October 31, 2006


Facing Down Ahmadinejad (AMNON RUBINSTEIN, October 31, 2006, NY Sun)

There is one advantage to President Ahmadinejad's latest outburst at the University of Tehran: It removes the fog of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding the major issue of the Middle East — the survival of the Jewish state. That issue, or rather the Arab and Muslim opposition to Israel's existence, has not really disappeared since 1948, when the Arabs sought to annihilate the fledgling state.

Nevertheless, in recent years there were encouraging signs that the Arab world, having failed to crush Israel militarily, would learn to co-exist with the "Zionist entity" once Israel would relinquish the territories occupied in the 1967 war. At the same time, Israel bashers have waged a campaign against Israel describing the Jewish state as an invincible superpower guilty of the most heinous crimes against humanity. Recently, two prominent American professors, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, in their paper, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," described the Jewish state as immune from all danger and discounted the notion that Iran poses any threat to Israel.

Now the situation has changed. A non-Arab regional power — Iran — is threatening Israel. This past summer's war in Lebanon, which actually was the first skirmish with a well-equipped, Iranian-supplied army called Hezbollah, proved Israel's extreme vulnerability. Throughout the Muslim world, the encounter was viewed as the first defeat suffered by the "infidels." Iran, armed with this alleged victory, is lashing out with even more vitriol against the "heathen state" of Israel. Iran's president, emboldened by his reception in the United Nations and at the Council on Foreign Relations, bluntly repeats his threats: to annihilate Israel and punish the West for supporting its existence. He compounds this by denying not only the Holocaust but also the Bible, saying that there have never been Jews in the holy land.

Shimon Peres rightly reacted to this diatribe by calling Iran's president the new Hitler and by chiding the Council on Foreign Relations for inviting him to speak to that august body (where, by the way, he claimed that "Iran was freer then the U.S.").

With those views he ought to have been a humanities professor.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2006 8:04 AM

where...he claimed that "Iran was freer then the U.S."

Goes without saying. In the US, you it's always possible that you'll be criticized, or even reprimanded(!) if you say Israel ought to be nuked, or if you deny the Holocaust, or the Bible, or if you say "that there have never been Jews in the holy land."

No freedom of speech in the US, not really, not when it comes to Jews and Israel. Look at what they did to Walt and Mearsheimer---and who cares if their work was a shoddily researched, tendentious piece of crap?, that's not the point!

No, Iran's one heckuva a lot freer.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 31, 2006 9:11 AM

Ahmadinejad should apply for a job at CNN.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 31, 2006 9:44 AM