ISRAELI PRIME Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government had ample reason to avoid speeches by former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denied the Holocaust and threatened to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the map. But it stands to reason that the Israeli prime minister would at least hear out Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who has acknowledged the Holocaust and wished Jews a happy Rosh Hashana on Twitter. But Netanyahu treats the two leaders the same.
He recently ordered Israeli diplomats to leave the United Nations General Assembly during Rouhani’s speech, just as they did during Ahmadinejad’s fiery sermons. In dismissing Rouhani this week as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Netanyahu implicitly gives Ahmadinejad a measure of credit for making his intentions transparent. “Ahmadinejad said, ‘We can get to nuclear weapons with a frown,’ ” Netanyahu said on “CBS This Morning.” “Rouhani says, ‘we can get to nuclear weapons with a smile.’ ”