A double whammy has hit Iran in recent days. First, much of the western world and western corporate media continued its rude behavior toward Iran through demonization of its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Second, Iran made known a second uranium enrichment facility in a mountain near the Shiite holy city of Qom for which it has attracted much western criticism.1
On 23 September, many western delegates walked out of the United Nations General Assembly chambers during Ahmadinejad’s speech. The United States accused Ahmadinejad of using “hateful, offensive and anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Canada boycotted the address because, according to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, Ahmadinejad had said “absolutely repugnant” things about Israel. Neither country quoted what was repugnant or anti-Semitic.
A JTA article stated, “The lowlight, I suppose, would be this portion, where he attacks the ‘Zionist regime,’ accuses Jews of controlling the world and then blasts the United States, too.”2
From another JTA article:
Ahmadinejad spoke of “the elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons,” during his speech to the UN, but otherwise didn’t mention his country’s nuclear program. Instead, he criticized Israel’s “inhuman policies in Palestine” and said the Jewish state had committed “genocide” in a speech that led to walkouts by numerous other countries in the General Assembly.3
First, Ahmadinejad never mentions the word “Jewish” in his speech. Second, the only time he uses the word “Jews” is when he talked about “prepar[ing] a conducive ground for all Palestinian populations, including Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together in peace and harmony…”
Third, as for “genocide,” Ahmadinejad said: “How can the crimes of the occupiers against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments, and at the same time, the oppressed men and women be subject to genocide and heaviest economic blockade being denied of their basic needs, food, water and medicine.”
JTA does not deny the charges by Ahmadenejad.
There are plenty of Jews that acknowledge the “Jewish state” is committing “genocide.” There are plenty of Israeli academics who acknowledge the Nakba.4
The Goldstone report — as mitigating of Israeli war crimes as it may be in equating the violence of the oppressor with the violence of the oppressed — is further acknowledgment of Israeli massacres of Palestinian civilians.5
JTA mentions an “apparent reference to Jews, ‘It is no longer acceptable that a small minority would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks, and establish a new form of slavery, and harm the reputation of other nations, even European nations and the U.S., to attain its racist ambitions.’”3
JTA conflates Zionism with Jewry. It is Zionism that is the enemy of Jews.6 It is Zionists who collaborated with Nazis during WWII.7 It is Zionists who practice racism. Ahmadinejad made an apparent reference to Zionists.
Without a doubt Zionism is rife in Israel,8 and it is much supported by Jews outside Israel, but there is also significant opposition to Zionism among Jews outside Israel. Humanity is diverse and so are Jews.
Double Standards in the West
The Iranian disclosure of a second uranium enrichment facility in Iran has raised the hackles of neoliberal politicians in the West.
Stephen Harper called it a “grave threat to international peace and security.”
At a G20 news conference in Pittsburgh, Harper said, “Iran, the combination of its abhorrent ideology and its interest in nuclear technology, combined with increasing evidence of its obvious disregard for international law and for its obligations, constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security.”
Since when is “interest in nuclear technology” a crime or something bad? To pursue nuclear technology is a right of all nations. Canada has a nuclear program; it enriches uranium. Does Canada mention its nuclear program in speeches to the United Nations? Does Israel mention its nuclear program?
As for “obvious disregard for international law,” is that unlike Israel with a string of condemnatory UN Security Council resolutions on record against it and numerous others vetoed by the US?9 Or is this not obvious disregard?
What is the “abhorrent ideology”? He couldn’t mean the pursuit of nuclear weapons because that would include the US, Britain, France, and Israel. And certainly Zionism is not an “abhorrent ideology” for Harper. He promised Israel would always have a “steadfast friend” in his government. Erstwhile Canadian prime minister Paul Martin once remarked, “Israel’s values are Canada’s values.”
US president Barack Obama stated that Iran must “be held accountable to international standards and international law.”
Are all states states to be held equally accountable by Obama? What about Israel? Will the state cited several times as a violator of international law by UN Security Council resolutions “be held accountable to international standards and international law”? Will Israel’s nuclear weapons be dismantled and its nuclear facilities subjected to IAEA inspection? Will the US — the aggressor of Iraq, frequent violator of international law, found guilty by the World Court in 1987 of terrorism — “be held accountable to international standards and international law”?10
Obama threatened, “When we find that diplomacy does not work, we will be in a much stronger position to, for example, apply sanctions that have bite.”
