of those who lead millions of radicals who chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

When you think about that you’ll reach a simple conclusion: for the sake of our prosperity, for the sake of our security, for the sake of our children, Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons!

Image of Tel Aviv via Wikipedia

Tel Aviv, a likely place for an Iranian nuclear attack, is the second most populous city (404,400) in Israel and is at the center of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area (population 3,325,700) which houses about 42% of Israel’s population.

Jewish population

Kerem HaTeimanim, a predominantly Yemenite Jewish district of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is an ethnically diverse city. The Jewish population in Tel Aviv consists of immigrants from all parts of the world and their descendants, including Ashkenazi Jews from Europe, North America, South America and South Africa, as well as Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews from Southern Europe, North Africa, India, Central Asia, West Asia,and the Arabian Peninsula. There are also a sizable number of Ethiopian Jews and their descendants living in Tel Aviv.

Non-Jewish population

In Addition to the Muslim and Arab Christian minorities in Tel Aviv, There is [sic] also several hundred Armenian Christians who are concentrated mainly in Jaffa and some Christians from the former Soviet Union who immigrated to Israel with Jewish spouses and relatives. In recent years Tel Aviv has received many non-Jewish migrants, students, foreign workers (documented and undocumented) and refugees from Belarus, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Cyprus, Estonia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, India, the Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kurdistan, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, the UK, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. There are many refugees from African countries located near the Central Bus Station.

Here is what PM Netanyahu said about oil:

A nuclear-armed Iran could choke off the world’s oil supply and make real its threat to close the Straits of Hormouz.

If you’re worried about the price of oil today, imagine how high oil prices could get once a nuclear-armed Iran starts blackmailing the world.

Addressed to a world community that may not much care about what happens to Israel, that hardly seems to have been within the context of his Holocaust remarks.  Nor is even the probability that Iran and her various proxies will continue to shower errant missiles on Israel comparable. However, the use of an Iranian nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv or elsewhere in Israel would be rather more serious and to that the comparison is entirely appropriate.  The possibility of Iran doing so is far from remote, as witness multiple statements by the Iranian leadership, such as it is, concerning her intentions to wipe Israel and Jews from the face of the earth. Iranian rantings, insane though they seem, are no less so than those of Herr Hitler during the 1930s. They were taken seriously only belatedly and many lives were lost in consequence.

It has been said that the Iranian leadership are “rational.” They may well be. However, there can be rational responses to gross misconceptions of fact. If I mistake a sleeping kitten on my sofa for a rabid tiger about to attack me, my reaction of shooting it– although rational in light of my perception — would generally be viewed as that of a mentally deranged person.  Prior Iranian responses to the efforts of some in the world community to force her to halt her efforts to obtain nuclear armaments, through diplomacy and sanctions, may have been based on her rational calculations that those efforts would hurt neither Iran nor her leadership significantly and that her efforts could continue unabated, while using talk and endless negotiations to continue to buy enough time for her nuclear efforts to come to fruition.

It is certainly to be hoped that Iran takes PM Netanyahu’s comments literally and seriously. They were spoken neither in jest nor as statements he would eventually recant under pressure from President Obama or others. If Iran misinterprets those words, Israel will act because she has to. To do otherwise would be to accept the inevitable in Holocaust fashion, as did many Jews and others put to death with little resistance; they had no viable alternative.  Israel does have viable alternatives and, should it become necessary to preempt nuclear attack by Iran and/or her proxies, that is what she must do. Mere words and sanctions from the “international community” will not obviate that necessity.  Credible threats of force, rather than posturing, could well have a better chance of success than continued diplomatic words and gestures.

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About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
This entry was posted in Ahmadinejad, AIPAC, Appeasement, Chamberlain, Conservatives, Facts, Freedom, Haaretz, History, Iran, Israel, Netanyahu, Nuclear weapons, Obama, Peace, United States and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Can a nuclear attack on Israel be compared legitimately with the Holocaust?

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  4. Pingback: Keep up the great work, Haaretz. May Allah bless you.

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  7. Dan, the points that needed to be made here, you made. However, being an agnostic, you left out one salient feature of Iranian politics that is driving it and the rest of us to the lips of a nuclear catastrophe. Ahmadinejad and his bosses are playing messianic politics. They are positing as their cause the return of the twelfth imam foretold as the messiah of the Shi’a. This is the reason that, whatever they do, they will not hit Jerusalem with a nuclear bomb, even though they may hit, or seek to hit, Tel Aviv with one.

    Elsewhere, I have made the case for Israel striking first – nuking Tehran and Qom at the minimum – for the sake of its own survival. But few want to even consider my words.

    So, we will have to hope that Mr. Netanyahu will actually attack Iran. I doubt, for all of his tough talk, that he will. He has not displayed the balls to fight an enemy – except to bully, cheat and lie to fellow Jews. The man is a terrible disappointment.

    Iran is playing for keeps – and you will see that on 20 March, when they cease using the American dollar altogether to sell petroleum products. They are now the cat’s paw in a Russian and Chinese attempt to castrate the United States. To them, you are the BIG SATAN. We Jews are merely the Little Satan. Do not ever forget that.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ruvy. As usual, I agree with much of it. You say, Ahmadinejad and his bosses are playing messianic politics. I agree, and also agree that I should have dealt with that in my article. The messianic aspects quite likely indicate that the leaders in Iran would willingly sacrifice the lives of many of their subjects — and possibly even their own lives — to destroy Israel. Surely, PM Netanyahu is aware of that and so, perhaps, is even President Obama. Despite his ideological blinders, he may have some vague sense of it.

      I have a sense that President Obama’s focus is on being reelected this year; that may well be his only focus. An attack on (or for that matter by) Iran would likely raise gasoline prices significantly. Should it happen before November, that would be bad for his campaign even though higher oil prices are what he and Secretary Chu had previously claimed to be desirable and that is a goal apparently sought to be achieved by the Obama Administration. There is also a bit of war weariness in the United States, as there was in Great Britain and in much of Europe in the years leading up to WWII. If President Obama can at least delay an attack on (or by) Iran until after the election in November, he may well pull off a victory. Then, he will be free to do pretty much whatever he wants no matter what happens, with or without a compliant Congress.

  8. Pingback: Can a nuclear attack on Israel be compared legitimately with the Holocaust?

  9. Pingback: Opinion Forum » Can a Nuclear Attack on Israel Be Compared Legitimately with the Holocaust?

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