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Does Iran Resemble Nazi Germany?

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First of all, I want to apologize to all the good women who are engaged in the world's oldest profession.

I recently described Shimon Peres as a political prostitute. One of my female readers has protested vigorously. Prostitutes, she pointed out, earn their money honestly. They deliver what they promise.

Our president, on the other hand, only tells the truth by accident. He is a political impostor and a political sham. To him, too, apply Winston Churchill’s words about a former Prime Minister: “The Right Honorable gentleman sometimes stumbles upon the truth, but he always hurries on as if nothing has happened.” Or the words of former minister Amnon Rubinstein about Ariel Sharon: “He blushes when he tells the truth.”

Like a traveling salesman offering a counterfeit product, Peres is now peddling the merchandise called Binyamin Netanyahu. He presents to the world a Netanyahu we have never known: a peacemaker, the epitome of truthfulness, a man with no other ambition than to go down in history as the founder of the State of Palestine. A Righteous Jew to outshine all Righteous Gentiles.

However, all these lies are nothing compared to trivializing the Holocaust.

In some countries, that is a criminal offense, punishable by prison. The trivializing has many guises. For example: the assertion that the gas chambers never existed. Or: that not six million Jews were killed, but only six hundred thousand. But the most dangerous form of minimizing is the comparison of the Holocaust to passing events, thus turning it into “a detail of history”, as Jean-Marie Le-Pen infamously put it.

This week, Shimon Peres committed exactly this crime.

Like a lackey walking in front of the king, strewing flowers on the road, Peres flew to the US to prepare the ground for Netanyahu’s coming visit. He imposed himself on a reluctant Barack Obama, who had no choice but to receive him.

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Posing as a new Winston Churchill, the man who warned the world against the rise of Nazi Germany, he informed Obama with solemn bombast: “As Jews we cannot but compare Iran to Nazi Germany.”

About this sentence at least three things must be said: (a) it is untrue, (b) it trivializes the Holocaust, and (c) it reflects a catastrophic policy.

Does Iran really resemble Nazi Germany?

I don’t like the regime there. As a committed atheist who insists on total separation between state and religion, I oppose any regime based on religion – in Iran, in Israel or in any other country.

Also, I don’t like politicians like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I am allergic to leaders who stand on balconies and declaim to the masses below. I detest demagogues who appeal to the base instincts of hatred and fear.

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Alas, Ahmadinejad is not the only leader of this type. Indeed, the world is full of them, some are among the staunchest supporters of the Israeli government. In Israel, too, we do not lack this sort.

But Iran is not a fascist state. According to the evidence, there is quite a lot of freedom there, including freedom of expression. Ahmadinejad is not the only candidate for president in the present election campaign. There are a number of others, some more radical, some less.

Nor is Iran an anti-Semitic state. A Jewish community, whose members are refusing to emigrate, is living there comfortably enough. It enjoys religious freedom and has a representative in parliament. Even if we take such reports with a grain of salt, it is clear that the Jews in Iran are not being persecuted like the Jews in Nazi Germany.
And, most important: Iran is not an aggressive country. It has not attacked its neighbors for centuries. The long and bloody Iraq-Iran war was started by Saddam Hussein. It may be remembered that at the time Israel (contrary to the US) supported the Iranian side and supplied it with arms. (One such transaction was accidentally disclosed in the Irangate affair.) Before the Khomeini revolution, Iran was our most important ally in the region.  

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the Israeli (more...)

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"Does Iran really resemble Nazi Germany?"... by Sister Begonia on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 6:13:10 PM
put to death various sects, due to many forms of e... by Stanimal on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 11:03:54 PM
much needed analysis. Blunt as so often Uri Avner... by Elizabeth Molchany on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 11:51:34 PM
Thanks Mr.  Avnery for this article.  Yo... by Mohammad Ala on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 12:38:08 AM
President Barack Obama has announced his commitmen... by Jason Paz on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 5:17:26 AM
It's implausible that Peres, expressly adoptin... by Michael Lusk on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 3:39:24 PM
Being neither Jewish nor Israeli, and not having s... by eric dynamic on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 4:48:36 PM
Since Israel has never abided by the conditions of... by Anton Grambihler on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 5:41:19 PM
In an important legal essay entitled "Nomos a... by Michael Lusk on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 5:47:01 AM
If you're reading this page you may have mis-typed... by William Whitten on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:20:32 AM
Nomos and Narative is esoteric jabberwhack that tu... by William Whitten on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:19:06 AM
Robert M. Cover - one of my dead legal heroes - us... by Michael Lusk on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:36:18 PM
I got that and do apprecieate it.... by William Whitten on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 12:24:26 AM
It's weird how people seem to want to warp his... by Kimmo Salonen on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 7:20:55 AM
"When that country appears to do everything p... by eric dynamic on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 4:21:26 PM
This article should also mention the First Holocau... by Anton Grambihler on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 5:51:50 PM
"This article should also mention the First Holoca... by William Whitten on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:21:56 AM
 Iranians do not strike me as new nazis. Isra... by Critter Can on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 6:10:34 PM