‘A Group of Jewish People’

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“. . . we condemn the crimes by Nazis in the World War II and regrettably those crimes were committed against many groups, many people, many people were killed including a group of Jewish people. And we condemn their crimes. In general, we condemn the murder and killing of innocent people always. It makes no difference to us. When that person is innocent and is killed, whether he or she was Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, there’s just no difference in our eyes. We condemn crimes as such. But the argument here is that if the Nazis committed a crime, this does not mean that the price paid for it should be done by other people elsewhere. This should not serve as any justification to push out from their homes a group of people because of what Nazis did.”

* * *

Those are the words of the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, as distributed this evening by the Council on Foreign Relations. It sent out a cable boasting that it was Mr. Rouhani’s “sole public event during his visit to New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly.” The president used the opportunity make what the Council called a “surprise announcement” of his country’s latest gains in the so-called P5+1 talks, namely an agreement to “jumpstart” the process with the idea of “finalizing” in a year’s time some kind of deal.

The fact is that the mullah’s words are a mockery of history and of the Jews. This is who was killed in Germany and Poland and the rest of Europe — “a group of Jewish people”? And now all of a sudden his regime is opposed to the Holocaust? His country has been supporting, in Hezbollah, an organization that has said it wants every Jew on the planet to come to Israel to save it the trouble of sending agents to kill them in other countries. The idea that Israel is a price to be paid for the Nazi crimes is bizarrely disconnected from the fact that political Zionism was launched a half a century before the Holocaust. And for good reason.

Mr. Rouhani makes a mockery and illuminates the reason that this newspaper opposes talks with his government. We oppose P5+1; the talking is in and of itself an appeasement. It vouchsafes the current regime, makes it our partner in diplomacy, and trans-isolates true democratic forces in the Islamic republic. That’s exactly what Mr. Rouhani has been here in America to achieve. That’s what would be jumpstarted by the scheme of which he speaks. President Obama made a mistake offering to shake Mr. Rouhani’s hand, and Mr. Rouhani made the most of it by refusing. He underscores the point by suggesting that the Arabs are being asked to pay because Hitler killed “a group of Jewish people.”

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