Friday, April 24, 2009

Granting Ahmadinejad "Living Victories"

The Canadian Jewish theologian Emil Fackenheim, a rabbi and Shoah survivor, died in 2003, not so long ago. When he is remembered, it is mainly for what he called “the most important thing I ever said.”

He had, like many survivors, been unable to address the Shoah for decades thereafter. Finally, though, in a meeting just before the 1967 war—and perhaps inspired by the threat to Israel’s existence at that time—he told a meeting in New York that a central idea in Jewish life must be: “Thou shalt not hand Hitler posthumous victories.”

Fackenheim meant that Jews must continue to observe their religions and traditions so that the German dictator’s goal of wiping out the Jews would not be successful.

Fackenheim also noted that if Israel had existed in the 1930s, the Jews of Europe could have been saved.

In 1984, in furtherance of his beliefs, he went up to live in the land of Israel.

Today, including in the Durban-2 conference which began on the day of his birth, Hitler has been enjoying many posthumous victories on a smaller scale. But now there’s a new figure on the scene.

Let me modestly propose a contemporary version of Fackenheim’s idea: Thou shalt not hand Ahmadinejad living victories.

For after all the complexities of national interest, strategy, tactics, and the explanations of all their acrobatic apologists are gone through, the fact remains that the goal of the Iranian regime, Hizballah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, and all the little local permutations thereof is to wipe Israel off the map and the Jewish people off the planet earth.

And yet, there is no shortage of those who would grant them living victories.

Only hours after Ahmadinejad spoke, the majority of the world’s countries—including those of Europe—accepted a resolution drawn up by his appointed delegates and containing his proposals for the meeting.

Within a few more hours, the EU froze the upgrading of its relations with Israel demanding that country renewed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Since the Israeli government had already announced that it intended to do so—that such negotiations were one of the main policies it was pursuing—this seemed more of a gratuitous slap than an attempt to shape events, especially since the EU almost never criticizes the Palestinian side.

Within a few hours, America's president said that engagement with Iran would continue despite the speech. The only excuse offered is that Ahmadinejad isn’t Iran’s most powerful ruler, which is true but one hardly would think that the rest of the regime didn’t approve of the political line he follows. One might also interpret the president's intervention to stop a law suit by former American hostages in Iran as a way to show Tehran how friendly he's trying to be (though there are technical legal issues involved).

And within three days, Iran’s 14th International Exhibition of Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Industries in Tehran saw foreign attendance rise 25 percent over last year. Among the 450 companies were many from France, Germany, and Britain.

The New York Times put the burden of criticism for trying to corrupt Lebanon's election on Saudi Arabia instead of Iran, thus furnishing propaganda points for Iran's client, Hizballah for the second time in a month.

The British government cozies up to Tehran's client Hizballah, while distinguished Britons become apologists for Tehran's client Hamas.

The message this and other such developments show is clear. The Iranian regime sees that there is no dangerously serious opposition to its policies, world view, or nuclear weapons’ drive. Consequently, it takes the logical decision: full speed ahead on nuclear weapons; step up the volume of its anti-Israel rhetoric, denial that the Shoah took place, and ridicule of the West.

The problem, however, with continuing to grant Ahmadinejad living victories is that, as a result, a lot of people are going to end up dead.

1 comment:

  1. I made a Swedish version of the essence of this blog entry,


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