The effort to turn Iran into the latest incarnation of Nazi Germany is deeply dishonest and depressing. For some people, anyone that makes Israel uncomfortable is a de facto Nazi. Iran has not fought a war of territorial expansion in centuries. I can’t even think of an example in the last 500 years. What’s more, Israel is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. Iran has no nuclear weapons. And, if they did have them, they’d be no more likely to explode one in Israel than Pakistan is today. If Pakistan were to attack Israel with nuclear weapons there would be no need for America to ‘obliterate’ them because Israel would do the job first.

Iran has its faults. So did the Soviet Union. But the Soviet Union never used its nuclear weapons. And, unlike the Soviet Union, Iran has no territorial ambitions. Their support of Hezbollah is as much about strengthening their Shi’a brethren in Lebanon’s internecine political fights as it is about harassing Israelis. And their alleged support of Hamas is about having street cred as one of the few Islamic countries willing to continue the fight post Camp David.

I don’t expect Israelis to turn a passive eye to activities that threaten and sometimes kill their citizens. Israelis are rightly angered by both Iran’s actions and their irresponsible rhetoric. But Iran poses a low-level threat, not an existential one. The Iranians are not suicidal.

Moreover, it pays to remember that even Nixon and Kissinger met repeatedly with our communist adversaries in China, North Vietnam, and the Soviet Union. They talked to the Soviet ambassador almost daily. And that is really what this debate is about. Do we talk to our enemies or do we just try to kill them?

When President Bush goes before the Knesset and compares Democrats to Nazi appeasers, he’s crossing a line. And for Joe Lieberman to issue this statement is just appalling.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) issued the following statement in response to President Bush’s statement to the Israel Knesset this morning:

“President Bush got it exactly right today when he warned about the threat of Iran and its terrorist proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah. It is imperative that we reject the flawed and naïve thinking that denies or dismisses the words of extremists and terrorists when they shout “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and that holds that—if only we were to sit down and negotiate with these killers—they would cease to threaten us. It is critical to our national security that our commander-in-chief is able to distinguish between America’s friends and America’s enemies, and not confuse the two.”

What does Joe want to do? Kill all the Iranians? Kill all the Lebanese? Kill all the Gazans? That kind of exterminationist thinking is a lot closer to NaziThink than Joe would like to admit. But it’s implicit in his logic. And why does Joe Lieberman say that these groups threaten ‘us’? Has Hezbollah attacked America, or attacked Americans in the last twenty years? Has Hamas, ever?

You want to know what has made Israel safer than anything else in its history? The peace treaties that Carter hammered out with Egypt and Clinton hammered out with Jordan. That was accomplished by talking, not fighting. Israel no longer faces any credible threat of land invasion, and they have the last two Democratic presidents to thank for it. Presidents Reagan and Bush encouraged two disastrous invasions of Lebanon. That’s the kind of terrible advice Israel has received from Republican leaders that are supposed to be strong on terrorism. Prior to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, suicide bombing was almost unheard of in the Islamic world, and Iran’s influence was almost completely contained within their own borders.

Comparing Iran to Nazi Germany is a grave insult to our intelligence. Even our Secretaries of Defense and State recognize the necessity and advisability of engaging Iran. Is it any wonder why the Democrats kicked Joe Lieberman out of the party? I don’t know what it would take to convince him that his policies make Israel less secure. History is so stark and decisive on the matter, that I suppose Lieberman just doesn’t read it.

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