On the day when the "interim agreements" were ratified in Geneva, November 24 2013, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was photographed smiling. He had good reason to be pleased; not since the Munich Agreement in 1938 have Western leaders given so much for so little. As Bret Stephens wrote in the Wall Street Journal, Western leaders in Geneva behaved even more disgracefully than those who had come to Munich.
In Munich, only two Western politicians were present, Chamberlain and Daladier; the United States was not involved. In the photographs then, all the participants looked concerned.
After Munich, Winston Churchill delivered the famous phrase: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war". After Geneva, Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was the only leader expressing disagreement. He spoke of a "historic mistake". Diplomatically, he could not speak of dishonor, although dishonor was plainly evident. And he could he could use the word "betrayal."
In Munich, the big, unspoken item in the room was the persecution of the Jews in Europe. Although Chamberlain and Daladier knew everything about the proliferation of anti-Semitic acts and decisions since Adolf Hitler came to power, they may have thought they were in a weak position, and did not really care about the Jews. They practiced willful blindness. Hitler noticed -- and Kristallnacht soon followed less than six weeks later in Germany: a night in which over 91 Jews were murdered and 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps, Jewish homes, businesses, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, and over 1,000 synagogues were burned.
In Geneva, the big, unspoken item in the room was Israel. Laurent Fabius , Guido Westerwelle, Catherine Ashton and John Kerry knew everything about the calls for destroying Israel uttered for decades by Iranian leaders. They were in a position of strength, but evidently did not care about Israel. They practiced willful blindness. Mohammad Javad Zarif noticed. Ali Khamenei in Tehran also noticed. No Kristallnacht has been perpetrated against Israel -- yet.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd from right), Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (4th from left), and other foreign ministers, listen as EU High Representative Catherine Ashton (3rd from left) speaks in Geneva following negotiations with Iran on Nov. 24, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
It is impossible to hide the evidence: Israel is alone, abandoned by a country supposedly its ally.
Sanctions against Iran have been partially lifted; they will never be restored. Billions of dollars will now flow into Iranian government coffers.
Iranian leaders can continue to enrich uranium; build a weapons-grade plutonium reactor; support massacres in Syria; finance terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, and threaten Israel, a fellow member state of the United Nations -- an act that is illegal under the UN Charter -- with impunity. The international recognition the Iranian leaders now enjoy will legitimize all their activities that make a mockery of human rights.
Iranian leaders continue to deny their efforts to develop what the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called "the Islamic Bomb," but they develop it anyway. They also apparently know that Israel will not intervene militarily against them without a green light from the United States, and that the "agreement" in Geneva is a huge red light. They take the joint U.S.-Israel military exercise scheduled in May 2014 for what it is: a means to hold back the Israeli military for the next six months.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came to Israel again on December 6, 2013, to reassert that Israel's security is at "the top of the American agenda." He stressed that "no agreement will be signed that does not improve Israel's security." Prime Minister Netanyahu had every reason to be skeptical. He reaffirmed Israel's position: a final agreement must "completely end Iran 's nuclear capability."
The next day, at the Saban Forum in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the "right of Iran" to a "peaceful" nuclear program and "modest uranium enrichment", and, to make his position clear, he qualified Netanyahu's stand as "unrealistic."
Netanyahu repeated Israel's unequivocal position, and added, "The Iranian regime is dedicated to our annihilation."
A recent survey conducted for the Israel Democracy Institute shows the growing skepticism of the Israeli public : 49% of Israeli Jews believe Israel should seek new allies and no longer rely on the unwavering friendship of the United States -- a percentage that is unprecedented.
Only 18% of the respondents believe that the Geneva agreements will curb the military nuclear program of Iran; 77% think that the program will continue uninterrupted and will become an existential threat for their country.
In a November 25 Jerusalem Post column, Caroline Glick wrote that the purpose of these signed agreements was not to "prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power" but to "weaken the State of Israel."
A few days ago, Canadian writer David Solway was more straightforward: "The agreements threaten the very existence of Israel. [Obama and Kerry] would like to see Israel ... ushered out of the corridors of history."
When the "interim agreements" were signed, the American media reaction was mixed. Debates took place, and much harsh criticism and approbation was voiced.
In Europe, the media were unanimously favorable. Some were enthusiastic. Several commentators noted with evident pleasure that Israel was now "isolated" and in a "precarious situation."
In 1938, leading European newspapers were like leading European politicians: indifferent to the fate of the Jews. In 2013, leading European media outlets are like leading European politicians: indifferent to the fate of Israel.
Israel has not been so isolated for decades. Kerry, Obama, and the European leaders seem to be taking advantage of the situation to exert maximum pressure on Israel concerning the "Palestinian question" and the necessity to create a "viable Palestinian State" as soon as possible. The Palestinian leadership is more and more intransigent.
The Israeli government knows it cannot rely on anyone at the present time. It also knows that Israel is not the only country affected by the Geneva "interim agreement".
The Saudis understand that their country is under increasing threat and that US-Saudi alliance is unraveling. Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Ambassador to London, made unambiguous comments reflecting the Saudi leaders' position : "We are not going to sit idly by... and not think seriously how we can best defend our country and our area ." Gulf States might feel even more directly threatened.
In a note published Dec. 3 on his Facebook page , Mohammad Jarad Zarif expressed his willingness to "meet with Saudi officials for talks that will be of benefit to both countries, our region and the whole Muslim world." He visited the Gulf States to meet kings and ministers and spoke of the need for "warmer ties" between them and Iran.
A few days later, Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iran's Parliament and senior negotiator on Iran's nuclear program until 2007, showed that these "openings" toward Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States did not alter the regime's position and were essentially an attempt to isolate Israel even further. "The Zionist regime is the modern form of racist fascism," he said, and added that the Geneva agreement is a "great victory" for Iran and a "big step forward" for the regime.
Who could say otherwise?