Impeaching the Iranian president


by Sunny
15th March, 2007 at 1:51 pm    

Comment is free yesterday ran a series of short articles by bloggers on what change they’d like to see by next year. There’s lots of good ones, but this one by the Iranian blogger Hoder is worth posting in full.

*******
I hope that by this time next year Iran’s incompetent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will have been impeached by the parliament and replaced, at least, with a moderate conservative.

There is growing dissatisfaction with his inexperienced administration, both among ordinary Iranians and the establishment. After all, people elected him in the hope of seeing a higher quality of life and instead they’ve found themselves, after a year, living in a dysfunctional state threatened with global economic isolation.

The irony is that the Islamic Republic of Iran, perhaps the only true post-colonial state in the world, has never behaved so responsibly on the global scene, mainly as a result of the moderate foreign policy adopted by Mohammad Khatami, the previous (reformist) president.

Yet the same country is now one of the most demonised states in the world, mainly because of Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, especially his naive, simplistic and empty anti-Israeli line. (Empty because the Iranian constitution gives the president no control over the military in Iran and the commander in chief, Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly shown implicit support for a two-state solution.)

Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, as an Israeli rightwing newspaper sarcastically puts it, makes him look like a perfect Israeli agent in his unquestionable service to Israel. At the same time, he has damaged Iran’s national interest more than any other living Iranian on the planet.

The case for his democratic removal from the office is so strong that it is not wishful thinking any more. The conservative-dominated parliament is already gathering signatures to formally summon and question him – which is a first step in the path towards impeachment.

But if gone, Ahmadinejad would also take with him and burn the huge investment that rightwing Americans and Israelis have made in him to paint Iran as threatening to the world peace.

Iran could not possibly look as dangerous without Ahmadinejad, and the west has made a mistake in putting all its eggs in one basket.
********

Let’s hope it happens.


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  1. raz — on 15th March, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    Funnily enough, the new movie 300 seems to be giving the under-fire Ahmadinejad some respite:

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1598886,00.html?cnn=yes

    A strange turn of events.

  2. bananabrain — on 15th March, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    getting rid of ahmadinejad (surely the best argument we could ever possibly have both for why taxi-drivers shouldn’t be allowed to vote and why ken livingstone should be hung, drawn and quartered) *democratically* would be a huge coup for iran. hoder, incidentally, nonetheless supports a nuclear iran, incidentally, but, rather ironically, as a future ally of israel. i’ve always thought that was interesting, considering the kurds and turks get on rather better with the israelis than they do with the arabs. the same could very easily be said of iran in future, as indeed it was under the shah (although frankly the israelis made a stick for their own back with that) although of course hoder would not approve of a return of the pahlavis, to put it mildly.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  3. Paul Moloney — on 15th March, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    His reference link to Iran being the “only true post-colonial society” merely takes you to a table of contents page for a site. Since I have no time or inclination to wade through it all to find the facts supporting his argument, does anyone else know them?

    P.

  4. Jagdeep — on 15th March, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    Yeah, I didnt quite understand what he meant by that, saying that Iran is the ‘only post-colonial state’. Anyone have any ideas? Good article, apart from that.

  5. Sid Love — on 15th March, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    If Ahmadinejad didn’t exist, the rightwing Americans and Israelis would have summoned him, or a facsimile thereof, from thin air.

  6. justforfun — on 15th March, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    ‘only post-colonial state’ – I’ll give it a go without having read the link.

    Perhaps he means that its method of governance is home grown and bares no foundation in the western norms of governance that have been adopted, or forced on the the rest of the world, be it by colonisation or just good old fashioned intimidation – for those who have not had the good fortune to have been colonised erm.. like Ethopia, Iran Turkey and Thailand (have i missed anybody out? – perhaps China , but theres only so much of country you can occupy with two regiments of Gurkhas). I think what he really wants to slip in is a oblique referance to Aryan (sorry I mean Iranian) “exceptionalism” :-) and superiority. However people around the world are all the same and if he took out the phrase it would not alter anything.

