Both Israeli lawmakers and conservative pundits have compared the deal over Iran’s nuclear program secured in Geneva this weekend with the Munich Agreement of 1938 in which European nations agreed to allow Nazi Germany to annex parts of Czechoslovakia.
Of the deal, then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared his infamous phrase, “Peace for our time.” A year later, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, revealing the folly of Chamberlain and his allies’ appeasement policy.
“Winds of Munich are blowing from Geneva,” Israeli Tourism Minister Uzi Landau told the Jerusalem Post.
Right-wing Member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin wrote, “The Iranian version of the Munich Agreement was just signed in Geneva. Like Czechoslovakia in 1938, which was not party to the Western powers’ discussions that effectively brought about its demise, Israel today watches from the sidelines as its existential interest is being sacrificed by the West.”
Member of Knesset Ayelet Shaked said, “As Chamberlain said: Everything would have been alright if Hitler hadn’t lied to me.”
Besides the Israeli politicians, an array of conservative American voices has been invoking the words “Munich,” “appeasement” and “Chamberlain” as analogies for the Obama administration’s quest for a deal with Iran, while bloggers have been posting side-by-side photos of the Geneva and Munich meetings and photo-shopped images of Obama and Chamberlain.
“Nothing good happens late at night, and America just had a modern-day Neville Chamberlain moment,” former Congressman Allen West wrote.
“President Obama has just empowered the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, to pursue its nuclear goals and objectives,” West added. “This is not diplomacy, this is abject surrender and appeasement. Iran loses nothing, not a single facility, not any capability to enrich uranium, but we have conceded the one best non-military option: economic sanctions.”
“We have fallen for the biggest deception ever,” wrote West.
Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes wrote, “This wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid. An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and November 24 will be remembered along with Munich and September 29.”
At least two observers dubbed the deal “Munich 2.” For example, James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation wrote a piece over at National Review with that title.
“What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century. The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear,” Carafano wrote.
“The British think the deal with Iran makes sense. Then, again, it was a British government that believed Munich meant we could all get a good night’s sleep now,” Carafano added.
The Joshua Pundit blog also called the deal “Munich 2.” It posted this black and white photo-shopped image of President Obama dressed as Neville Chamberlain.
Ben Shapiro of Breitbart believes the deal with Iran is “worse than Munich” in part because in 1938 Hitler had not made known his plans to exterminate European Jews while Iran has expressed a wish to wipe Israel from the map.
As talks were getting underway last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel is “doomed to extinction.”
“The Zionist regime is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to extinction,” Khamenei told Basij militia commanders.
Twitter, too, was filled with posts hash-tagged #Chamberlain, including these:
— Raphael Gluck (@einfal) November 25, 2013
— Nate Cohen (@docnatecohen) November 24, 2013
— Low Rider (@daves_hart) November 24, 2013
And drilling down further on the historical analogy, the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol posted excerpts from Winston Churchill’s speech in the House of Commons after the Munich Agreement.
“And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time,” Churchill – who in 1940 succeeded Chamberlain as prime minister – said 75 years ago.
In the column he titled “Peace for Our Time,” Victor Davis Hanson wrote in the National Review, “There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements.”