By DAVID PARSONS, Israel Hayom—
Many today look at the rising threat of radical Islam and the weak Western response, and wonder if we are repeating the mistakes of 1938.
No doubt we live in perilous times. Islamic State and al-Qaida are waging violent jihad against us. Iran is seeking nuclear weapons to dominate the Middle East. Yet, many Western leaders say peace will come only if Israel surrenders part of its ancient homeland.
So are we seeing an appeasement of great evil, like Neville Chamberlain at Munich?
There are many parallels to September 1938, when the British prime minister claimed he made peace with Adolf Hitler by offering him Czech land. Yet Hitler’s appetite for conquest was whetted, not abated. And Chamberlain became a symbol of failed statesmanship.
But we should remember this was an entire era of failed statesmanship, as Western leaders made many decisions that signaled weakness to the Nazis.
Two months before Munich, 32 nations gathered at the Evian conference to consider taking in more endangered Jews from Germany. Yet only the Dominican Republic was willing to accept more Jewish refugees.
The next summer saw the tragic voyage of the Saint Louis, a ship packed with 900 German Jewish children who saw the lights of Miami before being turned away by the Roosevelt administration.
In 1939, Britain issued the White Paper limiting the number of Jews who could enter Palestine, a decision that consigned millions of Jews to the Nazi gas chambers.
There also was Kristallnacht in November 1938, when the world stood by as the Nazis arrested over 30,000 Jews and burned 1,000 synagogues. By morning the Sudetenland, surrendered to Hitler at Munich just five weeks earlier, had been made Judenrein. The Holocaust had begun.
It was an entire era of failed statesmanship, not just by one but by many world leaders, who misjudged character and misread intentions with tragic results. They were fooled by others, but they also fooled themselves.
The German people were seduced by a charismatic figure who promised to restore Germany’s fortunes, but instead brought the nation to ruin.
Chamberlain was seduced into thinking Munich was about a small strip of land, when in fact all of Europe was at stake.
At Evian, Roosevelt figured that 30,000 Jewish immigrants per year was enough, not knowing that 55 million souls of all races and creeds would soon perish in the deluge of war.
An entire world believed Hitler was only venting in “Mein Kampf,” when in fact he meant every word.
All these missteps helped trigger an unprecedented global conflict which ended seven years later with the sight of mushroom clouds rising over incinerated Japanese cities.
So we have to be grateful for a strong, sober leader like Winston Churchill, who rose up just in time to confront the Nazis. Such statesmanship is sorely needed again today, since in a nuclear age the margin of error for misjudging character and misreading intentions is razor thin.
One powerful deception today sees Israel’s surrender of the West Bank as a small sacrifice for peace, when in fact it would only encourage global jihad.
Another deception is that because no nation has used atomic weapons for 70 years now, we think it will not happen again. The “experts” explain that Iran, as was the case with North Korea, wants a nuclear program as a guarantee against regime change, when its true purpose is as an instrument of Islamic conquest.
So the P5+1 nations are talking with Tehran about the inspection of centrifuges, when their real aim should be to prevent the incineration of cities.
And like last time, world leaders insist the ayatollahs are only venting when they cry, “Death to Israel!” and “Death to America!” In fact, they mean every word.