Downplaying the Holocaust?

Iran may be a threat, but it is no Hitler

Peter Goodspeed’s new article in the National Post is an interesting one that begins with the various creative things that Iran could do if the country was able to produce a nuclear warhead. Naturally, Goodspeed includes all the continuously repeated disaster scenarios that would ‘inevitably’ result in the destruction of Israel, including a fantastic comparison of Iranian nukes and the Holocaust:

The calculations involved in nuclear war are horrific for Israel.

A single nuclear blast would wipe the country off the map, accomplishing in seconds what Hitler and the Holocaust attempted through the murder of six million Jews.

Of course, it goes without saying that Iranian nuclear capability is undesirable for Israel. The two have not seen eye to eye on anything since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. But is it fair to compare an Iranian nuke to Hitler? First, there is the assumption that Iran would use a nuclear warhead against Israel. The proximity of the countries makes it a possibility, and as such, Israel should be concerned about Iran’s nuclear potential. Even the crazy ‘religious hardliners’ that Goodspeed mentions would know that any attack, nuclear or conventional, on Israel would result in a devastating Israeli-American counterattack that would likely have the support of the majority of Arab countries. (Goodspeed hypothesizes that Saudi Arabia and Turkey might intercept Israeli planes on the way to Iran. I should have stopped reading there.) In other words, an Iranian attack on Israel of any sort, would result in the destruction of the Iranian government, the death of millions of Iranian civilians and a complete dismantlement of the country’s infrastructure. In short, it would be suicide.

Secondly, a nuclear strike on Israel, considering the size of the state, would inevitably kill millions of Jews (and Christians and Muslims.) While that is true, the comparison to Hitler is one that is not only unjust, but one that should offend the millions of Jewish people (and many others) who were killed or whose loved ones perished at the hands on Hitler. The Nazis attempted to wipe out the Jewish race because of who they were. It was not due to the political policies of the Jews in Europe in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Iran today often uses rhetoric promising to wipe the state of Israel off the map, referring specifically to the Israeli regime, rather than the Jewish people in general. As antagonistic as threatening to remove the Israeli government is, it is a far cry from the Nazi step by step plan to murder all the Jewish people of the world.

Let me be clear here. I believe Ahmadinejad is a threat to Israel and the ‘stability’ of the Middle East in general. Were a new government to take hold in Iran — that is, through means other than an external attack that could set the region back a century — I would be thrilled. But to compare Ahmadinejad and Hitler is downplay the importance and the Holocaust.

In his article, Goodspeed rightly recognizes that an attack on Iran is unlikely and that the current Israeli push for war could be no more than a strategy to induce more American and international pressure on the Iranian regime. Israel would be over-stretching its capabilities if it attacked Iran unilaterally and the United States is in no position to enter another protracted war in the Middle East. (Naturally, Goodspeed has no mention of why Iran would like to avoid war.)

More to the point, though, I am bewildered that Jewish people are not outraged by the comparison of Hitler to the current Iranian regime. Such a comparison robs the Holocaust of much of its importance in history. It portrays Hitler in a better light. It relegates the six million Jews that were systematically exterminated during the Holocaust to mere pawns in a disgusting war of words. The Holocaust and the Jewish people that were murdered that the hands of Hitler deserve better.

Can we please stop this comparison? Iran is bad. Yes. Iran is a threat to Israel. Yes. An Iranian nuke would change the political and strategic landscape of the Middle East and be highly detrimental to Israel. Yes. But equating an Iranian nuke to the Holocaust is to tarnish the memory of those who were murdered in a genocidal attempt to rid the world of Jews. Moreover, such a comparison is a reprehensible attempt to utilize perhaps the most important event in Jewish history as a political ploy. Not only is it based on assumptions, it should be considered an offence by all those who were forever changed by the madness of Hitler.

Photo from Hybrid Democracy

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