    Justforfun

  7. Kulvinder — on 15th March, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

    Although im unclear how Post-Colonial applies in this sense, one sentence does not an argument make (or break).

  8. Jagdeep — on 15th March, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

    I think it broke his argument. I just wondered what he meant by it.

    I think what he really wants to slip in is a oblique referance to Aryan (sorry I mean Iranian) “exceptionalism” and superiority.

    Aye, could be. Proud bunch, them Persians.

  9. Jagdeep — on 15th March, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

    Ooops — correction

    I meant ‘I DONT think it broke his argument’

  10. bananabrain — on 15th March, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    If Ahmadinejad didn’t exist, the rightwing Americans and Israelis would have summoned him, or a facsimile thereof, from thin air.

    yeah, because we have nothing better to do than to invent people who want to annihilate us. don’t be such a twat.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  11. justforfun — on 15th March, 2007 at 6:03 pm  

    BB – I think Sid meant that “Our man in a jar” is actually “Our man in Tehran” and that he is there to give us an excuse to be nasty to them there Eyeranians.

    It bolloxs of course. Iran is no danger to the West. Its so called ‘revolution’ is not even a danger. Its Shia Islam is not a danger either. Only the IRI money and real or hypothetical will to create an A bomb is a danger. And that can be thwarted by covert means if it was the only factor, as Iranians are the easiest fish to play. Its just that Americans have never forgiven them for the hostages taken in 79 and they bare a grudge that can only be saited by Iran’s ritual humiliation. Even if Iran did what Libya did and renounce its atomic programme – it would not be enough for the Americans. Not a basis for global diplomacy, but there it is – that’s where I think we are at the moment.

    Justforfun

  12. Arif — on 15th March, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    I think Sid has a point. The things Ahmedinejad says upset me, but most politicians say things that upset me. It strikes me as rather forced to interpret particular turns of phrase as a implicit call for genocide, when it goes against what he says explicitly otherwise.

    I think he should be made to clarify what he says when he says something that sounds like a call to annihilate others, and then his clarifications taken just as you would take a clarification by any other politician. Otherwise something is being invented for a particular purpose.

    Just like people taking Bush’s call for a crusade to mean a religious war, rather than just a phrase for a determined struggle whose history he did not grasp. People do invent people who want to annihilate them in this way. It is not that they do not have anything better to do, they could be trying to make peace, but they prefer not to.

  13. El Cid — on 15th March, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

    The irony is that the Islamic Republic of Iran, perhaps the only true post-colonial state in the world, has never behaved so responsibly on the global scene, mainly as a result of the moderate foreign policy adopted by Mohammad Khatami, the previous (reformist) president.

    Don’t get it

  14. Katy — on 15th March, 2007 at 8:20 pm  

    Arif, Sid – do you think when Ahmedinejad calls for Israel to be blown off the map, or when he publicises a Holocaust deniers convention, that perhaps he’s just misunderstood?

    With the greatest of respect, what he says does considerably more than upset me. It scares the shit out of me.

  15. Sid — on 15th March, 2007 at 9:05 pm  

    Thanks Arif, that’s exactly what I meant.

    yeah, because we have nothing better to do than to invent people who want to annihilate us. don’t be such a twat.

    You complained about ad-hominem insults towards Amir and his thing for Eugenics but you’re not too shy when it comes to utilising it yourself are you?

    I’m sure you’re a lovely, personable bloke BB, but with all due respect, you’re also a right wing nut and a fundamentalist through and through. Analogous versions of your good self exist all too often amongst my own co-religionists and they also think I’m a twat. So, no fear, you’re in good company.

    Right wingers like yourself reach all too quickly for the victimhood paradigm. We see it time and time again in the blogsophere. And in your case, Ahmadinejad is your personal anti-Jesus who will furnish all your fears for you and more.

