Rouhani on the phone 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Barack Obama’s overtures to Iran are troubling and dangerous, and I
find it astonishing that the leader of the free world would reestablish
communication with the world’s foremost sponsor of international terror at the
presidential level without any preconditions.
First, there is Iran’s
funding of Hamas and Hezbollah, murderous organizations with declared genocidal
intent against Israel and Jews worldwide. How could the president of a nation
that experienced the horrors of 9/11 pick up the phone to the leader of a
country which pays for the maiming and murder of Jewish and Arab children? In
Syria, Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army, has become the private militia of Bashar
Assad to help slaughter the Syrian people. President Obama has unfortunately
chosen not to punish Assad for the gassing of children, rendering his own red
line less than useless. But can he not at least demand that Iran cease funding
and supplying Assad’s butchers in Syria before they can rejoin the community of
nations? Is outreach to mass murderers consistent with American values? In
Israel, Hamas, which until recently received a river of funding from Iran, just
a month ago tried to plant a bomb in the Mamilla mall in Jerusalem – just a few
minutes’ walk from the Kotel, or Western Wall – that is at all times packed with
people and where I often walk with my children.
Then there are the
oft-repeated genocidal aspirations of the Iranian government itself to wipe the
State of Israel off the map. And lest someone claim that was all former
president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and not President Hassan Rouhani, I remind you
that the real leader of Iran is Ayatollah Ali Khameini, who threatened as
recently as March to “destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa” and last August said that “the
fake Zionist [regime] will disappear from the landscape of geography,” adding
that the “cancerous tumor” Israel had to be removed, expressing the hope that
the Arab spring would inspire an Islamic “awakening” that would ultimately
fulfill Iran’s goal of annihilating Israel.
But even if Iran’s supreme
leader did not continue his vows to exterminate Israel, we have not even heard
President Rouhani explicitly denounce the crazed threats of Jewish extermination
that were the hallmark of his predecessor Ahmadinejad.
Is it possible
that an American president would open negotiations with a country that has not
renounced its intention to perpetrate a second Holocaust and which continues to
enrich uranium and work on a plutonium bomb that can be used to that effect? AS
FOR Holocaust denial, when journalist Christiane Amanpour asked Rouhani, “Does
the right honorable gentleman from Tehran believe the Holocaust actually
happened?,” the accurate, as opposed to the misreported, Fars news agency
translation of his response was this: “I have said before that I am not a
historian and historians should specify, state and explain the aspects of
historical events. But generally we fully condemn any kind of crime committed
against humanity throughout the history, including the crime committed by the
Nazis both against the Jews and non-Jews.... Therefore, what the Nazis did is
condemned, [but] the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects
is a duty of the historians and researchers, I am not a history
How much real progress from Ahmadinejad is there in this
convoluted, ridiculous response? “Crimes” were committed, but not a Holocaust,
against both Jews and non-Jews, and even this must still be verified by
All of which leads to the question of why President Obama
embarrassed the United States by practically begging the president of Iran, a
terror state, to publicly shake his hand at the UN? With Obama’s phone call to
Rouhani, Netanyahu has once again been put on the defensive by the American
president. Obama’s inexplicable outreach to the Iranians, amid their genocidal
proclamations against Israel and deep hatred of the Great Satan America, have
made Netanyahu appear, once again, like a war-monger.
Yet last week an
acquaintance of mine, who has connections with the Israeli government, received
a phone call from an Iranian diplomat asking him to intervene with Prime
Minister Netanyahu himself.
“Can you tell Netanyahu to leave us alone
already, to stop abusing Iran?” This phone call, as well as the many attacks by
the Iranian government against Netanyahu personally, show that the prime
minister’s message of Iran remaining unrepentant murderers is working. Rouhani’s
charm offensive is not breaking completely through.Few of us have the platform
of an Israeli premiere. But when the stakes are this high, with Iran threatening
a genocide of the Jews, each of us, Democrat, Republican and Independent, as
well as Jew and non-Jew, must make our voices heard and tell the president that
words mean nothing and the only thing that matters is action.
Rouhani defund Hezbollah, stop arming Syria, renounce all threats against
Israel, and immediately stop enriching uranium before the United States engages
him in further diplomacy.
The author, “America’s Rabbi,” is the
international bestselling author of 29 books and has just published The Fed- Up
Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him
on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.