President Obama’s overtures to Iran are troubling and dangerous, and I find it astonishing that the leader of the free world would reestablish communication with the world’s foremost sponsor of international terror at the Presidential level without any preconditions.
First, there is Iran’s funding of Hamas and Hezbollah, murderous organizations with declared genocidal intent against Israel and Jews worldwide. How could the President of a nation that experienced the horrors of 9/11 pick up the phone to the leader of a country which pays for the maiming and murder of Jewish and Arab children? In Syria, Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army, has become the private militia of Bashar Assad to help slaughter the Syrian people. President Obama has unfortunately chosen not to punish Assad for the chemical gassing of children, rendering his own red line less than useless. But can he not at least demand that Iran cease funding and supplying Assad’s butchers in Syria before they can rejoin the community of nations? Is outreach to mass murderers consistent with American values?
In Israel, Hamas, which until recently received a river of funding from Iran, just a month ago tried to plant a bomb in the Mamilla mall – just a few minutes walk from the kotel – that is at all times packed with people and where I often walk with my children.
Then there are the oft-repeated genocidal aspirations of the Iranian government itself to wipe the State of Israel off the map. And lest someone say that that was all Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and not President Rouhani, I remind you that the real leader of Iran is Ayatollah Ali Khameini who threatened as recently as this past March to “destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa” and last August said that “the fake Zionist (regime) will disappear from the landscape of geography,” adding that the “cancerous tumor” Israel had to be removed, expressing the hope that the Arab spring would inspire an Islamic “awakening” that would ultimately fulfill Iran’s goal of annihilating Israel.
But even if Iran’s supreme leader did not continue his vows to exterminate Israel, we have not even heard President Rouhani explicitly denounce the crazed threats of Jewish extermination that were the hallmark of his predecessor Ahmadinejad.
Is it possible that an American president would open negotiations with a country who have not renounced their intention to produce a second holocaust and who continue to enrich uranium and work on a plutonium bomb that can be used to that effect?
As for holocaust denial, when Christiane Amanpour asked Rouhani, “Does the right honorable gentleman from Tehran believe the Holocaust actually happened?,” the accurate, as opposed to the misreported, Fars news agency translation of his response was this: “I have said before that I am not a historian and historians should specify, state and explain the aspects of historical events. But generally we fully condemn any kind of crime committed against humanity throughout the history, including the crime committed by the Nazis both against the Jews and non-Jews… Therefore, what the Nazis did is condemned, (but) the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects is a duty of the historians and researchers, I am not a history scholar.”
How much real progress from Ahmadinejad is there in this convoluted, ridiculous response? Crimes were committed, but not a holocaust, against both Jews and non-Jews, and even this must still be verified by historians.
All of which leads to the question of why President Obama embarrassed the United States by practically begging the President of Iran, a terror state, to publicly shake his hand at the UN?
With Obama’s phone call to Rouhani, Netanyahu has once again been put on the defensive by the American president. Obama’s inexplicable outreach to the Iranians, amid their genocidal proclamations against Israel and deep hatred of the Great Satan America, have made Bibi appear, once again, like a war-monger.
Yet, last week an acquaintance of mine, who has connections with the Israeli government, received a phone call from an Iranian diplomat asking him to intervene with Prime Minister Netanyahu himself. “Can you tell Netanyahu to leave us alone already, to stop abusing Iran?” This phone call, as well as the many attacks by the Iranian government against Netanyahu personally, show that the Prime Minister’s message of Iran remaining unrepentant murderers is working. Rouhani’s charm offensive is not breaking completely through.
Few of us have the platform of an Israeli premiere. But when the stakes are this high, with Iran threatening a genocide of the Jews, each of us, Democrat, Republican, and Independent, as well as Jew and non-Jew, must make our voices heard and tell the President that words mean nothing and the only thing that matters is action. Demand that Rouhani defund Hezbollah, stop arming Syria, renounce all threats against Israel, and immediately stop enriching uranium before the United States engages him in further diplomacy.Rabbi Shmuley Boteach