    As a Bangladeshi, I too can lay claim to thousands of years of persection and we’ve had a genocide to boot too. And being Muslim – well I don’t have to tell you about the rich seam of victimhood that can be mined if one were so inclined. And I’m all too familiar with a large contingent of my own community who are only too willing to use this form of identity politics to justify terrorism, anti-semitism and a kind of religious supremacism that borders on fascism.

    hmadinejad is a grandstanding lunatic but if he didn’t exist, then it would be Syrian anti-Israeli-ism that would be your bugbear. But Israel has enough nuclear warheads to wipe both Iran and Syria off the map.

    It all smacks of Muslim paranoia of USA, who have, you’ll accept, a bigger record of International trigger-happiness than Iran can ever lay claim to. In real terms – as opposed to the stuff of dreams and nightmares.

  16. Sid — on 15th March, 2007 at 9:10 pm  

    By the way BB, I took your advice from another thread and bought meself a bottle of Connemara. Sipping it now. Gorgeous stuff.

  17. Kulvinder — on 15th March, 2007 at 9:21 pm  

    Interesting BBC blog entry that came up recently.

    I realise you didn’t ask me, but from pov as with anything it depends on you mean by ‘understood’. I’m not being facetious, but if you’re asking do i understand him to hate israel and wish its existence to cease, id say yes. If you’re asking if i realistically believe he’ll take Iran to war to make that happen id say no.

    It’s awkward to map out how his opinions fit together as it goes against our european norms. I’d broadly say he was a holocaust denier, but whereas that might automatically map to anti-semitism in europe, im not sure whether a classic definition (ie wanting to be rid of jews) would fit with him. If he wanted to kill jews he could do so in iran.

  18. Rumbold — on 15th March, 2007 at 10:58 pm  

    I think that Ahmedinejad makes himself pretty clear. Presumably if Hitler had not existed, Churchill would have had to have invented him in order to return to power.
    I seriously doubt that Israelis particularly relish such threats. It is not just a case of upsetting comments, but genuinely threatening ones.

    ’300′ sounds interesting, but these stories always do Persia a disservice, presenting it as barbaric, when all it lacked in fact were writers to promote itself. More Greeks fought for the Persians in that war than against them. There were more Thespians at Thermopylae than Spartans, but now their name is a byword for effeminate actors.

  19. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 15th March, 2007 at 11:18 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    My love. I’ve never believed that the President of Iran wants to or is going to annihilate the US or Isreal. I am sure he wouldnt mind but that is a counter distinction worth taking into consideration. The greatest threat, I have always believed and maybe I have said this on PP before, is a nucleared armed Iran cant be regime changed. Now thats pretty dangerous. Anyway, I cant leave without, after having discussed the peeps of Iran, voicing my complete and total disgust of Rafidah Shiaism.

    I need a bag of doritos to settle my nerves.

  20. William — on 15th March, 2007 at 11:26 pm  

    Ahmadinejad thinks Israel should be wiped off the map?
    As well. Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf said that the Bush administration threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age?

  21. leon — on 15th March, 2007 at 11:28 pm  

    do you think when Ahmedinejad calls for Israel to be blown off the map

    Where did he say that? I hate to look like I’m defending the guy (imo both the leaders of Israel and Iran should be impeached/kicked out/put on trial but that’s another story) but isn’t this more a case of bad translation and willful demonisation of an official enemy?

  22. Bert Preast — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:20 am  

    Frankly I can’t believe what I’m reading here. Ahmadinejad is an outspoken anti-semite, and how exactly do we arrive at the conclusion that Khamenei supports a two-state solution?

  23. Bert Preast — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:41 am  

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6454917.stm

    Interpol seems to agree with the Argentinians on who was behind the Buenos Aires jewish centre bombing.

  24. Katy — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:04 am  

    Leon, the debate is over whether he said “wipe Israel off the map” or “erase Israel from the page of time”. What about the Holocaust denial? Is that a case of mistranslation too?

