Sunday, January 17, 2010

Selectively believing Mahmoud

In an article titled I believe Ahmadinejad, former Israel Air Force top officer Aviam Sela, the architect of the 1981 bombing of Iraq's nuclear facility at Osirik, deploys the umpteenth version of an already familiar Zionist analogy: Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is Hitler; those who appease or try to negotiate with him are Chamberlain; and if Iran is not bombed the result will be another Holocaust. In his own words:

As was the case then, now too the Jewish people and enlightened nations are facing a dictator, this time an Iranian one, who keeps on declaring that the people of Israel have no right to exist. Or simply put, he says that the entity known as the State of Israel has to be eliminated, along with its Jewish citizens of course.
This paragraph contains truths --for instance, that Ahmadinejad is a dictator--, but it also contains a considerable amount of distortion.

Did Mahmoud talk about eliminating Israel? His actual words were "the Zionist regime," which is not quite the same. I recall when on June 1, 2001, the Nepalese royal family were mowed down in unclear circumstances. That certainly annihilated Nepal's monarchical regime, but it didn't obliterate the state of Nepal or the Nepalese people. Zionism, like monarchy, or apartheid, is a political system, not a country or an ethnic group.

But let us assume, for the sake of argument, that my antisemitism prevents me from realizing that when Ahmadinejad says Zionist regime he means Israel. Did he make any reference to its Jewish citizens? No; his speech did not contain the word "Jewish." So why does Sela suggest that he's singling out the Jewish population of Israel for elimination? That can't be inferred from any of the dictator's words.

Sela further muddies the waters by (again, incorrectly) claiming:

Hitler, just like Iran’s Ahmadinejad when he speaks of the State of Israel, presented a clear position whereby those born Jewish have no place on earth.
One would expect a former top officer from the IAF to be more rigorous in his interpretations. Iran's president has never presented a position that Jews have no place on earth. In fact, he has systematically endorsed the right of some 15,000 Jews to have a place on earth in the city of -- Teheran.

But another question worth raising is whether Ahmadinejad ever said that Iran itself will take care of eliminating the Zionist regime, the state of Israel, the world Jewry or whatever Sela chooses to interpret when he wakes up in the morning. It is not the same to say "John Doe needs to be killed" as to assert "I will kill John Doe," especially when people who combine both the will and the ability to murder Mr. Doe are not exactly in large supply. In other words, wishing for something horrible to happen to someone is itself horrible, but until you decide to harm that person yourself your horrible thoughts are basically irrelevant (unless you can have someone else do the task, which is clearly not the case here).

It would help a lot if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ever clarified if he meant that Iran would work towards the elimination of the Zionist regime or he was just talking rhetorically.

Well, actually he did.

In July 2008, the Presidency of The Islamic Republic of Iran News Service reported:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Zionist regime is inherently doomed to annihilation and there is no need for Iranians to take action.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of D8 summit in Malaysia, he said the Zionists themselves are well aware of the fact that their time is over.

"They label us as aggressors but this is a big lie because the Iranian nation throughout the history never attacked any nation," he said.
So if Sela's analogy is sound, surely we'll be able to find a Hitler speech in which he clarifies that Nazi Germany won't take action against the Jews, won't we?

Of course, we can revert to the theory that Ahmadinejad is a clown, but then why should we take some of his words seriously and some others not?

But the icing on the cake is Sela's proposed remedy to this impending Holocaust:

In retrospect, we can present today the lessons and conclusions we should have drawn back then, before the Munich Conference and before 1939. Had we had our own state back then, we would have expected its leaders to take the required decision and curb the process undertaken by Adolf Hitler. We would have expected the decision to thwart the threat.

