Responding to Iran: Americans are not fooled by Khamenei’s lies. But what troubles us most is President Obama’s feckless policy towards Iran. He is presiding over the systemic collapse of American credibility around the globe.

MEME-SecondHolocaust-small(New York City, New York) — An Iranian official this week attacked an op-ed I recently wrote with Senator Santorum for CNN.com as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

You can read our original op-ed here, and the Iranian official’s op-ed here.

Here is Senator Santorum’s and my response:

The American people are not fooled by the lies of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Americans understand that Iran’s illegal nuclear program poses a grave danger to U.S. national security, to Israel, to NATO, and to our Arab allies in the Middle East.  

As we stated in our column, a new poll shows that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if the world allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Given that the Khamenei regime is one of the world’s worst state sponsors of terror, Americans are right to be so deeply concerned.

 

The regime’s response to our column would be laughable if its intent wasn’t so diabolical. Tehran is trying to use Hitler-esque spin as part of its charm offense. The mullahs are saying they just want peace and are hoping the West will surrender and ease off — or dismantle — the sanctions, even as they steadily develop the ability to annihilate their enemies.

 

What troubles us most, however, is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat.

The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

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Iranian official attacks oped I wrote with Senator Santorum as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

iran-nuclear-graphic(New York City, New York) — A new poll finds that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” — the complete annihilation of Israel and her six million Jews — if the world allows Iran to build nuclear warheads. What’s more, 68% of Americans fear a “nuclear holocaust” inside the United States if Iran builds The Bomb.

Former Senator Rick Santorum and I cited these facts in a recent op-ed we wrote for CNN.com, warning that the Iranian regime appears to be following Adolf Hitler’s playbook of calling for peace while actually building a war machine of devastating proportions.

Now, an official of the Iranian regime has responded, attacking our arguments as “ludicrous, counterproductive, and unfortunate.”

Hamid Babaei is counselor and head of press office for the Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations.

“The recent op-ed by Rick Santorum and Joel C. Rosenberg is yet another attempt to stymie and shackle Iran and international negotiators in ongoing talks about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program,” wrote Babaei. “Iran should be able to enjoy its right to peaceful nuclear energy while avoiding further hostilities and instability. Particularly illogical is their joining in the decades-old rhetoric, comparing who they see as their foe — Iran — to Adolf Hitler. Their view of the diplomatic path is misguided. Their attempt to compare the Iranian government to the murderous Third Reich is ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate….[T]heir comparisons to Hitler carry some insidious inferences. They say that since Hitler’s claim that he desired peace was a lie, Iran’s claims to want peace cannot be believed. Therefore diplomacy in general can’t happen and thus nations are locked in a policy of continuous war and aggression. They also seek to undermine any constructive debate about policy, and instead have the public and policy makers act out of sheer panic rather than thoughtful statesmanship.”

To read Mr. Babaei’s full column, please click here.

Later this morning, Senator Santorum and I will publish our response.

For now, here are further excerpts of our original column.

“On May 21, 1935, Adolf Hitler delivered his infamous ‘peace’ speech,” we wrote. “In his masterful history of Nazi Germany, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer quotes the Fuhrer’s remarks at length: ‘Germany needs peace and desires peace….Germany has solemnly recognized and guaranteed France her frontiers….Germany has concluded a non-aggression pact with Poland.’ Shirer, a CBS Radio correspondent, called the address ‘ne of the cleverest and most misleading of his Reichstag orations this writer, who sat through most of them, ever heard him make.’He observed the West seemed beguiled by the speech, noting the Times of London welcomed Hitler’s words ‘with almost hysterical joy.’….Yet Hitler was lying to buy time. He would not bring peace, but a horrific war, annexing Austria, invading France and Poland, and ordering the extermination of six million Jews.”

Santorum and I then stated that “such history is worth noting in today’s showdown with Iran. Many in the West seem beguiled by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.”

“Let me say loud and clear that peace is within reach,” Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly last September.

“President Barack Obama praised Rouhani’s more moderate course,’ and The New York Times called Rouhani charming.’ By November 24, Iran had successfully negotiated an interim nuclear deal with the P5+1. The deal was widely lauded, especially by Iran. The ‘Geneva deal means the surrender of big powers before the great nation of Iran,’ Rouhani said in January.”

But no wonder the Iranians were so happy:

  • Sanctions were eased, and “Iran was given access to $550 million of its assets that are frozen overseas,” noted Iran Watch. “This is the first tranche of the $4.2 billion that Iran has been promised.”
  • The interim deal does not require Iran to dismantle a single centrifuge or stop enriching uranium to 3.5%. 
  • Tehran has 18,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium, and some operate 15 times faster than older models. 
  • After years of work and massive financial investment, Iran currently has only enough enriched uranium to run its Bushehr Reactor for three months, notes Valerie Lincy of the Wisconsin Project On Nuclear Arms Control. 
  • Yet Iran now has enough enriched uranium to build six or seven nuclear warheads, Lincy adds.

