Commentary Magazine

More Genocide Threats from Iran

More Genocide Threats from Iran
While President Obama was in Jerusalem in March reaffirming his promise to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Tehran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a very different kind of promise. He told an Iranian TV interviewer that if the West attacked Iran, the Islamic Republic would attack Israel. Khamenei noted specifically that Iran would “level down Tel Aviv and Haifa.”

The explicit nature of the boast is a reminder that the debate over what to do about Iran’s nuclear project isn’t a theoretical. It also makes any further talk about containment of Iran—something many in the foreign-policy establishment advocate—a formula for genocide, not stability.

Turks Backtrack on Reconciliation
Barack Obama received plaudits in Israel for his public embrace of Zionism as well as for chiding the Palestinians to drop their insistence on preconditions and Israeli concessions before deigning to negotiate for peace. Also, the president was applauded for brokering a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to heal the breach between two countries that were once allies.

The price of this supposed reconciliation was an apology from Netanyahu for deadly Israeli action during the 2010 seizure of a Turkish ship that was attempting to break the blockade of Hamas-run Gaza. Many criticized Netanyahu for expressing his regret over the loss of Turkish life in the phone call, even though he had already offered compensation and a similar apology before Obama’s trip. But regardless of whether Netanyahu was right to oblige Obama, within a day of the call, Erdogan had demonstrated that the effort was futile. Though he had promised Obama that he would send the Turkish ambassador back to Israel and resume normal relations, Erdogan backtracked and said that wouldn’t happen until Israel made more concessions to Hamas. He also said he was keeping previous plans to visit the Islamist terrorists who control Gaza.

The prudence of Israel’s apology to Iran may be debated, but there’s no doubt that hopes for Israel’s resumption of warm relations with Turkey are baseless. And as long as the Islamist government in Ankara is allied with Hamas, Obama’s cozy relationship with Erdogan cannot be justified. Israel can expect no friendship with those who support groups working for its destruction.

U.S. Subsidizing Egyptian Intolerance
The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt has been largely supported by the Obama administration. Washington still clings to the hope that the Arab Spring will lead to democracy in the Middle East rather than more Islamist tyranny. However, the turmoil inside Egypt as it groans under Brotherhood rule is making U.S. aid to the regime of Mohammed Morsi look like a very bad investment. The Brotherhood’s war on women has further set back the country on human rights and led to a shocking rise in sexual assaults. Just as troubling is the increasingly shaky status of the rights of the country’s Christian minority. Christian Copts have become a ready target for Brotherhood thugs, and protests against this treatment have been repressed.

While Americans may ignore the carnage in Syria, American support for the Brotherhood directly implicates the United States in the actions of a government that has become every bit as repressive as its predecessor. Brotherhood rule is a threat to U.S. interests as well as the safety of Israel.

Cheering for the Next Intifada Examples of unfair coverage of Israel in the pages of the New York Times are legion. But even those who have closely followed the paper’s record of distortion were shocked by the cover story of a particular Sunday magazine issue in March. The piece, written by an open advocate of ending the Jewish state’s existence, centered on the activities of Palestinians seeking to start the next intifada and plunge the country into another round of violence and unrest. These intifada hopefuls were portrayed as supporting “non-violence.” But it seems the paper accepted the Palestinian definition of the term, which apparently describes the throwing of gasoline bombs and lethal rocks at Israelis under the rubric of peaceful protest. The piece treated the onset of another such intifada as both necessary and appropriate. Like the author, these Palestinians made no bones about the fact that their goal was not a Palestinian state alongside Israel but one that would replace it. While much of the slant against Israel in the Times is subtle, this article at least had the virtue of being open in its bias.

Canadian Students Back Hate
Those campaigning to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel have been hard at work on American campuses, spreading their doctrine aimed at destroying the Jewish state. While organizers of the movement have been able to hold conferences at some U.S. colleges and universities, they have yet to persuade any school to embrace BDS. But they’ve been far more successful in Canada. In March, the student association of York University endorsed BDS. Previously, similar groups at two other large Canadian schools—the University of Toronto and Concordia University—did the same.

Those who argue that BDS should be tolerated in the name of academic freedom fail to keep in mind the goal of this movement. The distinction between BDS and anti-Semitism is purely semantic since any group dedicated to treating Jews differently from other people is peddling hate—not mere criticism of Israeli policies. What has happened in Canada and Europe before shows that those who treat hatred as just another discussion topic will one day find themselves watching helplessly as the forces of intolerance win.

About the Author

Jonathan Tobin is senior online editor of COMMENTARY.

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