The Iranian Syndrome and the Israeli Disease
William Hague now warns that Iran’s nuclear program could lead to a new cold war. And so a farce continues to replace a serious discussion of a real political crisis. It is a serious matter if a fanatical leader such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have nuclear weapons. But this is no more dangerous than fanatical leaders in Israel possessing nuclear weapons. The only reason that Israel never threatened publicly to use its nuclear weapons is that it is getting what it wants without them. Making Iran the main cause of the current crisis, let alone making it the whole story while completely overlooking Israel, is what is farcical in how the West is addressing this serious matter.
The Middle East has been and will continue to be troubled until its underlying political and economic problems are addressed. Brutal dictatorships, which have been close allies of America and the West, have been one of those problems. But these dictators are being overthrown one after another by the very people they oppressed for decades. Democracy will not emerge overnight, but the darkness of dictatorship is disappearing. But one problem that has persisted for as long and shows no sign of being solved is Israel.
The problem of Israel is not what its uncompromising friends misleadingly present it to be: the threat to its survival and security. Only a fantasist or an idiot would take this seriously. America’s politicians and Christian Zionists would rather wipe out countries and nations than allow the existence of Israel to be threatened. Other Western countries would be happy to help in defending the Jewish state, but America’s might renders such help redundant. The reality is that most people accept that the two-state solution is the only way forward. I also support this approach but, as I stated elsewhere, I do not take it to mean creating one state that is mega, powerful, and wealthy and another that is tiny, weak, and poor. The reality is that a Palestinian state can be is ultimately an Israeli decision. Yet any basic knowledge of the history of Palestine in the last 6 decades or so would leave one with no doubt as to what Palestinian state Israel may approve of.
The problem Israel represents to the region, and indeed the world, is its discriminatory policies, complete violation of international law, utter contempt for tens of UN and Security Council resolutions, continuous and escalating occupation of Palestinian land, committing massacres of numerous civilians, and ignoring basic human rights of its victims. Israel never needed any of these policies and actions to protect its existence. It has used them to extend its borders, and by doing so it has continued to redefine its existence at the cost of the existence of an increasing number of people who lived on that land for hundreds of years. This is the Israeli problem that any person on the street of Jordan, Syria, and Egypt know, but the Oxbridge educated politicians of Britain and the political elite in America and other Western countered are unwilling to discuss let alone acknowledge, clearly not to due to lack of knowledge of history.
Why would Hague not try to avert a new “cold war” by supporting an initiative to declare the Middle East as a nuclear-weapon-free zone? This would require coming out publicly against Israel’s nuclear program. Admittedly, that is unlikely to get even the slightest attention of the Israelis. After all, they have the White House in their pockets, and these are the guys that really matter. But this is not what stopped Hague from taking this position and made him overlook Israel’s nuclear power to focus on Iran. Hague has commitment to Israel that means giving Israel preferential treatment. He has been a passionate member of the Conservative Friends of Israel since he was 15. It would be fascinating to know what this “friendship” meant for someone at this young age, but he has proved a true friend.
Hague is only one representative of a whole uncompromising pro-Israel establishment in Britain. In the Conservative Friends of Israel Annual Business Lunch in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron told the audience: “In me, you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible.” Indeed, only a form of “belief” rather than a more rational driver can deliver such commitment to such a state.
So, the troubling story of the Middle East, according to Western political wisdom, was Nasser’s Egypt, Jordan, PLO, Hamas, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic fundamentalism, Arab nationalism….etc and today it is Iran and its nuclear program. It has never been Israel. This is how myth is created within history.
Only when Western politicians become capable and willing to acknowledge that the problem of Israel is Israel’s own actions and policies they would be able to move that region and world toward a solution. But that can happen only if any commitment to Israel as a matter of faith is discarded. The likelihood of this happening in the world we know today is very slim indeed. But then one can only hope… and pray.
Copyright © 2012 Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved.
