posted on: Thursday April 15, 2010
Mark Scirocco ’10 / Commentary Staff
“An appeaser is like one who feeds an alligator,” said Winston Churchill, “hoping it eats him last.” Having watched the West’s failure to confront Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Churchill knew firsthand the dangers of appeasement. By the time Churchill became leader of Great Britain, the Nazi war machine was on the verge of controlling all of Europe. Hitler was defeated only after the blood of millions of European Jews and thousands of English and American soldiers had been spilled. When asked what name he would give to the conflict, Churchill said to call it the “Unnecessary War,” holding that the Third Reich might have been stopped by a vigilant Western World. Netanyahu’s WarningAt the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in Israel last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a Churchill-like address, warning his country of the threat which is posed to Israel by Iran. “The historical failure of the free world in facing the Nazi beast was in not confronting it when it could still be stopped,” Netanyahu said. “Today we witness the fire of the old-new hate, the hate of the Jews being spread by the regimes and organizations of radical Islam, spearheaded by Iran and its cohorts.” As Iran has repeatedly declared its intention to destroy Israel at all costs, and as reports emerge that the Iranians are close to attaining nuclear weapons, the threat to the Jewish people is a grave one.Just prior to Netanyahu’s speech last Sunday, President Obama announced that the United States would revamp its nuclear arms policy. The New York Times reports that Obama’s new strategy, known as Nuclear Posture Review, will “substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons…For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states…even if they attacked the US with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.” While the new provisions make exceptions for use of nuclear weapons against dangers such as Iran and North Korea, Obama states “We are going to want to make sure that we can continue to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons.”Israel seems to have gotten the message that America’s self-esteem is more important than protecting itself and its allies. Just after the announcement of Obama’s new nuclear arms strategy, Netanyahu canceled his trip to attend a Washington summit on nuclear security with the President and 47 other world leaders. Apparently, Netanyahu thought that the focus of the meeting would shift from nuclear terrorism to an attack on Israel’s presumed nuclear capability.Regardless of whether Netanyahu’s fears of attending the President’s conference are justified, his refusal to come to Washington marks a deepening distrust of Obama’s willingness to support Israel in its confrontation with Iran. As Netanyahu noted at his speech last Sunday, “in the face of the oft-repeated calls [from Iran] to erase the Jewish state from the face of the earth, we see at best mild protestations [from the international community], and these too seem to be fading.” More often than not, said Netanyahu, it is Israel instead of Iran that is criticized by the “enlightened nations” of the world.