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Israel’s New Foreign Minister Confronts Germany’s Past
“We will never again stand defenseless, left at the mercy of others.”
By Joseph Puder
Israel’s recently installed Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi (pictured above), of the Blue and White Party, and Benny Gantz’s deputy party leader, flew to Berlin on his first diplomatic mission abroad. He was invited by Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to join him in Berlin, and he used the opportunity to meet with his European counterparts. Maas was hosting the European Union’s (EU) Foreign Ministers conference, and Germany is currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU. The two-day conference held on August 27-28 dealt with the situations in Belarus and the Eastern Mediterranean. The unilateral aggressive action by Turkey’s Erdogan garnered solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, both members of the EU now being intimidated by Turkey. Relief for Lebanon, especially in view of the August 4, 2020, devastating explosion that destroyed parts of Beirut, was another conference agenda item. For Ashkenazi, however, the ostensible reason for the trip was to press Germany, and the EU foreign ministers, to maintain the United Nations (UN) established arms embargo against Iran due to expire on October 18, 2020.
Ashkenazi’s first meeting was on Wednesday (August 26, 2020) with Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He thanked the German president for Germany’s branding Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Ashkenazi updated Steinmeier on Israel’s normalization pact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He then proceeded to address a crowd of distinguished guests and local Jewish community members at Platform 17, in Berlin’s Grunewald station, a memorial site marking the place where Nazi Germany deported 55,000 Jews to their death in concentration camps, labor camps and Polish ghettos. Ashkenazi, a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff declared, “Jews will never again be sent to their death because they are Jewish. Never Again.” He added, “We will never again stand defenseless, left at the mercy of others, we will defend our sons and daughters while holding a sword in one hand and an olive branch in the other.”
On Thursday, August 27, 2020, Ashkenazi and Maas visited the infamous Wannsee Villa, where in January 1942, the Nazis led by SS Chief Reinhard Heydrich, and Adolf Eichmann, planned the “final solution.” It was where the green light was given to the extermination of European Jewry, known as the Holocaust. For Ashkenazi, as a son of a Holocaust survivor, this visit to Wannsee was particularly emotional. It was where unprecedented evil and cruelty was unleashed, and ended in the genocide of Six Million Jews.
It is hard to escape the symbolism of visiting Wannsee Villa prior to attending the meeting with the EU foreign ministers. While Germany’s Foreign Minister agreed with Ashkenazi on extending the UN arms embargo on Iran, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany are eager to reinforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, while his predecessor Barack Hussein Obama heartily embraced it in 2015, and to ensure its survival, bribed the radical Ayatollahs regime with a bonus of $150 billion in cash. The cash the mullahs of Iran received was used to fund the Iranian sponsored militias operating in Iraq, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Syria, and Yemen. Israel is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Iranian leaders have loudly and repeatedly proclaimed their intention of “wiping Israel off the map.” As recently as September 30, 2019, Fox News reported that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander, Gen. Hossein Salami declared that wiping Israel off the map is now an “achievable goal” thanks to Iran’s technological advances. Iran’s apocalyptic leaders are ready to perpetrate a Nazi-like genocide on Israel’s Jews if not stopped.
Germany still sees the JCPOA or the nuclear deal with Iran, as the best way to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. That is a naïve, if not an irresponsible outlook, given that Iran has repeatedly cheated on the development of a nuclear weapon. They had done it long before the signing of the JCPOA and even at this writing. If not for Iranian informers and defectors, the West would never have known about Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program, especially following the 2003 U.S. war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. At this very time, Iran is defying the JCPOA by producing unlawful higher-grade centrifuges and increasing the quantities of allowed uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found uranium particles at a site in Iran that had not been declared by the Iranian authorities. It was discovered thanks to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who revealed that Iran had a secret atomic warehouse at the Tehran Turquzabad district.
Maas expressed concern about issues outside the JCPOA deal, including Iran’s ballistic missiles program, and its aggressive meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. He stated that “Iran must change its approach in the region, we are not naïve about Iran, we know Iran plays a dangerous role.” And, yet, Germany is still either deluding itself or its simply cynical and hypocritical about Iran, because German business interests are invested in Iran.
It is not only with a nuclear bomb that Iran seeks to destroy Israel. Tehran has employed its IRGC commanders and its loyal Shiite militias from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, as well as Hezbollah in Syria, close to Israel’s Golan Heights. Iran is hoping to have its missiles close enough to hit Israel’s population centers. It is seeking to provide Hezbollah with advanced GPS systems to make its missiles in Hezbollah’s hands accurate enough to kill thousands of Israelis.
Ashkenazi told reporters in Berlin that the extension of the arms embargo was essential to prevent Iran from getting advanced weapon systems and spreading them throughout the Middle East. Clearly, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization that controls Lebanon, would be the first beneficiary of Iran’s advanced weapons acquisition. This will directly threaten the lives of millions of Israelis. At the very least, it seems that Heiko Maas understands that Germany must not be sparty once again to a genocide against Jews, i.e. Israeli Jews. The Trump administration wants a full extension of the embargo on Iran, but China and Russia are more than likely to veto it in the UN Security Council. Heiko Maas, for his part, said, “We are trying to reach a diplomatic solution so that there will be an arms embargo on Iran in the future.” Gabi Ashkenazi, referring to the arms embargo on Iran concluded by saying “We would like to see the European countries, not just Germany preventing it, it’s not helpful for the stability of the region.”
If Germany and its partners in the JCPOA are to assume moral responsibility regarding Iran’s nuclear threat, they would follow the Trump administrations insistence that the current deal paves the way for Iran to legally acquire a nuclear bomb within less than a decade or much earlier. The deal must be renegotiated and ensure that Iran will be permanently prevented from obtaining a nuclear bomb. Its missile development program aiming to carry nuclear payloads, has to be included in a renegotiated deal.
Visiting the Wannsee Villa should serve as a reminder to the free world that Iran’s messianic and apocalyptic regime, much like Hitler’s, might act on its threat to destroy Israel and its Jews.