Let’s turn the tables for a moment.
Imagine if Ayatollah Ali Khameini was threatening to murder all blacks in the Middle East. What if he tweeted regularly that people of dark skin are of the devil and must be annihilated. Would the American government be negotiating with him? Or would we face international opprobrium for legitimizing a government with racist, genocidal intent against an identifiable ethnic group.
Or what if he was threatening to murder every fifth woman in the Middle East due to some ritualistic, orgiastic requirement of his demented worldview? Would we be dealing with this man prior to his repudiation of such murderous intent?
Why is it that threatening to murder the Jews is acceptable? Khameini has threatened to annihilate six million Jews in Israel at least as many times as Hitler himself threatened the extermination of European Jews in the 1920s and ’30s. In November he tweeted that “there is no cure for Israel utter than annihilation.” And here we are witnesses to the world’s foremost republic and sole superpower negotiating with a government with a clearly defined agenda of carrying out a second holocaust.
On MSNBC’s The Ed Show this week, I debated Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares about the Iran deal. We’ve had many debates on MSNBC over the last few weeks. He is an honorable opponent. But I made this point: How can we be legitimizing a government that openly and repeatedly calls for the extermination of all Israel’s Jews? Would we do the same if the Iranians called for the annihilation of another ethnic group, say, blacks in the Middle East. Gays in the Middle East? (Oh, Iran is already doing that!). Joe got upset and worked up. “Now wait just a minute.” But he didn’t answer the question.
There’s got to be one red line in world negotiations today, and that line has to be genocide. Any government that is engaged in genocide or that is building weapons to carry out a genocide or that is actively calling for a genocide cannot receive international legitimacy. It’s the reason we don’t talk to ISIS. Aside from its obvious brutality and beheadings, which Iran also practices, it is engaged in the wholesale slaughter of Yazidis and Christians. So why does the president of Iran get a phone call from President Obama joking about New York traffic when his government is repeatedly calling for the liquidation of all Jews?
And this is just one of the mystifying aspects of President Obama’s engagement in the Iran deal. The other: how could a leader who showed such courage and resolve in taking out America’s foremost enemy, Osama bin Laden, now surrender, capitulate to, and appease its foremost threat, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the terror overlord who just recently yet again promised “Death to America”?
Indeed, in full-page ads that our organization, the World Values Network, took out in the New York Times and the Washington Post, we put in a bold headline: Mr. President, Fighting al-Qaeda made you like Churchill. Appeasing Iran will make you like Chamberlain.
In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain believed he could satisfy Hitler’s ravenous ambitions with the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia in the infamous Munich Pact. The doomed agreement was endorsed by the New York Times as “the price for peace.” A more lamentable, discrediting editorial seldom has been written. The price turned out to be 60 million lives.
Today, the United States is on the verge of concluding a pact that will enable the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism to become a nuclear power, leaving Iran with a military-grade, 6500-centrifuge-strong enrichment capability, along with long-range missiles. Here is today’s “price for peace.”
But just as there was no “peace for our time” in appeasing Hitler in the 1930s, there will no peace by appeasing the Hitler-wannabe Khamenei in the 2010s.
The comparison is not extreme. Hitler publicly promised the extermination of the world’s Jews. Khamenei promises exactly the same.
President Obama is a historic figure, the first African-American president. Every year he honorably conducts a Passover seder in the White House. He is very familiar with the long, painful history of the Jewish people, later mirrored in the painful African-American experience.
I do not doubt that President Obama is a friend of the Jewish people, even as he has shown unfortunate and undisguised loathing for Israel’s elected leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. But the President is a witness to how Jews today are being murdered all the world over. He likewise understands that just 70 years ago, one out of every three Jews on earth was shot or gassed and cremated.
We need him to stand up for us. We need him to fight evil. Signing this calamitous Iran deal does precisely the opposite.
The president must demand that Khamenei personally and publicly repudiate all genocidal threats against Israel.
Second, he should demand that Iran, which has murdered thousands of American troops through Shi’a proxies and is called by your State Department the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism,” cease all support of terror worldwide.
Third, Before any deals are signed, the president should condemn stoning women and hanging gays. America cannot legitimize a government engaged in such barbarity.
Finally, the United States cannot sign a deal with a catastrophic one-year-weapons-breakout period that endangers America, Israel, and the world.
Iran now has control over five Middle Eastern capitals. President Obama himself said that its obtaining a nuclear weapon is “a game changer” for the world. Faced with a threat of this magnitude, the American people deserve the right to have the final say on any deal with Iran by allowing their elected leaders in Congress to vote. The plan now calls for taking it to the United Nations Security Council, where Vladimir Putin’s veto will decide the issue.
There are now some 65 senators prepared to vote for the Corker-Menendez-Schumer bill, which will require Senate review of the President’s arms-control treaty with Iran. Indeed, in all of American history there has never been an arms-control treaty that was not ratified by the Senate. This would be the first one.
There are also 367 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both parties, and many of Iran’s neighbors, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and others, who have expressed grave concern about the Iran deal.
Winston Churchill prophetically warned Neville Chamberlain: “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”
The shortest road to war is always the path of appeasement. It is a road we dare not choose, so that we are not confronted shortly with a much more ruinous Middle East war. Iran cannot be allowed to become a nuclear power.