Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at Holocaust memorial ceremony.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel reserves the right to defend itself against a nuclear Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday night as he compared its regime with that of the Nazis in his address at the annual state Holocaust commemoration at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
“Even if we are forced to stand alone against Iran, we will not fear. In every circumstance we will preserve our right and our ability to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said.
He spoke just weeks after six world powers – the US, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany – reached a framework agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program.
Netanyahu used the platform at Yad Vashem to compare that agreement with the concessions the Western world made to the Nazis in the 1930s, before the outbreak of World War II.
Iran seeks to rule the region and destroy the Jewish state just 70 years after the Holocaust, Netanyahu said.
But rather than demanding that Tehran significantly dismantle its nuclear weapons program, the world powers have struck an agreement that would leave it with the ability to produce atomic bombs.
“Has the world really learned from the incomprehensible, universal and Jewish tragedy of the last century? I wish I could tell you that the answer is yes,” Netanyahu said.
The Jews had to pay that price and it was “unbearable,” Netanyahu said. “Six million of our people were slaughtered and tens of millions more were killed in the terrible inferno.
“Appeasing tyrannical regimes will only increase their aggression and is an approach that is liable to drag the world into larger wars,” he said. “The bad deal with Iran signals that the lessons of the Holocaust have not been learned.”
In the years prior to World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazis with concessions, he said.
Those who warned that such conciliatory gestures would only increase Hitler’s appetite were cast aside by those who wanted to buy peace at any price, Netanyahu said.
The “‘never again’ pledges” with regard to the Holocaust are meaningless if they are not acted on, Netanyahu said.
The prime minister spoke of the growing storm around Israel. The threats to civilization have increased with radical Islamic forces slaughtering innocent people in the region, Netanyahu said.
The fanatic regime in Iran is suppressing its own people, and its aggressive actions through the region have “drowned in blood” innocent people in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the Golan border, he said.
“The Nazis sought to crush civilization and have a master race rule the Earth while destroying the Jewish people. In that same way, Iran seeks to dominate the region and to spread outward from there, with the declared intention of destroying the Jewish state,” he said.
Iran has a two-pronged plan of action, he said. The first is to develop its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capacity. The second is to use terrorism to take over large portions of the Middle East and to impose a Khomeini-style revolution, he said.
“This is clear to the naked eye,” he said. “This is all taking place in broad daylight in front of the cameras. And even so, there is still a great blindness,” he said.
The masses in Tehran are calling “Death to the US, death to Israel,” while the world powers have sealed their ears, Netanyahu said.
A partnership based on shared threats is possible with many countries in the region, but not Iran, he said.
“The determination that stemmed from the bloody lessons of 70 years ago have vanished and have been replaced today by the darkness and fog of reality,” he said.
“The civilized world has sunk into a coma” and is “lying on a bed of illusions,” he concluded.