Iran is already far beyond yellow badges

Teheran is deep into a relentless campaign to delegitimize Jews and other infidels everywhere.

Iran is denying reports that it has passed legislation requiring its Jews to wear yellow cloth strips to single them out, its Christians to wear a red version and Zoroastrians a blue one. Some are unpersuaded. The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier, for instance, is adamant "that the national uniform law was passed and that certain colors were selected for Jews and other minorities." But Teheran is adamant and scandalized. The reports of such Nazi-echoed branding "are slanderous accusations… a smear campaign," according to an outraged Iranian government spokesman. So that's all right then? We can all relax? Hardly. Whether or not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Islamist regime are yet publicly marking out their non-Muslim second-class citizens is not the point. Iran has moved much further already. It is deep into a relentless campaign to delegitimize Jews and other infidels everywhere. It has leapt over a first step of denigrating its own minorities to the second step of denigrating them the world over. In Ahmadinejad's world view, and in his vicious daily rhetoric, Israel has no right to exist, and will be wiped out, because the Jews have no right to a country of their own. And if a world without the United States seems unrealistic now, then it is a dream, he tells his followers, that must not be abandoned. Some world leaders, with a misplaced sense of what their own self-interest requires, persist in discounting Ahmadinejad as an immature leader who talks a good war but wouldn't dare get into one. Such willful self-delusion unfortunately ignores the facts of Iran's well-developed missile program, its global terror network and, most troubling of course, its self-hyped progress toward a nuclear capability. In the Nazi-era 60 and more years ago, mass killing required a veritable industry and a great deal of time - and thus the creation of a wide environment that would tolerate if not participate in it. Man's fiendish capacity for improving its ability to kill itself has ensured a series of terrible advances since then. Today, when the will for genocide is there, the way is easier and swifter. This weekend's news reports, true or false, should not be shocking anyone into action. The shock should long since have registered. Israel may be on the front line, but the whole world is facing a regime that threatens all of our most basic freedoms, and that is dangerously far down the road to obtaining the means to realize the threat. It may not be too late to stop Iran without a resort to military intervention. But it will certainly be too late if concerted international action is not initiated very soon.