Another Tack: Why die for Danzig (Israel)?

France’s outspoken appeasement-promoter, socialist Marcel DéatThere’s every reason to assume that US President Barack Obama has never heard of the pre-WWII demagogic question “Why die for Danzig?” The same can be as safely assumed regarding his Secretary of State John Kerry.

Oddly enough, however, their policy appears to draw inspiration from the same ideological wellspring that gave the world the above rhetorical tease.

The slogan, very famous (or infamous) in its day, made its debut on May 4, 1939 as the title of an op-ed in the Parisian newspaper L’ŒuvreIts author was French socialist Marcel Déat and his message was that another follow-up appeasement of Adolf Hitler is mandatory in order to prevent war.

That was already half-a-year after the September 1938 Munich agreement which wrested the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia and awarded it to Hitler to satiate his appetite. That, in the words of Britain’s then-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, guaranteed “peace for our time.”

When he landed at Heston Aerodrome right after the deal was done, Chamberlain told the cheering crowd that awaited him:

“The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine… We regard the agreement signed last night as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.”

Not too many hours afterwards Chamberlain repeated the same performance outside his official residence, assuring his supporters that he had brought them “peace with honor” and patronizingly recommending they “go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”

But no one in Europe was to sleep soundly again for many years to come, despite Chamberlain’s cynical sacrifice of a small democracy on the altar of peace.

*Frustratingly, the nature of tyrants is that they aren’t impressed by nice-guy naiveté. Hitler’s appetites weren’t sated and by March 1939, he invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia – the very one for which Chamberlain expressed so much support post-betrayal and whose security he solemnly claimed to have upheld.

*Even the definitive end of “the Czechoslovakian problem,” didn’t end Hitler’s provocations – as the appeasers had trusted it would. Hitler robbed Europeans of “a nice quiet sleep” with yet new demands. These involved the Free City of Danzig, a semi-autonomous entity created in 1920 as part of the Treaty of Versailles and placed under League of Nations protection.

Hot on the heels of the Munich Conference, Hitler began agitating for Danzig’s incorporation into the Third Reich. In April 1939 Poland warned that it would defy any German incursion. That presumably would subsequently oblige Warsaw’s allies to come to its aid.

And to forestall this, Déat wrote his commentary with the stirring headline that tauntingly asked Frenchmen whether they should really want to put their lives on the line for Danzig. Not only did Déat think that they shouldn’t, but he further portrayed the Poles as intransigent firebrands, whose irresponsible politicking was the source of all their tribulations. They bring calamity on themselves by opposing Germany’s territorial demands, he asserted.

This should sound ominously familiar to us Israelis all these decades after Déat’s powerful pro-appeasement piece. We have been told that we would bring calamity on ourselves if we continue to oppose Ramallah’s territorial demands. This reprimand was delivered by none other than America’s top diplomat – precisely when he and his boss also bent over backwards to appease the tyrants from Tehran.

Anyone who gets in the way of appeasers is sure to be castigated by them. In his address to the British people on September 27, 1938, a couple of fateful days before the signing of the Munich Agreement, Chamberlain made it seem that Czechoslovakia is the troublemaker, that it harasses Europe’s fellow-democracies with impertinent expectations:

“We cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in war simply on her [Czechoslovakia’s] account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that.”

And after putting Czechoslovakia in its place, as a diminutive no-account bother, Chamberlain proceeded to defend his duplicity as morality incarnate: “Since I first went to Berchtesgaden, more than 20,000 letters and telegrams have come to No.10, Downing Street. Of course, I have been able to look at a tiny fraction of them, but I have seen enough to know that the people who wrote did not feel that they had such a cause for which to fight, if they were asked to go to war in order that the Sudeten Germans might not join the Reich.”

This is exactly what Déat did to the Poles six month later – depict their ostensible obstructionism and obduracy as the only obstacles to world peace. This is what Kerry does to us Israelis when he warns that if the so-called peace talks fail, it will be our fault and we will reap the whirlwind. We will only have ourselves to blame for the misfortunes we bring on ourselves.

