The free world refuses to learn from history, believing Iran’s aggressive regime can be pacified. Appeasing Islamism is rooted in the illusion that evil can be reasoned with.
On the eve of the Jewish holiday Purim, which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from the evil Persian Haman, the Jewish state is threatened by an Islamist evil in Persia that seeks Israel’s destruction.
Eighty years after Chamberlain appeased Hitler, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confronted the Iranian Islamist menace at the Munich Security Conference in February. Holding a piece of a downed Iranian drone that illegally entered Israeli air space, Netanyahu warned the genocidal Iranian ayatollah regime not to test Israel’s resolve.
In 1938, the free world struck a bargain in Munich with the devil by allowing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to annex parts of Czechoslovakia. It was shameful, because French and British leaders tried to secure the freedom of their own nations at the expense of the Czech nation. The former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain infamously announced, “Peace in our time.”
The British statesman Winston Churchill criticized his predecessor Chamberlain with the timeless words: “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”
Appeasing Hitler and sacrificing the Czechs did not lead to peace, but to the Second World War, which claimed between 50 to 80 million lives, including six million murdered Jews. France lost its own freedom, while a US-backed Britain managed to defend its sovereignty at a very high cost.
Sadly, much of the free world refuses to learn from history and mistakenly believes that Iran’s aggressive regime can somehow be pacified. Appeasing Islamism as well as Nazism, is rooted in the illusion that evil can somehow be reasoned with. Many Western leaders have for years tried to bargain with Islamists and Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, such as the PLO, at the expense of Jews and Israel.
The Italian news outlet L’Espresso magazine recently revealed that diaries kept by PLO terrorist leader Yasser Arafat, confirmed a secret deal to protect Italy from PLO terrorist attacks. In exchange, Rome allowed PLO terrorists responsible for the hijacking of the Italian ship Achille Lauro to escape in 1985. During the hijacking, Arab terrorists murdered the wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer and threw him overboard.
France has appeased Arab despots and Islamist fundamentalists more than other Western nations. In 1967, France sided with the Arab military aggressors and French President Charles de Gaulle imposed an arms embargo on Israel. In the 1970s, France provided the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with the nuclear reactor Osiraq, which was later destroyed in a preemptive Israeli strike.
French appeasement however, did not secure peace for France. Quite the contrary. Few European nations have suffered as many losses from Islamic terrorism than France.
On October 3 1980, Arab terrorists placed a bomb next to a synagogue in Paris. It exploded prematurely and two out of the four people killed were non-Jewish passers-by. The terrorist attack also left ten other individuals injured.
The French Prime Minister at the time, Raymond Barre, reacted by stating: “They aimed at the Jews, and they hit innocent Frenchmen.” The meaning of Mr. Barre’s candid statement was clear: Jewish citizens of France were somehow neither innocent nor French.
In November 2015, five decades after de Gaulle betrayed Israel, Islamic terrorists murdered 130 people and injured more than 400 in multiple attacks in Paris. A year later, on Bastille Day, an Islamic terrorist murdered 86 people in Nice.
In his book, The Storm of War, noted British military historian Andrew Roberts argues that Hitler launched and lost the Second World War due to his Nazi ideology. Like Nazism, Islamism is a supremacist ideology that cannot be appeased or reasoned with. Like Hitler, Islamists view appeasement as a sign of weakness and an invitation to further aggression. Sacrificing Czechoslovakia did not secure peace for the West and neither will the sacrifice of Israel.
Thankfully, the powerful Jewish state is by no means a second Czechoslovakia. While Israel recently lost its first military plane in combat since 1982, Israel’s foes suffered far greater losses after the Israeli air force bombed at least a dozen key Iranian and Syrian military targets in Assad’s embattled country.
There are two lessons for the free world from Munich in 1938 and 2018. The first is that appeasing evil only invites further aggression and the freedom of some countries can never be bought at the expense of other countries. Evil knows no boundaries and its predatory appetite is insatiable. The second lesson is that the risk of all-out war with genocidal evil can only be reduced through credible military deterrence.
The Nazi and Islamist ideologies illustrate that what starts as a “Jewish problem”, quickly becomes a universal problem, unless it is contained. Avoiding confrontation with evil at an early stage dramatically increases the cost of doing so later on.
Daniel Kryger is a writer and a political analyst. He lives in Israel.
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