Op-ed: Israel and the Nukes of Hazard
Six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Six million Jews
live in Israel today, where the threat of another Holocaust grows greater by
the day. But the world tells them to wait and trust.
As Iran moves closer to creating viable nuclear weapons,
Israel has been criticized for suggesting that it might launch preemptive
strikes on Iranian weapons facilities. We can’t know whether such strikes would
prevent the nuclear empowerment of one of the world’s most dangerous countries.
But we need to understand why the Israelis might take this step, and why we
should hope they succeed if they do.
“Never again.” This was the vow that Jews have been
determined to uphold since the Holocaust. A centuries-old culture of bookish
passivity — of meekness, of not making waves — was murdered by the Nazis along
with the 6 million. In 1948, when the nation of Israel rose from the ashes of
the European slaughter, it did so with a new understanding of self defense as a
matter of life and death.
The medieval theocrats who run Iran do not see the Nazi
legacy the same way. In 2006, Tehran hosted a conference for Holocaust
revisionists and deniers; Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently referred
to the Nazi genocide as a “big lie.” But Ahmadinejad seems determined to make
Jewish extermination a reality in our time, openly calling for the
“eradication” of Jewish Israelis. "The Zionist regime is a center of
microbes, a cancer cell,” he
said last summer. “If it exists in one iota of Palestine it will mobilize
again and hurt everyone." These sentiments were echoed
in February by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini. who called
Israel "a cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut."
It is impossible not to hear echoes of Hitler’s Final
Solution in such threats. After Auschwitz, the Jews cannot afford not to take
them seriously. It cannot gamble with its very existence.
Yet the world expects Israel to hold its fire as Iran builds
nuclear warheads — the most aggressive potential radiation treatment for the
Zionist “cancer” that any anti-Semite could wish for. Huge destructive power in
the hands of retrograde religious zealots: The danger of decimation is clear
and present. But instead of bombing Iran, the editorialists say, Israel should
wait for the international community to intervene through diplomacy and
The problem with this is twofold. First, we do not know how
far Iran is from reaching its goals, and the window for action may be closing.
And second: If there is anything the Jews have learned, it is that the
international community cannot be trusted to protect them. The Holocaust, after
all, happened just 70 years ago; Germany, until that time, had been one of the
most hospitable places for Jews in the world
Europe has not been a reliable friend since then, either. In
the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel faced the most serious threat in its history
as Arab armies — led by Egypt and Syria — massed at its borders to invade on
the holiest day of the Jewish year. The United States insisted that Israel not
launch a preemptive strike, promising to send weapons and supplies if Israel
was invaded. But when the Arab armies attacked, America’s rescue mission was
nearly choked off when its European allies — worried by the threat of an oil
embargo — refused to let American planes land to refuel in their countries, or
even fly through their airspace.
Thousands of Israeli men and women were killed in the Yom
Kippur War, and Israel has not forgotten Europe’s betrayal. It has every right
to be skeptical about Europe’s commitment to its safety. And the irony is that Israel
often ends up doing the Western world’s dirty work in taking bold action
against rogue states. In 1981, when Israel bombed a nuclear reactor near
Baghdad, it was condemned around the world.But many analysts later credited the
action for crippling Saddam Hussein’s nuclear aspirations. In 2007, Israel
again overstepped its boundaries by destroying a nuclear reactor in Syria. Does
anyone today think the world would be safer if Bashar al-Assad had the Bomb?
In the end, this is not just a question of Israeli national
security or even of Israeli survival. It is part of a larger struggle between
world ideologies. For more than three decades, Iran has been ruled by radical
fundamentalists bent on exporting their backward version of Islam. By funding
and arming of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran has become a
leader in the worldwide movement to reject “decadent” Western values in favor
of systematic misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and religious bigotry. To use
just one standard of measurement: Israel is a country that prohibits antigay
discrimination, permits adoption and military service by gay people, and honors
same-sex marriages. In Iran, same-sex relations are punishable by corporal
punishment, imprisonment or death.
A nuclear Iran would change the balance of power in the
Middle East and the world in potentially devastating ways. Whether Israel
should proceed with a strike is a complicated question that Israel’s leaders
will have to decide for themselves. It is their decision to make — not Iran’s,
not Europe’s and not America’s — because
it is their blood on the line. The Jews have trusted the world to defend them
in the past, and they have been betrayed. They must never make that mistake
again. Never again.
MICHAEL LUCAS is the creator of Lucas
Entertainment, one of the largest studios producing all-male erotica. He lives
in New York City. This article is the opinion of the writer and not The Advocate.