“The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” Kerry admonished. “I mean does Israel want a third Intifada?” He added overbearingly:  “I’ve got news for you. Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s… Israel’s neighbors” will “begin to push in a different way.”

And there was more about the comeuppance we should expect for our reluctance to subordinate our survival prospects to his say-so: “If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis.”

But then came the clincher: “If we do not resolve the question of settlements, and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”

In Washington’s eyes, he emphasized, the “settlements are illegitimate” and thus “the entire peace process would be easier if these settlements were not taking place.” That means that it would be easier if many Jerusalem neighborhoods too “were not taking place.”

Bottom line, if Israel doesn’t tamely toe the Obama-Kerry line, it will deserve whatever punishment is meted out to it – either via the ostracism of the otherwise loving family of nations or via more bloodshed in a new terror campaign, which has been a priori justified by the American president and his secretary of state.

All this wasn’t whispered in a private conversation. It was literally broadcast (in a televised interview with Israel’s Channel 2) for all to be suitably impressed with the current American Administration’s zeal for peace for our time – at Israel’s expense.

And since the entire Arab/Muslim world was tuned in, we may be forgiven for wondering just what an effect Kerry’s endorsement of the “Palestinian narrative” might have on Ramallah’s purported peace negotiators. Will they discern in Kerry’s bitter scolding of Israel an incentive to greater flexibility on their part? Or will Kerry’s espousal of their propaganda line embolden Ramallah’s honchos to remain every bit as uncompromisingly inflexible as they had been hitherto?

They have just about as much reason to seek the middle ground as Hitler did after Chamberlain had assured Britons that they wouldn’t fight on Czechoslovakia’s account and after Déat had indicated that the French might not be ready to die for Danzig.

This is moreover colossally underscored by the spectacle of Obama’s and Kerry’s desperate efforts to ease the sanctions against Tehran and appease its nuke-craving regime. Can anyone rationally expect that Iran’s fanatics would be more forthcoming if pressure on the ayatollahs were alleviated?

The chances of that happening are just as promising as were the chances that Hitler would be satisfied after swallowing the Sudetenland.

It pays us to recall that Chamberlain maintained that “what we did was to save her [Czechoslovakia] from annihilation and give her a chance of new life as a new State, which involves the loss of territory and fortifications, but may perhaps enable her to enjoy in the future and develop a national existence under a neutrality and security comparable to that which we see in Switzerland today.”

Without undue cerebral contortions, we can credibly hear Obama likewise contending that he is only doing the right thing by the Jewish state, crowing about saving us and giving us unappreciative Israelis “a chance of a new life…” to enable us “to enjoy in the future and develop a national existence under a neutrality and security comparable to that which we see in Switzerland today.”

Honeyed blandishments aplenty ooze forth periodically from Obama’s lips in one adaptation or another. It’s only our stiff-necked obstinacy which prevents us from seeing his light and bowing down in gratitude.

Of course, if we persist in our disruptive disobedience, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Obama to hector: “We cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the United States in war simply on Israel’s account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that.”

With mutating measures of subtlety and bluntness Obama does already regale his radicalized political home base with kindred sentiments about not getting entangled on account of pesky Israel. Indeed, that’s the not-so-understated subtext of the riot act Kerry read us and of Obama’s strategic decision to appease Iran.

Had Obama and Kerry ever heard of Déat, they would – by only changing the place name – regurgitate his “Why-die-for-Danzig” theme in our context.

A final footnote – Déat became a leading Nazi-collaborator in Vichy France.

15 thoughts on “Another Tack: Why die for Danzig (Israel)?

  1. Herr Hitler appears to have been on the side of History with the all too temporary dismantling of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union during the war. I wonder if the (now seemingly inevitable) dismembering of Israel will be his greatest posthumous victory. 🙂

  2. The “Obama-Kerry line” on settlements has been the line of every US Secretary of State since Johnson-Rusk. Would that Israel had listened to Johnson-Rusk.

