Israel’s Prime Minister Says Iran’s President Is “Like Hitler”

You could safely file this in the “ominous rumblings” file from Israel (and you should definitely file it there if you’re a policymaker in Tehran):

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a psychopath and anti-Semite whose declarations resemble those of Adolf Hitler, Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a newspaper interview on Saturday.

“Ahmadinejad speaks today like Hitler before taking power,” Olmert told Germany’s Bild newspaper. “He speaks of the complete destruction and annihilation of the Jewish people.”

Ahmadinejad has questioned the Holocaust and called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

He has also suggested the Jewish state should be moved to Europe or North America.

“So you see, we are dealing with a psychopath of the worst kind, with an anti-Semite,” said Olmert. “God forbid that this man ever gets his hands on nuclear weapons, to carry out his threats.”

Iran says it has the sovereign right to enrich uranium to use as fuel in power stations.

Israel is believed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal.

Israel says Iran is months away from acquiring the know-how to make nuclear weapons. Other experts say Iran is still years away from the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon.

Don’t forget the larger context of this from the Israeli standpoint. The phrase “Never Again” is not just two words. Israelis (and many Jews around the world) have made it abundantly clear since the founding of Israel that they would never sit back and just let another Holocaust take place. To many, the steady drumbeat of provocative, defiant and threatening comments from Tehran have come to sound reminiscent of Hitler’s Mein Kampf where the Nazi-dictator-to-be made his intentions clear even though many pooh-poohed or ignored them at the time.

That makes it all the more significant what happens in the next few months between the United Nations, Washington and Iran. Will Israel continue to watch Iran or will it decide it can’t wait any longer? And is there any operation it can undertake that would (a) remove the perceived Iranian nuclear threat and (b) not spark a wider conflict in the Middle East? Stay tuned…