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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is the Iranian opposition anti-Israel?

I found this article by an Iranian opposition leader in Paris very depressing. Although she does say that the opposition in Iran supports Israel - because the regime supports the 'Palestinians' - as much as I was disgusted with the brutal repression of Iranians in the streets this past summer and beyond, this article makes me wonder whether empowering the Iranian opposition is just empowering a new enemy of Israel.
Some Iranians of the Diaspora, especially those still shell shocked by the bellicosity of the Bush years, and the Israeli horrors committed recently in Gaza, are much wearier of Obama's recent statements threatening Iran than those in Iran. The opposition inside Iran, having suffered the severe brutality of the Ahmadinejad government first hand, may welcome the West's new tougher stance. Many, in fact, expected this reaction from the West earlier, in response to the rigged election results and the human rights abuses that followed, but they welcome it now nonetheless.

Unlike neocon-weary Iranian Americans and highbrow liberal-leaning intellectuals, freedom-seeking Iranians who poured into the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities to demand their rights, are probably more afraid of their own government than of Israel or America. They know that their leaders are liars because they are lied to on a daily basis. Transparency from Ahmadinejad would shock Iranians, not his lies!

Obama, Sarkozy and Brown are asking for compliance with existing laws, and an opening of the doors of Iran's nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection. Nothing new there in their demands, just a firmer tone. We are still very far from a war! And the Iranians know that if there is a military strike on Iran then the only one to blame is the faction in power in Iran. This is the same regime that kills civilians, rapes students and tortures journalists. I mean who can argue that if you deny the Holocaust repeatedly, especially when there is a Netanyahu in office in Tel Aviv; if you continue to flout international law; if you rig your own elections, even in the face of a rising young majority, even after carefully vetting opposition candidates; if you abuse and kill your own peaceful protesters in front of the whole world; when you make life very difficult, even for the handful of educated apologists on your side, then surely you are asking for it!

From the first time Ahmadinejad came to New York, it was apparent to me that he
was out to pick a fight. To take him up in that fight would be a mistake. Now, more than ever, this regime needs to divert attention from its failures. It wants nothing more than to sweep its heinous crimes under a carefully woven rug. Israel's callous repression of Palestinians helps Ahmadinejad like his Holocaust denial helps Israel's continued militarism.

Failing in their role as managers and leaders of Iran, the regime elite are hiding behind their role as the defenders of Islam and Palestinians against Israel. This may work with the neo-con hating Iranians of the Diaspora or the Islamists in the region but at home it does not work because there many people are actually pro-Israeli. I would bet that Iranians are less sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than any other Muslim nation for the simple reason that the regime is pro-Palestinian. Listening to the slogans of the recent Jerusalem Day protests amply reveals the general frustration of Iranians with their government's support of Hamas and Hezbollah: Na Ghazeh, Na Lebanon, Jaanaam Fadayeh Iran (Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, my life for Iran); Felestin kojaee, Kahrizak ra bebinee? (Palestine, where are you to see Kahrizak?) There was one video clip of young protesters tearing down the Hezbollah banner put up for Qods Day to the cheers of the crowd.
Read the whole thing.

I'm sure there are Iranians who read this blog. Anyone want to comment? Are ordinary Iranians so anti-Israel? Is there a difference between those in Iran and those in exile?


At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall Debbie Schlussel warning about wishful thinking that supporting the Iranian opposition would usher in a new mindset.


Same ol' same ol'.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Shy Guy,

I remember the same warning.

But the Iranian blogger in Iran with whom I have corresponded seemed to indicate otherwise.

I wonder if there's a difference between the Iranian opposition that's in Iran and those who have left.

On the other hand, I've been in touch with two Iranian bloggers in Canada, one of whom seemed very pro-Israel and the other one seemed a little less pro-Israel but definitely not anti-Israel.

Just trying to figure out where we stand.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't think you can use this one article to paint the entire opposition as anti-Israel.

In any case, I think it is most likely that they have a plurality of opinions regarding Israel, but for the most part I get the sense they are far less anti-Israel than the regime.

Not supporting them because they aren't 100% behind Israel would be a mistake.

There are degrees of being anti-Israel, and personally I'd prefer the rhetoric of "Palestinian human rights" over the threat of a nuclear strike on "that zionist regime".

At 7:11 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I agree Shy Guy - although the regime has made anti-Zionism one of the most prominent symbols of its legitimacy. We may not really know if the mindset of a new Iranian regime would be any different. What we do know is this regime just stole an election, killed large numbers of its own people and is bent on spreading its revolution worldwide through terror and seeks a nuclear bomb to destroy Israel. And Israel is on record as seeking peaceful change in Iran.

The regime hates Israel because its the devil incarnate in its ideology, it stands in the way of its taking over the world by force and it threatens the regime's very existence. For all the above reasons, seeking Israel's destruction is imperative for its survival.

Israel would be better off with Iran that was neutral about Israel rather than the one openly hostile to it as is the case today.


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