Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper
The Hill, Nov. 19, 2021
“… what did eight years of appeasement — led by the Obama administration and happily followed by Germany, Austria, France and the United Kingdom — yield? A free pass for Iran’s mullahs to continue to crack down on human rights at home; revenue from oil to free the regime to increase mayhem in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Venezuela; and the money necessary to further Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
Americans have been to this rodeo before. Then-President Obama was convinced that he could transform the Middle East and convince the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and theocracy in Iran to transform themselves into centerpieces of stability and reliability for the region and the Arab Muslim worlds.
To win over Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Obama administration negotiated a deal that would delay, but ultimately open the way for, a nuclear-armed Iran. Protests and warnings from Israel and the Gulf States fell on deaf ears.
The results? Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood took power and later was deposed. And what did eight years of appeasement — led by the Obama administration and happily followed by Germany, Austria, France and the United Kingdom — yield? A free pass for Iran’s mullahs to continue to crack down on human rights at home; revenue from oil to free the regime to increase mayhem in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Venezuela; and the money necessary to further Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
President Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action because Iran continued to violate its paltry terms. The Trump administration reimposed sanctions that have seriously damaged the Iranian regime’s game plan. By 2019, Iran’s oil exports were down 90 percent.
However, President Biden has chosen to pick up where President Obama left off. Like his former boss, Biden has decided to coddle Iran with the hope that it will adopt a moderate and moderating posture. The results thus far:
- Attacks on U.S. forces in the region by Iran have been met with stern words from the Pentagon but no action.
- Without receiving anything in return, the U.S. has quietly allowed China to buy oil from Iran, even though sanctions remain against Iran and any nation importing its oil.
- Worst of all has been Iran’s defiant resumption of production of advanced nuclear program parts.
All of this begs the question: What are the results of America’s systematically appeasing Ayatollah Khamenei?
First, it continues to roil and destabilize the Gulf and the Middle East. Every country in the region faces an existential threat from potential Iranian nukes. Iran continues to drive old enemies to set aside their differences to prepare for a possible war. There is no other way to interpret the photo of last week’s meeting between the heads of the Jordanian, Israeli and United Arab Emirates (UAE) air forces.
Second, Jews have learned the hard way to take verbal threats seriously. No one paid attention when a virtually unknown Adolf Hitler penned and signed a report in 1919 calling for a final goal to eliminate Jews altogether.
The next meeting with Iran is slated for Nov. 29. If convened, it is sure to drag on for weeks, possibly months. We soon will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, first slated for December 1941 but postponed to Jan. 20, 1942. There, 15 ministers of Germany’s Third Reich set in motion the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” Among the attendees, who included eight doctorates, discussions centered around the cheapest, most efficient way to murder every Jew in Europe, including those living in neutral countries. Over drinks, the conference attendees voted unanimously to unleash genocide against the Jews — without any reported protest from the academics and intellectuals.
The U.S. and Allied powers were fighting to defeat the Nazis militarily but did virtually nothing. Six million Jews were systematically murdered. Helpless, they were reduced to praying for rescue that never came from an uncaring world.
It would be a good idea for top U.S. officials — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whose stepfather, Samuel Pisar, survived the Holocaust — to study the Wannsee Conference protocols. The Jewish State was born on the premise that Jews never again will allow others to dictate their destiny when confronted with an existential threat.
And while U.S. policymakers and Europeans hungry to take advantage of Iranian markets can spin yarns of fancy that someday soon the Iranian regime might change its stripes, Israel cannot do so. It sees a fanatic Jew-hating, Holocaust-denying theocracy allied with Hezbollah and Hamas that seeks its destruction. Ayatollah Khamenei apparently has even endorsed the next “Final Solution” against the Jewish State.
We can only hope that the U.S. will rediscover its moral GPS and once again stand with its allies in the Gulf and the State of Israel against the pernicious threat from Iran. If President Biden continues down the path of appeasement, he could be creating his own “Munich moment.” But unlike 1938, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared that the Munich agreement with Hitler would lead to “peace for our time,” Biden’s appeasement would not lead to peace but, instead, an unspeakable conflagration.
Rabbi Marvin Hier is founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Center’s associate dean and global social action director.
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