Lessons in the Appeasement of Iran

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When I was a little girl growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust, I often asked my parents a troubling question: Why did the international community do nothing to stop Hitler?

They would usually answer with a bewildered shrug.

I was named after my Aunt Sarah, who was murdered by the Nazis. Apparently, she never got the chance to march under the notorious gates of Auschwitz marked with the duplicitous message, Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work Makes You Free”). When the Einsatzgruppen, the group of Nazis specifically trained to hunt down Jews, first invaded Poland, they went to my aunt’s shtetl, the village of Borschchtav. There, together with her neighbors, she was asked to strip down naked and dig a hole. These Nazis were so lustful in their passion to exterminate every Jew from the face of the earth that they would line them up, summarily shoot them in the backs of their heads and watch as they fell into the ditch the Jews themselves had just been forced to dig.

According to Father Patrick Desbois, a French Catholic priest and professor at Georgetown University, who has made it his personal mission to uncover these unmarked graves that dot the European landscape, there are at least 1.5 million Jews lying in ditches under cornfields of houses in unmarked graves that have not been recorded. That makes 7.5 million Jewish souls snuffed out during the Holocaust.

Some 74 years after the Holocaust, the European landscape is once again dotted with unabashedly shameless and foul signs of anti-Semitism.

The newly elected chairman of the European Union, Josep Borrell Fontelles, recently said in an interview in Politico, “We are not children following what they [the Americans] say. We have our own prospects, interests and strategy, and we will continue working with Iran. It would be very bad for us if Iran wants to develop a nuclear weapon. … Iran wants to wipe Israel out, nothing new about that. You have to live with it.”

In other words: As long as Iran is not aiming their nuclear warheads directly at Madrid, it’s perfectly acceptable.

He seems to be saying that we can live with another 7.5 million dead Jews (which, chillingly, is roughly today’s Jewish population of Israel).

He, along with many other world leaders, appears exceedingly resentful about the role that America has longed played as a moral leader in foreign policy and believes strongly in multilateralism. On Nov. 6, shortly after America had imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran, the Spanish Foreign Minister said, “We reject any kind of position that resembles an ultimatum from anyone, and also from the United States.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran has found a particularly soft spot in his heart. On the recent advent of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Borrell tweeted, “Today marks 40 years of the Islamic revolution of #Iran. The regional power has changed a lot during this time. In 1976, the literacy rate was 35%, now it is 84%.”Iran is a key country in the Middle East region. He has had an essential role in the #Siria (sic) war, helping Assad while the Americans are pulling out.”

He then compared the relationship that America has had with Iran to that it has had with Vietnam. These are two regions of the world that the newly elected head of the European Union feels have had an indelible effect on America’s psyche, with the Vietnam War ending in 1975 and the Iranian revolution occurring in 1979. He seems to find it difficult to understand why three American Presidents have visited Vietnam, and none have visited Iran since the revolution.

This is a preposterous analogy. I may be missing something, but I haven’t heard any recent reports of the Vietnamese holding Americans hostage, working on a nuclear bomb, arming and equipping Hezbollah and Hamas, attacking shipping vessels in international waters or regularly leading their people ins chant of “Death to America.”

If this is what the European Union has elected for its leader, we are in for some very tough sailing ahead. The Iranians are blazingly defying the limits imposed upon them by the Joint Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA), as they are assiduously stepping up their time to have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. According to a July 10 report by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Iranian nuclear plant at Fordow, which was according to the JCPOA, supposed to have been converted into a “nuclear physics and technology center for international collaboration,” very little or nothing has been converted. It houses a tunnel complex with gas centrifuges, and it has been bolstering a support area to protect the facility from aerial bombardment.

The Iranians are masters of double speak and have brazenly manipulated most of the international community into blaming the United States for violating the terms of the deal. That is because the Trump administration had the courage to break away from a deal that was far too weak to begin with and about which we have ample evidence to believe that the Iranians were cheating.

In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “He who appeases the crocodile is only eaten last.”

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/lessons-in-the-appeasement-of-iran/

About the author  ⁄ Sarah Stern

Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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