3 thoughts on “The Iranian Syndrome and the Israeli Disease”
The drumbeat for war with Iran being played out in the media is almost a parody of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. We have the same reports now coming out with unsubstantiated links between the regime and al-qaeda (even though one is Shia and the other is Sunni), and a hyped imminent threat (even though most recent intelligence and IAEA reports can’t even confirm that Iran wants to pursue a nuclear weapon, even if it had the means to do so). Nobody wants Iran to have a nuclear bomb, but as you say, there is a clear way forward that can be reached through negotiation – a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. It’s a little known fact that Israel hasn’t always acted responsibly with its (unacknowledged) nuclear arsenal – it’s emerged that they tried to sell nuclear technology to the South African apartheid regime at a time when that regime was being openly hostile to its neighbours.
But since this nuclear-free zone is inconceivable for Israel, we are left in the position where the only options on the table are sanctions (which won’t work) and finally war. So now we have our governments implicitly threatening war daily (“nothing is off the table”), in direct violation of the UN Charter. Our policies, and a comparison of how we treat different regimes, bizarrely have the effect of making pursuit of nuclear weapons the rational policy choice for Iran.
It’s a tragedy that a massive cause for tension in this region could be solved tomorrow. There has been almost universal consensus on the international stage about the need for a two-state solution regards Palestine. And it’s always the same problem – the USA block any actual action. There was of course the very public falling out between the Obama administration and Israel over the continuation of settlement building, but what actually changed? The truth is, if the political will existed in the White House, Israel could be forced to comply with international law tomorrow.
And that is the key to a solution – getting public opinion behind what is accepted by international law, a two-state solution that recognises both the state of Palestine and the state of Israel. I thought this was a very interesting argument from Norman Finkelstein about how there is a window of opportunity for that now, but that the aims have to be realistic within what can be achieved through international law, and what the public will support:
Louay, you talk of the Palestinians as thought they are a people, nation or state. There is no such thing as a Palestinian Arab. The so-called Palestinian is in reality a Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Egyptian or Saudi. The original and historical inhabitants of the land of Palestine (which encompasses present day Israel, Judea and Samaria and Gaza) were the Jews. Before Israel was created Israel already was. The whole land belongs to the Jews and this is mentioned in the Torah, Bible and the Quran as the land given to God’s chosen people. The Arabs (who you refer to as Palestinians) occupied the land through the centuries under the Caliphs and the Ottomans. They were never called Palestinians until after Israel was created in 1948 and the land given back to the original heirs. the Jews. It does not take genius to understand that the Muslims created a Palestinian people only to usurp the land from the Jewish people.
Also, you say that Israel is a disease. Well, according to the definition of the term, Israel is supposed to infect and kill all around it. In truth, Israel has been the one attacked in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1971 by the rogue Muslim nations surrounding it. The only crime was that it was a Jewish state. If Israel was Muslim, there would not have been any problem. Muslim states can’t digest the fact that there is a democratic, free and vibrant Jewish state on their borders while their own states wreak of violence, feudalism, Islamism and fanaticism. Remember, if the Muslims give up fighting, there will be world peace. If Israel gives up fighting, Israel will cease to exist.
Long Live the Jews, the chosen people of God!
That God preferred the Israelites at some point in their history over other peoples is mentioned in the Qur’an. But it is not an absolute statement that talks about all Israelites of all times, and it does not mean that they were a special group, as in consisting of special individuals. See my article The Bible’s “Israelization” of God and Religion. See also my article The Qur’an’s Concept of the “Best Nation” about how this other concept has nothing to do with any particular ethnic group.
One cannot be anywhere near objective when they hold the view that any group of people is “unconditionally” the chosen people of God, better than all others…etc. This is why your above attempt to use “facts” is fundamentally flawed. These are at best half facts. I and many others have written extensively about such persistent attempts to present a fanciful, carefully constructed history of the state of Israel that exonerates it of the crimes it has been committing or justify them.
Any view about the absolute and unconditional superiority of one group of people over others, let alone over all, is extremely dangerous. Indeed, the unconditional belief that the Jews are “the chosen people of God” has led directly and indirectly to miseries to so many people in the world. The problem with a belief like this is that it is not about one’s relationship with God but about one’s superiority to others. God is then introduced to justify this unconditional and absolute belief of superiority. It is not a religious but political belief. You may continue to believe that the Jews have always been and will always be the “chosen people of God,” but you are in a small minority that is fortunately getting smaller by the day. Read the articles above, if you may.