“The world is at a critical moment,” we argued. “President Obama must insist on a final deal that requires Iran to fully dismantle its illegal uranium enrichment capabilities, its heavy water plutonium facility in Arak, and its nuclear weapons development efforts. The President — who never should have agreed to ease sanctions — should also support congressional efforts and declare that if Iran refuses to truly give up its nuclear ambitions, then he will sign aggressive new sanctions to be imposed the moment the six-month period of the interim deal is complete. What’s more, he should significantly beef up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, and abandon efforts to slash our Army to pre-World War II levels. Right now, the mullahs do not take Obama seriously. They do not believe a serious U.S. military option is really “on the table.” The President must make them believe it and restore American credibility.”

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Did any Christians stand with the Jews during the Holocaust? Rabbi Riskin & I discuss “The Auschwitz Escape” & the most sensitive issues in Jewish-Christian relations today.

 

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (right), moderator David Nekrutman, and me speaking at Lincoln Square Synagogue on Tuesday evening.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (right), moderator David Nekrutman, and me speaking at Lincoln Square Synagogue on Tuesday.

(New York City, New York) — Here is the video of the event we did Tuesday night at the Lincoln Square Synagogue here in Manhattan.

It was a really special and fascinating event — one of the most interesting I have ever had the honor of being a part. We covered some of the most sensitive issues in Jewish-Christian relations but all in a loving, thoughtful, respectful way.

The online video runs about one hour and forty minutes. The last forty-five minutes or so are the Rabbi and I answering questions from the audience.

The event was titled, “Are We Still Alone? In a time of crisis, will there be Christians standing with Jews?”

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone, and the chief rabbi of the Israeli community of Efrat (ancient “Ephratah,” near Bethlehem), was one of the main speakers.

I was the other.

The evening was moderated by David Nekrutman, executive director of the Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation. CJCUC was founded by Rabbi Riskin.

We discussed true stories that inspired The Auschwitz Escape, and especially the story of the evangelical Christian pastors and people of a little French town called Le Chambon who risked their lives to rescue some 5,000 people during the Holocaust, most of them Jews.

We also discussed key lessons of the Holocaust, why many Jews felt alone during World War II, what Jews and Christians need to know about each other in light of history, and where Jewish-Christian relations stand today.

>> To watch the video of the Lincoln Square Synagogue event, please click here.

>> To learn more about The Auschwitz Escape, please click here.

“The Auschwitz Escape” hits #7 on Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list.

PublishersWeekly-logo(New York City, New York) — We’ve just learned that The Auschwitz Escape has hit #7 on the hardcover fiction best-seller list of Publishers Weekly, the industry trade magazine. It has also just hit the USA Today best-seller list.

Thanks again to all of you who are reading the book, and writing and Tweeting and emailing and posting on Facebook about it. Please continue to honestly review the book and Tweet and Facebook me your thoughts. I’m reading as much of it as time will allow and love to see what parts of the book people find most interesting.

Given how important the true stories are that inspired this novel — and how eager I am to see people rediscover the lessons of the Holocaust — I’m especially encouraged by the initial reception the book is receiving. Hopefully, as word of mouth continues to spread about The Auschwitz Escape, more and more people — especially young people — will find themselves intrigued and inspired by such true heroes that faced a terrible evil but risked their lives to save others.

P.S. — Here’s a quick write up that Publishers Weekly published this week about the book.

Learning from History: A Novel About Escaping a Death Camp

It’s a departure from his usual idiom of contemporary thrillers with Middle East elements, but Joel Rosenberg’s historical novel The Auschwitz Escape (Tyndale) debuts characteristically high, at #7 on our Hardcover Fiction list. Rosenberg’s novel about a Christian pastor and a Jew who escape from the notorious Auschwitz death camp is based in fact. Rosenberg, who characterizes himself as a Jewish believer in Jesus, has already appeared on Fox News—he was interviewed by Shannon Bream while in Israel, and appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s On the Record. He had a lengthy interview with Pat Robertson on CBN’s The 700 Club. An op-ed he co-authored with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum appeared at CNN.com. A book tour includes an event this week at a Manhattan synagogue. In its review, PW said the book was “Rosenberg’s most moving work to date.” Rosenberg’s previous books— he writes fiction and nonfiction —have sold nearly three million copies, with his latest adding to that total. —Marcia Z. Nelson