Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Montreal Academic Downplays Threat of Iran, Devises Pro-"Hamas Quiz"

The following letter, by one Jeffrey Rudolph of Montreal, appears in the current issue of the Canadian Jewish News.
Iran is not the threat  
A Feb. 5 letter “Dealing with Iran,” makes  some serious errors.  
It wrongly assumes that Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. However, in March 2013, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that Iran has not decided to develop a nuclear weapon and that it would be unable to do so secretly.  
It repeats the false accusation that Iranian leaders threaten to wipe Israel out. However, in 2012, then-Israeli deputy prime minister Dan Meridor acknowledged that then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said that Iran seeks to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.” While the western media regularly present Iran as a dire threat to world peace, Iran has in fact not invaded any country since the 1700s – in marked contrast to the United States and Israel.  
As for threatening Jews, the Islamic Republic, while anti-Zionist, is not anti-Semitic as manifested in its treatment of Iran’s Jewish community – the largest of any Muslim-majority country. The Jewish community in Iran dates back more than 2,000 years, continues to run kosher shops, Hebrew schools and synagogues, and has guaranteed representation in parliament. The main source of evil today is clearly ISIS, and an effective force countering ISIS is Iran. Therefore, it is fair to ask: which country is better confronting today’s evil, Iran or Israel? 
It should not be difficult for Canadians to understand that the conflict the United States and Israel have with Iran is due to geopolitics, not ideology. Iran wants to be recognized as a major regional power, while the United States and Israel want to frustrate that goal to preserve their regional pre-eminence. Many informed Israelis freely acknowledge this reality. For example, according to Eliezer Tsafrir, former head of Israeli intelligence on Iran and Iraq: “However ideological and Islamic, everything Iran was doing was nationalistic, and even similar to the Shah.”
Here's the letter I sent in response:
The primary problem with Jeffrey Rudolph's letter claiming "Iran is not the threat" is that it assumes that Iran is a rational player in the geopolitical theatre. It is not. Iran, or rather, the Islamic republic, is ruled by inflexible Shia religious fanatics who are looking to usher in the messianic era of the Mahdi, the proverbial 12th Imam. He took a powder many centuries ago but is slated to return provided certain criteria can be met. First and foremost of these is the demise of world Jewry. For, until we are all gone, the Shia end-times scenario, which places this much smaller branch of Islam "uber alles" (so to speak), cannot play out as Iran's leaders, and, indeed, all devout Shias, are convinced it will.
You can therefore understand why Iran would be eager to acquire nuclear weaponry, and why Israel, the Jewish state, would be in its nuclear crosshairs. Getting rid of Israel with the push of a button (because, given Israel's size, one nuke would likely do the job), would be a great start, and a necessary precursor for coaxing the "occluded" Mahdi out of hiding . 
Thus, you cannot think of Iran as though it's another Soviet Union--a rational actor that would hesitate to unleash thermonuclear war on the world because it realized that it amounted to MADD, that is, "mutually assured destruction." The Islamic republic, mad as it is, would have no such hesitation because these religious zealots are actually looking forward to the destruction and to what comes next--both on earth and in the great hereafter.
That makes Iran at least as great a threat as ISIS, and, given how much closer it is to getting an A-bomb, the threat it poses is arguably more imminent and, indeed, far graver. 
As for the notion that Iran is not anti-Semitic, and that Iran's Jews are delighted to be there, I would remind Mr. Rudolph that, as subjects of a Muslim country ruled by sharia law, Iran's Jews are dhimmis, i.e. second class citizens who can upgrade their status in only one way--by converting to Islam. Are they happy to live under such circumstances? Perhaps some are. One is reminded, however, of Sigmund Freud's cheeky words when, as a condition of being released by the Nazis, he was forced to issue a statement saying that he had not been mistreated while in their custody. Freud said: "I can most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone." I wonder how many of Iran's supposedly cheerful, contented Jews would, once they were safely out of the country, say the same of the Ayatollah.
 Of course, after reading Rudolph's letter, I had to find out who he was. Upon googling him I discovered that he's professor of something-or-other who like to devise political quizzes. Here's one of 'em:
By Jeffrey Rudolph (June 2010; last update December 2014)  
The degree of mainstream media distortion concerning Hamas is endemic in the US and Canada. In my local newspaper, the Montreal Gazette, one searches in vain for meaningful coverage of the respected Goldstone Report yet references to Barak’s (mythical) “Generous Offer” persists and ahistorical reporting on Hamas rockets dominates.  
While one cannot entirely absolve Palestinians for their dire situation, three categorical truths should always be borne in mind to ensure that there is no confusion between victim and victimizer:  
Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land;  
Occupied people have the legal right to resist occupation; and,  
Palestinians are the only occupied people to suffer international sanctions (while Israel enjoys significant economic, military and diplomatic support from powerful states).  
The following quiz is intended to provide needed context to the inadequate reporting of Hamas in the mainstream media.
1. Has Hamas ever deliberately attacked an American target? 
-No. According to Kenneth Pollack, former CIA analyst, Middle East expert and former National Security Council staffer, “[H]amas…[has] never deliberately attacked American targets. The PLO did…”  
Pollack adds that in recent times Palestinian militant groups have all concentrated on Israel and one another and not the US “despite the tremendous levels of anti-Americanism in the region, the popularity that al-Qa’ida has garnered for its attacks on the United States, and the lopsided pro-Israel policies of [American] administration[s]. Consequently, it is difficult to suggest that Palestinian terrorist groups are a direct threat to the United States….[T]hey do not constitute the same kind of threat to American interests as al-Qa’ida and therefore do not merit the same response.” An objective observer is left to conclude that it is Hamas’s independence from the US orbit of control, coupled with the power of the Israel lobby, that engenders relentless US rebukes. (Kenneth M. Pollack, A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East, Random House, New York: 2008, 170)  
-“Hamas is not ‘jihadist’ in the sense of al-Qaeda or ISIS. It is not fighting for a world-wide Caliphate. It is a Palestinian party, totally devoted to the Palestinian cause. It calls itself ‘the resistance’. It did not impose religious law (the ‘sharia’) on the population.” Furthermore “there are churches in Gaza [which] Christians attend…freely, [and] there is a seat in the Gazan legislature reserved for a Christian – that’s night and day from the way ISIS treats Christians…”  
Hamas does “have a military wing engaged in armed resistance against the State of Israel, a state that has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their indigenous lands for nearly seventy years…”  
-It should be obvious that simply killing “terrorists” in, say, Gaza without changing the conditions that produced them is ineffective since new “terrorists” will simply arise. For example, “Israel has assassinated dozens of Arab political and military leaders….What have the results been? Overall – nothing positive. Israel killed Hizbollah leader Abbas al-Moussawi, and got the vastly more intelligent Hassan Nasrallah instead. They killed Hamas founder Sheik Ahmad Yassin, and he was replaced by abler men. [They killed Hamas military leader Ja’abari whose] successor may be less or more able. It will make no great difference.”
It goes on from there, but I think you get the Avnery-ist gist.

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