Ripples of Evian in Vienna

December 21, 2015

3 min read

Sarah Stern

The worst decision to be taken by an international body in 77 years took place just this Tuesday: The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors decided to close the file on Iran’s nuclear program. This rivals the lack of action at the Evian Conference in 1938, which was supposedly convened to provide a safe haven for German and Austrian Jewish refugees suffering under the Nazi yoke, but which resulted in the absolute failure of the international community to do a blessed thing.

The IAEA has been tasked with overseeing the Iranian nuclear program. Most importantly, it was expected to determine the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s work. On Dec. 2, the agency issued a report listing Iranian nuclear scientists’ work up until 2009 that was relevant to the manufacture of nuclear bombs. It found “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.”BIN-OpEd-Experts-300x250(1)

David Sanger and William Broad of The New York Times reported that “Tehran gave no substantive answers to one quarter of the dozen specific questions or documents it was asked about, leaving open the question of how much progress it had made.”

IAEA director Yukiya Amano said, “We are not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” and that “it is not black or white.”

Yet, this murky grayness was conclusive enough to prompt the 35-member board of governors to close the investigation into Iran’s nuclear activities.

It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that political pressure was exerted on the IAEA to come up with this conclusion. On Oct. 17, a full month and a half before the agency issued its report, a State Department official said that “the United States has already made its assessment about Iran’s past military programs.”

While trying to convince a skeptical American public that it was necessary to accept the Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was essential for the IAEA to provide complete answers about “possible military dimensions.” On an April 8 news program, Kerry said, “They have to do it. It will be done. If there is going to be a deal they have to do it.”

Yet later, mysteriously, when Iran was unable to answer a quarter of the questions posed by the IAEA, it was acceptable to evade answering.

The day after the IAEA confirmed that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal, on Nov. 19, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said: “The Zionist officials can’t be called humans, they are like animals, some of them. The Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation.”

We Jews know from our history that when a leader starts to dehumanize us and compare us to animals or diseases, this is an effective way of preparing the ground before doing something horrible to us.

It was this kind of anti-Semitism that brought world leaders to the Evian conference, although the world exposed its moral bankruptcy there and added a sad preface to the tragic story that became the Holocaust. That was one of many experiences that taught the Jews that we have no one to depend on but ourselves and prompted us to return to our ancient Jewish homeland and create the modern State of Israel.

Now it is that state, the only Jewish state, that is the object of the same irrational hatred. This week’s decision to close the investigation into Iran’s nuclear work, which essentially whitewashes the plans for a nuclear holocaust of our ancient Jewish homeland, only leads us to conclude that there is a similar moral depravity in today’s world.

Again we are forced to reach the same conclusion: We Jews have no one to rely on but ourselves.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel Hayom

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