Diplomacy (if one can call it that) hasn’t worked for many decades in historical Palestine, and the only US sanctions are against the oppressed Palestinians for daring to resist dispossession and genocide. Conversely, the oppressor state receives billions in US “aid” and diplomatic cover in the UN.
Obama added, “I would love nothing more than to see Iran choose the responsible path.”
One wonders if that is like the “responsible path” that the US took in aggressing Iraq on pretext of possessing weapons-of-mass-destruction and killing over a million people? Or is the “responsible path” the one Obama took in deciding to up the military ante in Afghanistan, thereby increasing the violence and killing?
British prime minister Gordon Brown said, “The international community has no choice today but to draw a line in the sand.”
One wonders: is that like the lines the imperialist British regime drew in the Middle East when it carved up the Arab world, breaking its promise to its World War I allies? Is it like how the British decided to give away Arab land to Occidental Jews without asking permission from the Oriental inhabitants of the land? It would seem that Britain has a far from marvelous history of drawing lines in the sand.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy charged that Iran’s enrichment facility is “a challenge made to the entire international community… We cannot let Iranian leaders gain time while the motors are running.”
Yet France is the country that helped Israel develop the Dimona nuclear facility and become a nuclear power.11 What about the Israeli “challenge made to the entire international community”?
Furthermore, the US, Britain, and France have a responsibility under the NPT to dismantle their nuclear weaponry. So what moral weight do such pronouncements from western leaders have? Is there something about the US, Britain, France, Canada, and Israel (this bellwether of colonizing or colonized states) that gives them some superiority in rights over other states?
Moreover, what does this reveal about the western corporate media, which merely serve as mouthpieces for the state’s interests rather than scrutinizing concentrations of power?
Choosing the Responsible Path
The US and other nuclear-armed states could gain much legitimacy if they act henceforth to eliminate stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
CBC warned, “Beyond sanctions, the leaders’ options are limited and perilous. Military action by the United States or an ally such as Israel could set off a dangerous chain of events in the Islamic world.”12
Would that be, as Obama puts it, choosing “the responsible path”?
- Western media purports the revelation is because the US and its allies were aware of its existence. David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “U.S. and Allies Warn Iran Over Nuclear ‘Deception’,” New York Times, 25 September 2009. [↩]
- Eric Fingerhut, “Ahmadinejad’s speech to the General Assembly,” JTA, 23 September 2009. [↩]
- JTA Staff, “Ahmadinejad slams Israel as world powers turn up heat,” JTA, 24 September 2009. [↩] [↩]
- For example, Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld Publications, 2006). Does Pappe go far enough? See Kim Petersen, “Nakba: The Israeli Holocaust Denial,” Dissident Voice, 18 March 2007. Ethnic cleansing is argued to be genocide: Rony Blum, Gregory H. Stanton, Shira Sagi and Elihu D. Richter, “‘Ethnic cleansing’ bleaches the atrocities of genocide,” The European Journal of Public Health Advance Access, 18 May 2007. See also Kim Petersen, “Bleaching the Atrocities of Genocide,” Dissident Voice, 7 June 2007. [↩]
- Richard Goldstone, “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” Human Rights Council, 15 September 2009. [↩]
- See Alan Hart, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Volume One: The False Messiah (Clarity Press, 2009). I will write a review upcoming. [↩]
- Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators: A Reappraisal (1983). [↩]
- Etgar Lefkovits, “Overwhelming Israeli support of Gaza op,” Jerusalem Post, 15 January 2009. [↩]
- “List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel,” Wikipedia. [↩]
- See Nils Andersson, Daniel Iagolnitzer, and Diana G. Collier (Eds), International Justice and Impunity: The Case of the United States (Clarity Press, 2008). Review. [↩]
- Peter Pry, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1984): 11. [↩]
- “Iranian nuclear revelation a grave threat: Harper,” CBC News, 25 September 2009. [↩]