    And the comparison of any possible Iran deal (not a sure thing at all) to Munich is completely off base. There is no suggestion by anyone that Israel would be required to give up any territory or defenses as the result of such a deal, while Czechoslovakia had to relinquish its mountain fortifications and significant territory.

    • “Would that Israel had listened to Johnson-Rusk” would have guaranteed that there would no longer be a Jewish state at this time, thank god that Israeli leaders, both left and right, have had the temerity to do whats right for Israel’s survival and not the interests US/Arab relations. And where is it written that every position(or any position) the state department takes is in Israel’s best interests? No Muslim nation recognizes Israel’s right to exist, their school textbooks and maps show all of Israel as Palestine to this day and Hamas/Iran still claim their number one mission is the total eradication if Israel.

    • How can you say “the comparison of any possible Iran deal to Munich is completely off base?” As it stands, the deal between Iran and the USA allows Iran to keep the Uranium that’s already been enriched. Uranium enriched to 5% is 7/10 of the way to being suitable for use in a nuclear bomb; while Uranium enriched to 20% is 9/10 of the way to being used in a nuclear bomb. Iran has TONS of both, and both are only a few days away from being sufficiently enriched. What’s worse, the agreement doesn’t make any demands on Iran, such as Iran being required to immediately dismantle ANY of her enrichment sites, surrender ANY enriched Uranium, or close down her nuclear program. And I hope you don’t believe that horse manure about Iran’s nuclear program being for “peaceful purposes.” If so, you are either a complete fool, or a supporter of Rouhani.

  3. is the world listening I hear you say Sarah? history is screaming at them….but they continue to negotiate with very vocal extremists in whose religious system-its acceptable to lie to those of other faiths, why or why…we really never learn do we?…..many will see your comparison as extreme, but I for one do not, you are spot on-again, sadly -Liberman was right this week, Israel needs to consider new allies…

  4. Yes dear Sarah…it’s 1938 again and NOTHING has been learned from history…(as expected).
    The EU & the US are trying to appease the Iranian Nazis on the expense of the Jews…the EVIL and incompetent and wicked cowards Obama and Kerry, have in fact become ALLIES of the Iranian mullahs !
    The solution is simple…back in 1938, there had been no IAF…NOW there IS an IAF !
    I remember the Israeli jets flying over Auschwitz…NOW IS THE TIME !


  6. What we are witnessing with these Geneva talks with Iran is a type of willful blindness of a very different order when compared to Munich 1938 on the part of the appeasers, because, first, unlike at Munich 1938 when there was no ready lesson with regard to the dangers of appeasement at hand, we presently have that very precedent of Munich 1938 to refer to and learn from; and second, in the case of Nazi Germany, the appeasers were dealing with a threatening great power which, even if temporarily weakened, was still a credible future threat and therefore a power to be reckoned with, whereas Iran, like North Korea, is the international equivalent of a small town bully whom the big boys ought to be able to dispatch with ease — and the very fact that they are not willing to do so signals a supine posture even worse than that of Munich 1938.
    I am convinced that should Iran be allowed to obtain the bomb it will be my country, the US, the Great Satan, rather than Israel, which is only the Little Satan, that will pay the full price. Despite everything stacked against Israel, the country is thriving as never before in almost every sense, literally like a lush oasis in a vast desert, and is poised to continue to do so, in marked contrast to the Decadence so evident in the US and Europe and the chaos and squalor of the Arab world. The modern miracle that is Israel will prevail and prosper, while the foolish and spineless excuse that gives such false comfort to so many in the US, that Iran is Israel’s problem and not the problem of the US, will in the end result in great harm to my country.

  7. Sarah, ‘Histories truths of the past must always be contemplated and drummed into our memories. History again repeats itself, as only names, places and timeline become ‘updated and applicable’ to current events. This article ‘Why Die for Danzig? should be ‘copied and pasted’ and ‘bombarded’ to Obama/Kerry addresses’ and as many in all of congress as possible. The article should be ‘e-blasted’ fervently as a ‘shout out’ in favor of the US and Israel, and any other nation or entity who understands ‘the Evil of our Time

  8. Chamberlain 1938 Munich Betrayal was concluded in spite that Mein Kempf writing was on the wall.
    Shimon Peres 1993 Oslo Betrayal was concluded in spite that the IslamoNazi Koran & Islamic texts writing is on the wall, twitter, facebook, youtube, social medias…& in spite of the IslamoNazi fatwa portrayed as PLO-PA Charter that was never amended, & in spite of the IslamoNazi fatwas portrayed as Int’l law &/or as UNGA Resolution(s) against Israel.

