Israel: Keep Iran Down


Posted by Bob Lord

Pretty insightful analysis by Roger Cohen in today's NYT piece, Israel's Iran Dilemma. It's actually short enough to quote:

The United States is prepared to conceive of an Islamic Republic fully reintegrated in the community of nations, with equal rights. 


Not Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu, who wants to keep Iran down. “Push us down, that is all I hear when I listen to Netanyahu,” one Stanford and Harvard-educated Iranian businessman told me. He has a strong belief that drawing Iran closer to the world is essential, a strong dislike of the Iranian regime, and a strong sense of outrage at Israel’s contempt for Iran’s national aspirations.

Diplomacy involves compromise; risk is inherent to it. Iran is to be tested. Nobody can know the outcome. Things may unravel but at least there is hope. Perhaps this is what is most threatening to Netanyahu. He has never been willing to test the Palestinians in a serious way — test their good faith, test ending the humiliations of the occupation, test from strength the power of justice and peace. He has preferred domination, preferred the Palestinians down and under pressure.

Obama and Kerry have invited Netanyahu to think again — and not just about Iran. Nothing, to judge by the hyperventilating Israeli rhetoric, could be more disconcerting. Nothing is more needed. Cheap allusions to 1938 are a poor template for Israel in the 21st century.

I'd go a step further.

Underlying Israel's attitude (and it's not just Netanyahu) is the feeling that Palestinians, Iranians and other non-Jews in the region are sub-human. It's the feeling white southerners had (and many still have) about Blacks. It's the feeling Turks had about Armenians a century ago. It's the feeling instilled in young American boys a generation ago, when sent to the other side of the world to slaughter Vietnamese, whom they were taught to think of as "gooks." And it's the feeling others have had about Jews at various points in history.

It's the feeling Mitt Romney exhibited twice during his 2012 campaign; once in Israel, when making insulting, stereotypical remarks about Palestinians, and once, of course, here, when expressing his disdain for the 47%.

It's the feeling that is the sine qua non, the enabler, the main and perhaps sole ingredient, in mass persecution. And genocide.