A series of videos asserting that Israel is within its legal and moral rights to attack Iran have gone viral, and had been seen by over two million people as of Sunday. They were launched by the pro-Israeli activist group The Land of Israel.
The videos assert Israel’s obligation to protect its people from “a genocidal dictator.”
As of Sunday, the first of the videos, “Iran vs. Israel — Back to the future,” had been viewed about 1 million times since it was posted two weeks ago. The second, “Iran vs. Israel — No fear,” posted late last week, had received over 1,650,000 views at the time of writing.
“Back to the future,” portrays Holocaust-era Jews, powerless and dejected, who tried to enter the United States on the USS St. Louis — but were forced to return to Nazi Germany. To a soundtrack of orchestrated music, American-born Jeremy Gimpel, one of the co-founders of the group, indirectly equates the gravity of the Iranian threat with that of the Holocaust.
“We are reliving the year 1939 — but this time is different,” says Gimpel, referring to the start of World War II and with it the Holocaust.
“But, this time, we have been resurrected,” he adds, referring to the State of Israel and Jews’ ability to defend themselves. “We must never depend on the help of any other country for survival,” he goes on, asserting that Israel is facing a threat “unparalleled in world history” from Iran.
“No fear,” the second video, narrated by Ari Abramowitz, another American-born co-founder of the group, takes a different approach.
He talks about Iran’s desire to conquer the world and being on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons (if the regime does not have them already, he adds) with sound bites of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invoking the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, at a massive rally — “Our dear imam, you stated that the arrogant powers of the world must be annihilated!” — to which the crowd erupted in cheers.
Abramowitz offers an explanation for the world’s ostensible paralysis vis-à-vis a nuclear Iran. “It’s called cognitive dissonance,” he says, “the subconscious denial of something so terrifying that the gravity of the threat is totally denied despite the catastrophic consequences of inaction.”
He adds that Israel cannot afford to act that way.
A third video is to be posted soon, the group says.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened the Iranian threat to the Holocaust in an address marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. Nobel Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel rejected the comparison. “Tehran will not build another Auschwitz,” Wiesel said.
Israeli groups have also taken action against the perceived Israeli gear-up for an attack on Iran. The “Iranians we love you” social media campaign went viral in March after a group of Israelis tried to extend to their Iranian counterparts messages of friendship rather than aggression.
The Israeli media has recently debated what an Israeli attack on Iran would mean for the Israeli public — and if such an attack is necessary.
The United States and Europe have tried to engage Iran about its nuclear program, and US President Barack Obama indicated that if the Iranians can prove that the nature of its program is demonstrably civilian — and peaceful — that the US would tolerate it.
The last round of talks, in Istanbul, between Iran and the P5+1 group — the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany — brought some hope for a breakthrough with Iran, but no concrete decisions were taken. Talks are set to resume in Baghdad on May 23.