    That’s what happens when contrary to objective international law, previous Supreme Court Judge Barak ruled that Judea, Samaria, and Gaza constitute “belligerent occupied territory.” His decision was a pure fabrication, since no state other than Israel has any legal claim to this land—a claim affirmed by the 1920 San Remo Conference.

    That’s what happens when Shimon Peres violate impunitively Israel’s Penal Code, Section 97.
    Incriminating on the way Bibi & Inc. who voted for the release in four batches of Jihadis PLO-PA just so Livni could sit at the table of the Jihad Expansion thru negotiations.

    That’s what happens when Mr. Kerry’s advocacy of an Arab state in Eretz Israel constitutes a clear violation of the American Constitution per the 1925 Anglo-American Accord, which was ratified by the United States Senate and subsequently proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge on December 5, 1925. That treaty remains in force to this day as the supreme law of the land.

    That’s what happens when same as Europe so the US Administration is willing to close an eye on the IslamoNazi Jihad against Israel as long as the US & Europe keep on making their Jizya payments to the IslamoNazis that in return will tone down their IslamoNazi Jihad against & in the US & Europe territories.

    Syria gets to keep its chemical weapons In spite that it agreed to get rid from its chemical depots.

    And now Bibi say that He will agree that Russia will handle out of Iran territory some of Iran uranium & plutonium surplus.

    Iran will race to its nuclear weapons in spite of Iran threats against the US & Obama daughters, against Saudia, against the economic lines of the Hormuz Strait & against Israel,

    Unless IDF/IAF deem proper when necessary to preemtively take down Iran enrichment plants in Natanz and Fordow. A heavy-water reactor in the process of completion in Arak and the uranium-to-gas facility in Isfahan that
    supplies nuclear centrifuges.
    And on the way back to send a couples of missiles against a US Ship & US bases stationed in the Arabian Gulf so as to compell a US Military retaliation against Iran to completely finish the ‘clean up’ job.

    Thank You Sarah H. for Your well articulated piece.

  9. They used to say Carl Rove was Bush’s brain. Who is Obama’s brain? Bush didn’t want to tackle Iran because the country had been worn down by the media’s negative coverage of our response in Iraq and Afghanistan, a result of 9/11. Cutting Iran down to size wouldn’t be as deeply penetrating as needed in Iraq, etc, so what holds Obama back? After all on occasion he has landed a punch or two reluctantly perhaps. So why not Iran especially when the gulf states would back it? Why didn’t he stand with the demonstrators in Tehran years ago and propped up the mullahs instead? Europe was bled dry by WW1 and tired, this is not the situation now in America where Iran is despised since the hostage crises in 1979. Why does Obama want Iran on top? We know he isn’t a strategic genius, we see him zig and zag. Who is Obama’s brain? who advises him? who dines with his family upstairs in he White House family quarters? who does he trust the most for advise? Who grew up in Iran because her parents were doctors there? Who grew up hating imperialist and fascist America? Who is Valerie Jarrett?

  10. Why Die For Danzig? was an excellent piece of work, with my disagreeing only on one minor point; that being the Obama/Chamberlain connection. However, as mentioned, that was a minor point as she stressed the ultimate outcome of both ventures far more so than the similarities of intent. That is where I salute Sarah Honig’s effort while deriding my American counterparts as they rant about Obama’s incompetence and gullibility. He is neither.

  11. Fortunately “Israel is not and will not be Czechoslovakia” as Ariel Sharon told George Bush jnr.
    Even overwhelming victory, however, means loss of precious lives, lives over whose loss Obama, Kerry and The New York Times and Haaretz crowd would not lose any sleep.

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