Why Benjamin Netanyahu’s Comparison of Ahmadinejad to Hitler and Iran as Nazi Germany Doesn’t Hold Water

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler, and Iran is Nazi Germany were we to take to heart Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s words. Earlier this year in a speech at Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu said the following regarding the existential threat of Iran to Israel:

On this day, when our entire nation gathers together to remember the horrors of the Holocaust and the six million Jews who were murdered, we must fulfill our most sacred obligation.

This obligation is not merely an obligation to remember the past. It is an obligation to learn its lessons, and, most importantly, to apply them to the present in order to secure the future of our people. We must remember the past and secure the future by applying the lessons of the past.

This is especially true for this generation – a generation that once again is faced with calls to annihilate the Jewish State.

Today, the regime in Iran openly calls and determinedly works for our destruction. And it is feverishly working to develop atomic weapons to achieve that goal.

I know that there are those who do not like when I speak such uncomfortable truths. They prefer that we not speak of a nuclear Iran as an existential threat. They say that such language, even if true, only sows fear and panic.

I ask, have these people lost all faith in the people of Israel?

Do they think that this nation, which has overcome every danger, lacks the strength to confront this new threat?

Those who dismiss Iran’s threats as exaggerated or as mere idle posturing have learned nothing from the Holocaust.

I know there are also those who believe that the unique evil of the Holocaust should never be invoked in discussing other threats facing the Jewish people.

To do so, they argue, is to belittle the Holocaust and to offend its victims.

I totally disagree. On the contrary. To cower from speaking the uncomfortable truth – that today like then, there are those who want to destroy millions of Jewish people – that is to belittle the Holocaust, that is to offend its victims and that is to ignore the lessons.

Not only does the Prime Minister of Israel have the right, when speaking of these existential dangers, to invoke the memory of a third of our nation which was annihilated. It is his duty.

As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never shy from speaking the truth before the world, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem to some.

I speak the truth at the United Nations; I speak the truth in Washington DC, the capital of our great friend, the United States, and in other important capitals; And I speak the truth here in Jerusalem, on the grounds of Yad VaShem which are saturated with remembrance.

I will continue to speak the truth to the world, but first and foremost I must speak it to my own people. I know that my people is strong enough to hear the truth.

The truth is that a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat of the State of Israel.

The memory of the Holocaust goes beyond holding memorial services; it is not merely a historical recollection.

The memory of the Holocaust obligates us to apply the lessons of the past to ensure the basis of our future.

This was not the first time Netanyahu invoked the Holocaust in drumming support for an attack against Iran. In 2006 addressing delegates to the United Jewish Communities General Assembly Netanyahu said,

“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs…while the Iranian president denies the Holocaust, he is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.”

Image source: PublicDomainPhotos.net

Listening to Netanyahu’s fear-mongering those who aren’t aware would find it perhaps ironic, even difficult to believe that Iran has a Jewish community.  A small minority, approximately 25,000 in size, however the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel. It is a community which openly and proudly practices its Jewish religion, enjoys 6 kosher butcher shops and a Jewish hospital (to which Ahmadinejad’s administration donated). The Iranian Jews, unlike Israeli Arabs, are not treated as second class citizens; they are not profiled and subjected to the many forms of violence and discrimination which Palestinians are. In fact, they like their Persian homeland so much they rejected the State of Israel’s immigration offer of $10,000.

One of the local kosher butchers, Hersel Gabriel, visited Israel, a move he thought was sure to bring some repercussion. However, Gabriel says he didn’t face any problems upon his return. “Whatever they say abroad is lies – we are comfortable in Iran – if you’re not political and don’t bother them then they won’t bother you,” he stated.

So it begs the question if Ahmadinejad is the boogeyman Netanyahu and company claim him to be, if he is indeed the 21st century Hitler and wishes to destroy all Jews, wouldn’t it be logical he’d first start with those in his own back yard? Afterall, didn’t Adolf Hitler?


  1. Germany had a Jewish community that was larger than 25,000 in 1938.