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April 21, 2016 2:37 pm

Holocaust Survivor Foxman: Iranian Foreign Minister’s Invoking of ‘Never Again’ to Justify Weapons Build-Up ‘Offensive, Obnoxious, Insulting’

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Former ADL national director Abraham Foxman. Photo: Wikipedia.

Former ADL national director Abraham Foxman. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Holocaust survivor and renowned lifelong warrior against antisemitism decried the use of a phrase associated with the Nazi genocide of the Jews by Iran’s foreign minister in a Washington Post op-ed on Wednesday.

Abraham Foxman, former national director of the human rights organization the Anti-Defamation League, expressed his outrage to The Algmeiner on Thursday about Mohammad Javad Zarif’s invoking of “never again” to justify Iran’s “building up of its defenses.”

“We don’t own the words ‘never again,’” stated Foxman, whose early childhood was spent in the care of a Catholic nanny to whom his Polish-Jewish parents entrusted him when they were sent by the Nazis to a ghetto. “Having said that, it is offensive, obnoxious, provocative and insulting on Zarif’s part to have used it, when Iran denies the Holocaust, which is the foundation for ‘never again.’”

Foxman, a fellow at the Tel Aviv-based think tank the Institute for National Security Studies, was referring to a passage in the Iranian foreign minister’s piece, in which he applied the famous phrase to what he claimed is the Iranian public’s sentiment following and in the face of attacks against the country.

In 1980, in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein launched a war against Iran fully supported financially and militarily by almost all of our Arab neighbors and by the West. Unable to secure a quick victory, Hussein used chemical weapons against our soldiers and civilians. The West not only did nothing to prevent this, but it also armed Hussein with sophisticated weapons, while actively preventing Iran from getting access to the most rudimentary defensive necessities…

This may have been forgotten by most in the West, but it is not forgotten by our people. They remember the missiles raining down, the horrific images of men, women and children murdered with chemical weapons and, above all, the lack of a modern means of defense.

On top of this, having listened to the outdated U.S. mantra of “all options are on the table” for 37 years, our people understand that we need to be prepared to prevent that illegal and absurd threat from ever becoming a reality.

The words “never again” resonate with Iranians, too.

Zarif, who was the Islamic Republic’s chief negotiator with the P5+1 powers during the talks leading up to last July’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known more familiarly as the nuclear deal, penned his article in response to world developments, and to the concern that Iran is not living up to its end of the agreement. Its muscle-flexing, in the form of repeated ballistic-missile tests; abduction of American sailors and fighting alongside Assad’s forces in Syria, has caused the US Congress to consider imposing new sanctions or enforcing existing ones not lifted after the signing of the JCPOA.

But Zarif asserted that “the West does not appear to be focused on joining hands to eradicate militant extremism,” to support his claims that Iran’s actions are “defensive” in nature.

“Our people want nothing more than peace and cooperation with our neighbors and the world at large,” he wrote. “We have not launched a war in more than two centuries and continue to make an unequivocal commitment of never commencing such foolishness. We challenge all our detractors — large and small — to commit likewise.”

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  • zadimel

    “We have not launched a war in more than two centuries and continue to make an unequivocal commitment of never commencing such foolishness.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Wow! I am happy with that viewpoint. But he represents a nation that has supplied arms and personnel to Hezbollah, Hamas and other terror groups for use against Israel and others. His nation has continually expressed its fervent desire to DESTROY the Jewish State. The stated policy of Iran is to annihilate the Jewish state and its people. Has the government of Iran suddenly changed its mind or is it now the policy to conceal its lust for the destruction of its neighbor?

  • Wm. J. Levy

    I hate this former head of the ADL earned more than $300,000 a year and walked around with bodyguards and did nothing to lessen anti-Jew fervor and activity.

    Kick-A-Jew held in a FL town got seminars. A sign during Occupy Wall St. against Jews got “If we had known we would have held seminars”.

    Jews are weak and hated because they have no strong leaders and so it grows unabated.

    Prof. Ruth Wisse in the WSJ just wrote that after doing nothing to stop the anti-Jewish behavior on college campuses for DECADES, I said DECADES, not immediately because our ”
    Jewish Leaders” don’t like confromations so all the Jewish students are left to suffer.

    Ron Lauder and all the other wealthy 3rd generation Jews are to blame.

  • Ghilmeini

    Zarif’s statement is obscene in another regard, most of Iran’s casualties were from insane suicide attacks after they had already repelled the Iraqi invasion. Khomeini refused to end the war. Like all terrorists, he sent other people’s sons to die and even used children.

  • Carol

    Islam has a history of theft, kidnapping, rape, slave trade, sex slaves, etc. Is it no wonder that they would stoop to stealing the true victimization of the Jewish people, especially in light of their lunatic, but altogether too real, rants about wiping Israel off the map.

    Islam, more than any political ideology-infused religion, is a ideology of victimhood. They draw their strength from their psychotic notions of victimhood and being “the new Jews.”

    It’s about time Foxman starts to recognize this, as so much of his focus has been the right wing and bending over backwards to appease Muslims. Perhaps he is waking up or finally admitting to the fact that Islam (and the Left) is the worst fascism on the face of the earth.

  • Lia

    Iran makes a point of being offensive, obnoxious and insulting.

  • stevenl

    The elimination of the Iranian mullocracy is fair game. International Iranian terrorism is defensive!!!!