The government of Israel took such decision, according to foreign reports, after it decided to prevent the killers of our 11 athletes in the Munich Olympics from undertaking another such massacre. By doing so, the State of Israel created the right kind of monument for our murdered athletes. The living monument of those who hurt us and are no longer alive is the most important testament to our continuing lives here rather than the embarrassing monument at the outskirts of Munich.
By now almost everyone, and certainly Mr. Sela, is aware that in its campaign to avenge the deaths of the 11 athletes, Israel "collateraly" murdered completely innocent civilian Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan waiter and the brother of Gipsy Kings musician Chico Bouchiki, whom they mistook for the Black September terrorist Ali Hassan Salameh at the Norwegian resort of Lillehammer.

So what Sela is advocating is more Israeli actions outside of the rule of law, with no regard for possible non-Jewish collateral deaths, in line with Rabbi Yaacov Perrin's ruling that one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.

Indeed there are guys around making scary threats, but we should first be concerned with those whose threats are credible, of whom Mr. Sela provides an excellent example.

9 comments:

Jerry said...

Meanwhile, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard funds, trains, and equips organizations that do declare unabashedly in their foundational documents a genuine desire to wage war on the Jewish people in the spirit of Muhammad's campaigns against the Jews of his time.

Hezbollah, for all intents and purposes, is an organ of Iran. In the age of non-state actors, the challenge of assessing international conflict is to look beyond the borders that seem to contain the players.

Gert said...

Jerry:

Please read up on Hizb'allah's foundational history. Do you think it sprang out of a vacuum, a bunch of murderous Jihadis, hell-bent on waging war against Judaism?

No, Hizb'allah, what ever else you might think of them is essentially a resistance movement that emerged in South Lebanon in response to Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In that sense they're no different from for instance the French Maquis during WW II, although Hizb'allah is arguably far more effective.

Funny how in your world resisting Arabs need to be denominated as 'terrorists' whereas White Folk doing exactly the same are heroes. Gee, anyone might think of that as a little racist, Jerry...

Chances are that if you were Lebanese (of whichever of the many 'ethnic' denominations) you'd be a Hizb'allah supporter: it's the only (para)military organisation that stands a remote chance of keeping the IDF out of Lebanon.

With regards to Ahmadinejad's relation to the Jews, the Holocaust and the 'Wipe Israel of the map' croc I'd warmly recommend this webpage from The American Council of Judaism titled:
A Tale of Two Claims: Ahmadinejad and the Jews.

Anonymous said...

It sickens me to see how the main street media has picked up on the zionist theme about Ahmadinejad so-called threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' without bothering to actually interpret what he really meant.
In the Middle East language as well as land is vunerable to theft.

Anonymous said...

The retaliation and punishment visited upon the Munich massacre terrorists represents one of the most important operations in Israeli history, serving as a deterrent and to show the world that the Jewish State will no longer tolerate such acts. It is tragic that a few innocent people were killed by mistake during the operation -- but their blood remains on the hands of the Arab terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Gert,

You're pretty funny -- the Israelis never had any territorial designs on S. Lebanon. They invaded to deny the PLO a launching base for terrorist attacks and as soon as they could, the IDF pulled out.

Hope you feel proud of yourself that you're defending genocidal antiemites, ya'know the ones who regularly display the Nazi salute and openly advocate the destruction of the world's Jews, saying that its a good thing that most of them live in Israel so that they're easier to kill.

You really are immoral scum aren't you.

Anonymous said...

Ibrahim, I don't know what is your working definition of a dictator, but if it is someone that won an election by a landslide and has the overhelming support of the Iranian people excluding a tiny urban elite, then, well, Ahmadinejad is a dictator. And Chavez, and Morales. Not Berlusconi, of course.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Democracy is the government of the majority with respect for the rights of the minority.

It is the latter component that is missing from Ahmadinejad's regime. It's not the worst dictatorship in the world, but a dictatorship it is.

Gert said...

Ib, if we go by Western standards as a benchmark for 'democracy' (I'm not holding the bar too high) then I don't believe we can call the Iranian system of governance a 'dictatorship'. I think the difference with Western systems to be one of degree, considerable degree perhaps but not an absolute difference.

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