Ex­cus­ing Iran is a fa­tal flaw

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis - GE­OF­FREY AL­DER­MAN

AT ONE level, no one need be the least bit sur­prised at ei­ther the tone or the con­tent of Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad’s most re­cent speech to the Gen­eral As­sem­bly of the United Na­tions Or­gan­i­sa­tion. Not once dur­ing that speech — ap­par­ently — did Ah­madine­jad men­tion Is­rael or the Jews.

“It is no longer ac­cept­able”, the Ira­nian Pres­i­dent in­sisted — “that a small mi­nor­ity would dom­i­nate the pol­i­tics, econ­omy and cul­ture of ma­jor parts of the world by its com­pli­cated net­works”.

This “small mi­nor­ity”, he ex­plained, wished for noth­ing bet­ter that to “es­tab­lish a new form of slav­ery, and harm the rep­u­ta­tion of other na­tions, even Euro­pean na­tions and the United States, to at­tain its racist am­bi­tions”.

Then, turn­ing his at­ten­tion to one of his favourite sub­jects — free­dom — Ah­madine­jad opined that “the awak­en­ing of na­tions and the ex­pan­sion of free­dom world­wide” would no longer per­mit the mem­bers of this “small mi­nor­ity” to “con­tinue their hypocrisy and vi­cious at­ti­tudes”.

Where have we heard th­ese words be­fore? That a “small mi­nor­ity”, work­ing through “com­pli­cated net­works”, is out to dom­i­nate “the pol­i­tics, econ­omy and cul­ture of ma­jor parts of the world”?

That, in­deed, it wishes to in­sti­tute “a new form of slav­ery”, and thus bend the world (or large parts thereof) to its will?

We have heard th­ese words, and we have read them, as part and par­cel of the in­sane ramblings of anti-Jewish con­spir­acy the­o­rists. The words de­rive, in fact, from the forged Pro­to­cols of the Learned El­ders of Zion, which (as re­fined by the likes of Hous­ton Ste­wart Cham­ber­lain and Henry Ford) con­sti­tuted the prospec­tus (so to speak) for those who ad­vo­cated — and who ad­vo­cate still — the an­ni­hi­la­tion of the Jewish peo­ple. Al­though Ah­madine­jad did not once re­fer to Is­rael or the Jews, he did re­fer through­out his speech to “the Zion­ist regime”. This fact is be­ing used by cer­tain of his apol­o­gists as some sort of proof that he is not the con­firmed anti-Jewish racist that I be­lieve him to be. But — based on my own pro­fes­sional knowl­edge of the use of “Zion­ist” as a proxy for “Jew” in mod­ern times — I am afraid I can­not ac­cept this de­fence.

Nei­ther am I pre­pared to ac­cept an­other de­fence, namely that given the con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances of Ah­madine­jad’s re-elec­tion as Ira­nian Pres­i­dent, he was merely “play­ing to the gallery” — that is, say­ing what his sup­port­ers (pri­mar­ily the in­hab­i­tants of ru­ral ar­eas) want to hear, whether he him­self ac­tu­ally be­lieves it or not.

In the first place, no re­spon­si­ble na­tional leader would be­have in that way. In the sec­ond, I would no more trust a politi­cian who “played to the gallery” by de­mon­is­ing Jewish peo­ple — by go­ing out of his way to de­monise Jewish peo­ple — than I would the unc­tu­ous in­di­vid­ual who re­cently phoned me to say I had won a huge sum in a lot­tery and the sooner I di­vulged my bank de­tails the sooner the money would be in my ac­count. Which is to say, I would not trust such a politi­cian at all.

It is at this point that we need to re­mind our­selves that Iran will soon be a nu­clear power — if it is not such al­ready.

Aca­demics at the Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin (which has long been mon­i­tor­ing Iran’s nu­clear am­bi­tions) have re­cently cal­cu­lated that Iran is pro­duc­ing low-en­riched ura­nium at a rate that may well per­mit it to man­u­fac­ture at least two nu­clear bombs at vir­tu­ally a mo­ment’s no­tice — and cer­tainly within three months.

At a mil­i­tary pa­rade in Te­heran last month, Iran’s armed forces dis­played a new gen­er­a­tion of Se­jjil mis­siles. Th­ese are home-made and long-range. Launched from cen­tral Iran, they are ca­pa­ble of hit­ting tar­gets in Is­rael, Saudi-Ara­bia, Egypt, Turkey and Pak­istan.

The time can­not be far dis­tant when such mis­siles, fur­ther de­vel­oped, will be ca­pa­ble of reach­ing Europe.

Iran and its lead­er­ship are, in short, a men­ace not only to Jews but also to the en­tire civilised world. The mat­ter is ur­gent and the time for deal­ing with it short­ens with ev­ery pass­ing hour.

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