Trump’s Warsaw Summit Warned Iran Against a Second Holocaust
Last month, President Trump called for a European summit to begin to reorient the continent against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thus far, a number of European nations — England, France, and, ironically, Germany chief among them — have proven hesitant to back Trump’s departure from the flawed and dangerous Iran nuclear deal, which not only rewarded Iran with $150 billion, but also essentially paved their way to a nuclear weapon after the expiration of its sunset clauses in less than seven years.
Poland agreed to host the summit. It was attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and delegates from across the globe coming together to confront Iran.
Warsaw, the city, once known throughout Europe as “the little Jerusalem,” saw the world’s greatest ever decimation of a Jewish community. In 1938, the Jewish population of Warsaw hovered close to 300,000. Following the German occupation of Poland in 1939, the population would balloon to 400,000, as Jews from in and around the city were forced to live inside an area consisting of less than 1.5 square miles, known as the “Jewish Residential District of Warsaw” — or, as we know it today, the Warsaw Ghetto.
There were an average of 9.2 persons per room in the ghetto, and malnourishment and disease would claim nearly 100,000 lives. Three hundred thousand more would be killed by bullets and gas, with 250,000 being sent to their deaths in Treblinka in the summer of 1942 alone. If you’ve done the math already, you know: almost none survived.
Today, little of the old Warsaw remains. Following the Polish Home Army’s heroic uprising in the summer of 1944, the German Nazis would destroy more than 80 percent of all of the city’s infrastructure — more than 10,000 buildings — including roughly all of Warsaw’s bridges, hospitals, factories, cultural centers, and monumental structures.
Still, fragments of the past have lasted. Visitors can still see portions of the ghetto wall, Janusz Korczak’s original orphanage, the last remaining synagogue (which is active and in use), and Umschlagplatz, the square from which those hundreds of thousands of Jews would be sent to their deaths in Treblinka. Perhaps the most moving part of any Jewish visit to the city, however, is the mass grave at Mila 18, headquarters of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, where its heroic commander, Mordechai Anielewicz, and his comrades would fall on what is assumed to be May 8, 1943 (there were no surviving eyewitnesses).
Since then, more than 75 years have passed. Amazingly, the threats facing the Jewish people have not.
Just days ago, yet another member of Iran’s top brass threatened to murder hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jews. Speaking to a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Yadollah Javani, deputy head for political affairs for the regime’s Revolutionary Guard, declared to eager crowds that if the United States dared “shoot a single bullet at us … we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”
During the European summit, however, my visit to Warsaw felt different. In February 2019, the world is not content to sit idly by as a sinister enemy of the Jews plots their demolition. Led by the the United States, nations from across the globe gathered to counter the menace known as the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Shortly before his meeting with Netanyahu, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared in no uncertain terms, “you can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran.”
“The three H’s — the Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah — these are real threats” Pompeo explained, referencing three of Iran’s adopt-an-army projects currently sewing death and extremism across the Middle East.
The highlight of the conference, however, was the speech delivered by Vice President Mike Pence. Pence presented the Trump administration’s resolve in crippling Iran’s economy until it ceases to radiate violence across the region.
Pence accused Iran of being the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, adding that it was the “greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East.” Most importantly, Pence explicitly called out Iran for plotting a “new Holocaust,” echoing the mullahs’ own genocidal rhetoric in his accusations.
Harsh words were also meted out for those American allies who have astonishingly chosen to sidestep American sanctions against Iran. Speaking quite clearly to those nations, Pence warned that their actions would only “strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and the US.”
Through the three long years that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated the Iran nuclear agreement, neither condemned Iran for its genocidal incitement against Israel — even though the United States is a signatory to the 1948 United Nations Anti-Genocide Convention, which expressly prohibits genocidal rhetoric against any nation.
Vice President Pence, in a single speech in Warsaw, where so many Jews died in the Holocaust, corrected that horrendous moral omission.
Shmuely Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 32 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. He served as rabbi at Oxford University for 11 years where Cory Booker was his student President. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.