Charles Krauthammer provides an eloquent piece of history and current events to discuss the crisis called Iran. Mr. Krauthammer is brilliant in "Never Again?"
For 2,000 years, Jews found protection in dispersion -- protection not for individual communities, which were routinely persecuted and massacred, but protection for the Jewish people as a whole. Decimated here, they could survive there. They could be persecuted in Spain and find refuge in Constantinople. They could be massacred in the Rhineland during the Crusades or in the Ukraine during the Khmelnytsky Insurrection of 1648-49, and yet survive in the rest of Europe.
Hitler put an end to that illusion. He demonstrated that modern anti-Semitism married to modern technology -- railroads, disciplined bureaucracies, gas chambers that kill with industrial efficiency -- could take a scattered people and ``concentrate'' them for complete annihilation.
The establishment of Israel was a Jewish declaration to a world that had allowed the Holocaust to happen -- after Hitler had made his intentions perfectly clear -- that the Jews would henceforth resort to self-protection and self-reliance. And so they have, building a Jewish army, the first in 2,000 years, that prevailed in three great wars of survival (1948-49, 1967 and 1973).
But, in a cruel historical irony, doing so required concentration -- putting all the eggs back in one basket, a tiny territory hard by the Mediterranean, eight miles wide at its waist. A tempting target for those who would finish Hitler's work.
His successors now reside in Tehran. The world has paid ample attention to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be destroyed. Less attention has been paid to Iranian leaders' pronouncements on exactly how Israel would be destroyed ``by a single storm,'' as Ahmadinejad has promised.
As it races to acquire nuclear weapons, Iran makes clear that if there is any trouble, the Jews will be the first to suffer. ``We have announced that wherever (In Iran) America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel,'' said Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani, a top Revolutionary Guards commander. Hitler was only slightly more direct when he announced seven months before invading Poland that, if there was another war, ``the result will be ... the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.''
Last week, Bernard Lewis, America's dean of Islamic studies who just turned 90 and remembers the 20th century well, confessed that for the first time he feels it is 1938 again. He did not need to add that in 1938, in the face of the gathering storm -- a fanatical, aggressive, openly declared enemy of the West, and most determinedly of the Jews -- the world did nothing.
I would ask if the world will again sit back and ignore dangerous fanatics and open threats of human destruction? Will we allow Russia and China to stand pat and block strict policies against Iran's nuclear ambitions? Will the world turn a blind eye until it's to late and a total population is gone?
The end game is clear, Iran must be stopped and stopped soon. The civilized world must gather and exert it's might against the next Hitler, the next holocaust.