The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thank God for Ahmadinejad

By rights the Iranians aren't Arabs but Persians, nevertheless I think that Abba Eban's old adage still holds -- only it should be broadened here: "the Palestinians Arabs/Persians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Iran's Ahmadinejad says Holocaust a myth Reuters (via Yahoo! News):

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the Holocaust was a myth, ramping up his rhetoric and triggering a fresh wave of international condemnation.

Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman who was elected president in June, said in October Israel must be "wiped off the map," provoking a diplomatic storm and stoking fears about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Washington accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is only for generating electricity.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the Holocaust remarks could weigh on European Union efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

The wonderful thing about nutjobs like Ahmadinejad is that they help pull back the shroud of obscurity around which Arabs have learned to wrap all their statemnents about Israel and Palestine. They appeal to European sympathies and support by saying that they merely want "their" land back and that is all. But you will rarely find an Arab politician explicitly say that their interests are limited to the lands of the West Bank and Gaza. This usefully serves the European's purposes of saying that the Arab position is quite reasonable, while allowing the Arab politicians to turn and wink at the Arab street, who fully understand that "our land" encompasses all of Israel.

There are three positions one can take on the settlement of the Palestinian problem or Israeli question -- choose whatever represents how you look at the situation. There can be two nations that live side by side and coexist peacefully. There can be a single nation ruled by whatever kind of pluralistic system can manage this mess of various cultures and ethnicities that often hate each other. Or the Palestinians can drive the Jews out of the land (and into the sea if you wish) to go live elsewhere.

Most Europeans wonder why the solution cannot be the second, although they seem to forget that there is nothing in their history that suggests that a multi-cultural nation can live in peace without eventually finding reason to start slaughtering one or another of its own ethnic groups. In fact, the only model of such a system that has so far worked for a sustainable amount of time is found here on our shores and our own history highlights how difficult this task really is. The Arab street really wants the last option while a few Arab moderates can envision the first option but cannot see how they are going to accomplish this within the current situation.

Of course, a fourth view not presented above might be called the Likud view which might be called the greater Israel view which would argue that there is already a Palestinian nation called Jordan and that all of the historic Biblical territories should be incorporated into Israel's boundaries. It is the limited reality of this idea that is causing the political fissures in Israeli politics we see today.


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