In the past few years, the cavalier use of the term ‘Nazi’ by those on the Left and the comparison of modern times with how things were during the World War II era has sadly watered down the gravity and horror of the Nazis’ crimes against humanity. Nothing in modern Western society comes even remotely close to the horrors of the evil Nazi regime. Yet when people compare words and policies they do not like to Nazi crimes, they do both Third Reich survivors and the millions of victims of anti-Semitism a devastating disservice.
But there are certain times when the comparison is relevant and, indeed, accurate. The death of Qassem Soleimani presents one such opportunity. It is important to understand the gravity of his role — and what Iran had planned next. The late Soleimani and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) formed — and still form — a modern-day version of Heinrich Himmler and Nazi Germany’s genocidal SS special police force. The IRGC’s elite Quds Force is a modern-day Iranian version of the Waffen-SS of the pre-World War II era.
These parallels put into perspective the dangers the IRGC poses — and the great deed carried out by the United States in striking Soleimani. When liberals such as Reza Aslan say that Soleimani was a “uniformed general of a sovereign nation” and Ben Rhodes argues the IRGC was not out to kill Americans and Jews, a historical comparison is in order. And yes Mr. Aslan, Himmler wore a uniform too.
The SS was the paramilitary force of the Nazi Party that operated independently from the German military until the start of World War II. The SS was directly loyal to Hitler and the Nazi Party — and not to Germany itself in the interwar years. Its goal was to carry out the Nazi ideology of Aryan purity, which of course ultimately led to the Holocaust. The SS supported like-minded dictators and groups abroad, and also set up Volksdeutsche groups — Germanic-origin terror groups to carry out atrocities against Jews.
When you look at the IRGC today, the parallels are uncanny. The IRGC is an independent military force directly loyal to the ayatollah and to the Islamic Revolution itself — and not, per se, to all levers of the Iranian government. The IRGC is the “guardian of the Revolution” set up to protect the country’s “Islamic system.” Iran also has its own military, but the IRGC operates with impunity at home and abroad with its separate sources of funding. The IRGC supports foreign terror organizations, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, who all share a similar goal: The destruction of Israel, the murder of Jews, and jihad against all of the West.
From the multitude of lessons taken from the Holocaust and 2,000 years of anti-Semitism, the most prevalent lesson today is when someone says they plan to kill the Jews, believe them. The Nazis promised it, and the IRGC does, too. The consequences of not stopping evil are always the same. It is always best to stop evil dead in its tracks — which President Trump did last Thursday evening.
Ori Raphael is a civil rights attorney and the executive director of the Jewish Justice Foundation.