Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Iran, Israel, Maps, & Elections

We know the Iranians want to wipe Israel off the map. We hear it almost every week. But just the other day on Sky News, a commentator (who sounded like she worked for Press TV, Tehran’s own propaganda channel), went back to the time honoured cliché when discussing Iran’s genocidal intentions towards Israel. She said that the translation, to wipe Israel off the map, was a misnomer, because there’s no direct translation of the idiom ‘wiping off the map’ in Persian...?

While it’s pretty difficult to argue with someone so obviously determined to allow another genocide of the Jews, there were several things wrong – beyond the point of absurdity – with her statement.

First off, the Iran-apologists have been using this 'idiom' argument for years, and it originated with someone whose statements can actually rival George Galloway’s in their pure idiocy/entertainment value; Michigan University professor Juan Cole, who works tirelessly to promote statements the growing Muslim population in Dearborn, Michigan, will find appealing. His blog is entitled 'Informed Comment', and from reading a couple of posts it's clear that the blog's title is more an aim, rather than a description of the contents...

The problem is, this line of defence about Iran's statements was made regarding one particular Ahmadiejad speech. Not only has Ahmadinejad been making threats for years against Israel, the Iranian leadership too has never been shy about similar statements.

For example, former Iranian president Rafsanjani, speaking in a Friday sermon promised that “if one day, a very important day of course, the Islamic world will also be equipped with the weapons available to Israel now, the imperialist strategy will reach an impasse, because the employment of even one atomic bomb inside Israel will wipe it off the face of the earth, but would only do damage to the Islamic world.”1

Second, the particular statement by Ahmadinejad the Sky commentator was talking about was made in a 2005 conference entitled “The World Without Zionism”, in which he engaged in Holocaust denial saying that the Holocaust was a ‘myth’ and ‘a fairy tale’ invented by Europe to legitimise establishing the State of Israel (of course, this ignores the fact that Jews had been fleeing Europe and elsewhere for approximately 100 years prior to 1948 in order to escape the kinds of obsessive paranoia Ahmadinejad himself is ridden with).

Thirdly, Iran’s military parades often show Shihab-3 missiles on the back of trucks with banners draped over them that read “wipe Israel off the map.”2 One wonders what other idiom would better explain this statement??

With all this it’s breathtakingly myopic, not to mention malicious, to argue over ‘idioms’ over one statement made in a particular speech made more than five years ago. The intentions of anyone attempting to do so should be quite clear.

To add to this, Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian justice minister has stated that there is enough evidence to prosecute Ahmadinejad for incitement to genocide.3 Joshua Teitlebaum of Stanford University says that it is a common theme of incitement to genocide that the intended victim is described not simply negatively, but in specially nonhuman, or dehumanised terminology. The Nazi weekly, Der Sturmer portrayed Jews as parasites and locusts. Ahmadinejad said in October 2005 that “in the Middle East, [the global powers] have created a black and filthy microbe called the Zionist regime."4

While many people are frustrated with the supposed lack of Israeli resolve over Iran, what seems increasingly likely is that president Obama has threatened and manipulated Israel by stating that the US would not support or re-supply Israel if it should strike Iran by itself (I only have John Bolton's statement to this effect). Considering the operational logistics required to take out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, as well as the considerable defences Israel would simultaneously need to defend the home front, Israel would be left with no other option than to use nuclear weapons. This doesn’t mean nukes on cities, but in order to penetrate deep underground where the nuclear sites lie. Once these underground works are destroyed, what the strength of the blast will be with all the enriched uranium also reacting to a  bomb is anyone’s guess.

I have no desire to see any more damage happen to Iran than absolutely necessary. Israeli TV sometimes shows hooded students from Iran saying they're not enemies with Jews or Israel, and I've heard similar statements from protesters in Trafalgar Square when I've spoken to them. All they want is to be rid of their regime, and who can blame them?

The threats Iran poses, not just to Israel and Iran's own people, but to the rest of the world, from Mexico to Thailand, should be clear to anyone watching the news at the moment. There is a clear case for the world taking note of the Iranian threat, and some of them are, thankfully. But what is clear is that Barack Hussein Obama places Iran's priorities above those of the rest of the world. His use for Iran's destabilising effect for world revolution, should it acquire nukes, is too great to resist. One simply cannot downplay or explain away every seemingly 'bungled' decision Obama has made. If he's a Marxist radical, on the other hand, then every decision he has made has been exactly the right one; not only in the Middle East, but in America too. On the other hand, the chaos following a strike on Iran would potentially spell disaster for Obama's re-election hopes. Thus should Israel decide to strike Iran before the next US elections, she would be killing two turds, ops I mean two birds, with one stone.

Once again we're at another point in Israel's short history where we can say, so goes Israel, so goes the rest of the world.

The Caped Crusader

References 1-4 are all taken from Saving Israel by Daniel Gordis