Commentary Magazine

‘Full Annihilation of the Zionist Regime’

‘Full Annihilation of the Zionist Regime’

One of the key talking points for those attempting to rationalize Iran’s nuclear program has been to deny that the Islamist regime has any intention of attacking Israel. One prop used in that effort—the Iranians themselves use it in talks with the West—has been the claim that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa banning nuclear weapons. As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has pointed out, there is no record of any such religious ruling. But the evidence of statements from the nation’s leaders making plain their intent to destroy Israel is not in doubt. The latest came from the chief of staff of Iranian armed forces, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, whom the official Fars news agency quoted as saying Iran remains committed to the “full annihilation of the Zionist regime of Israel to the end.” It is not possible to interpret that as anything but a threat to Israel’s existence. Here is yet another piece of unshakable evidence that the West cannot allow Tehran to get nuclear weapons and cannot “contain” Iran once it gets them.

Iran’s Foundational Myths

Canadian authorities were shocked to discover that an Islamic school in Toronto has been teaching anti-Semitism. The East End Madrassah was found to be using textbooks informing students that Jews were “treacherous” and prone to plots and conspiracies. But there shouldn’t have been much surprise about the source of the offensive material: Iran. The books were published by the Alavi Foundation, an Iranian group banned in the United States for its terror connections. The export of anti-Semitic literature from Muslim nations to the West has not drawn much attention in the mainstream press, but Tehran’s effort to promote its ideology of hate provides a useful context for the argument about the country’s nuclear program.

Never Shall We Remember

Forty years ago, the peace of the Olympic Games was shattered when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Games. But when the sports extravaganza is held this summer in London, the International Olympic Committee is determined not to spend one moment at the opening ceremonies, or at any other event, remembering that crime or its victims. The IOC has officially turned down an Israeli request for any type of commemoration of Munich at the games. It isn’t hard to figure out the rationale for this decision. The mere mention of the 11 Israelis or the terrorist attack would upset the vast majority of member nations that participate. Though a memorial for the Israelis would not “politicize” the games, as the IOC wrongly contends, it would put the Palestinians in an unfavorable light and remind the world of the ongoing siege of the Jewish state. Can’t have that, can we?

The Peace Partner Who Isn’t

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may be the best hope for a peace partner for Israel, but to say this is to concede there is very little hope indeed. Abbas turned down the latest effort by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to restart peace talks without preconditions last month. Critics of Israel assume it is in Netanyahu’s power to end the conflict, but the lack of Palestinian interest in talking ought to convince them that he can’t make peace by himself. At the same time, the Palestinian leader has given voice to some ugly statements that undermine the foundation of peace. In May, Abbas went on record alleging that Jerusalem has no Jewish history or association with the Jewish people. He claimed the ancient city—with its three millennia of Jewish history—is associated with the Christian and Muslim faiths only. He said Israel is “stealing” the legacy of its “true” Christian and Muslim heritage. Those who are surprised by this statement need to be reminded that Abbas’s doctoral thesis was based in part on Holocaust denial.

Turkey’s Flotilla Vendetta

In a clear sign that talk of a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey was premature, a Turkish court issued indictments of four Israeli army officers, including the chief of staff, for their role in the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident. Israeli soldiers enforcing the blockade of Hamas-run Gaza were attacked when boarding the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish flotilla vessel. Nine Turks taking part in the violence were killed. The deaths became the pretext for the Islamist government in Ankara to break with Israel and to step up its support for Hamas. While some in the West urge Israel to apologize to appease the Turks, the spurious indictments stand as a reminder that Turkish hostility to Israel is integral to the Turkish government’s worldview. President Obama, who has counted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as one of his best foreign friends, has abetted American acquiescence to this policy.

Counting Refugees, Palestinian-Style

The Obama administration is opposing a Senate effort to reexamine the methods by which UNRWA, the UN organization specifically tasked with aiding Palestinian refugees, counts the number of those entitled to help. Both UNRWA and the State Department accept a tally of almost 5 million refugees, including generations of descendants of the few hundred thousand Arabs who fled when Arab armies attacked the newborn state of Israel. Sponsors of the bill rightly contend that UNRWA has perpetuated the refugee problem by helping to keep Palestinians stateless rather than seeking their absorption by the Arab world. They also believe the numbers compiled by UNRWA are erroneous and are intended to bolster support for the ongoing war on Israel.

About the Author

Jonathan Tobin is Senior Online Editor of COMMENTARY.

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