    Whether Ahmedinejad currently has the military power to back up his ranting isn’t really the point. Dictators have been underestimated before, and in any event he’s trying to increase Iran’s nuclear capability. I don’t know if Israel has the nukes to destroy Iran or not, but as far as I’m aware Israel isn’t jumping up and down and demanding that Iran be erased from the page of time.

    Kulvinder, Ahmedinejad may not be killing Jews in Iran but he’s certainly discriminating against them, as the article (by the Guardian, that well-known impartial source of reporting on the Middle East) states:

    He confirmed Jews and other minorities were all excluded from “sensitive” senior posts in the military and judiciary. And the authorities refuse to allow Jewish schools to close on the sabbath, a normal working day for the rest of Iran.

    But, you know, as long as he’s not killing them it’s fine. Never mind that his country systematically discriminates against them. And that the press in Iran frequently features antisemitic cartoons of Jews. And that the anniversary of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was celebrated by Iranian newspapers. And that a museum in Tehran decided to hold an exhibition of 200 antisemitic cartoons as a “test of Western commitment to free speech” after the Motoons publication (which, by the way, was nothing to do with Israel or Jews). And that Ahmedinejad described the Holocaust as a “myth”.

  25. Katy — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:17 am  

    Every time a Jew mentions antisemitism on this website the default position of most of the non-Jewish commentators is that it’s emotional blackmail and nothing more.

    There is a very strong feeling in the Jewish community that no one cares about the Jews apart from the Jews. That’s a feeling shared by most ethnic minorities, I’m sure, and yet when I read so many sensible people trying to downplay the blatant antisemitism of someone like Ahmedinejad, who really doesn’t make any secret of his views on either Israel or the Holocaust, it’s difficult not to agree with them. People are happy to admit that racism exists in this country against black people, and that Islamophobia exists and is on the rise, and yet every time I mention the documented rise of antisemitism in this country I’m challenged to produce evidence of it – despite having linked to the Parliamentary Committee’s report on antisemitism about four times. And in the context of I/P the antisemitism of Hamas, Hizbollah, Iran and Syria is frequently just ignored, even though none of those bodies make any attempt to hide their views.

    Why is it that so many people are reluctant to accept that antisemitism exists, either here or abroad? That’s a genuine question.

  26. Katy — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:18 am  

    Sid, am a bit surprised at your characterisation of bb as a right-wing fundamentalist nutter.

  27. Sunny — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:20 am  

    I’m with Katy on this one. He’s a nutbag of the highest order. I’m not in favour of attacking the country to forcibly remove him because I think that will only rally everyone around him and force the liberals to choose sides with him… but he needs to go. Somehow.

    By the way, I’ve read a few Iranians translating his comments and they do agree he said ‘wipe off the map’ or ‘erase off the map’ so I don’t buy the mis-translation theory anymore.

    That is not to say Hoder’s analysis is wrong. I just think he underestimates Ahmedinejad’s anti-semitism.

  28. Amir — on 16th March, 2007 at 2:39 am  

    I agree with Sunny. [*yuck*]

    Bannabrain is da’ boss. :-)

    Refresh deserves a good bumming as well!!

  29. Sid — on 16th March, 2007 at 8:35 am  

    Sid, am a bit surprised at your characterisation of bb as a right-wing fundamentalist nutter.

    Only surprising if you think that that’s necessarily pejorative. BB ticks all the boxes of the definition and has admitted being one, right-wing and fundamentalist that is. “Nutter” is my embellishment. I know some perfectly sound right-wing religious nutters – I just don’t subscribe to many of their views.

  30. Sid — on 16th March, 2007 at 8:49 am  

    Hoder’s views are pretty sound. Everyone except Ahmadinejad’s mum thinks he’s a fucking loon. No one argues with that.

    But if counries can maintain a nuclear arsenal on the basis of the argument of deterrant, so should Iran, irrespective of Ahmadinejad’s antisemitism. And with good reason – Neoconservatism. Bush & Co invade a country Iran shares a border with and has been rattling his sabres since the day he stepped into the Oval office regarding the “axis of evil”. His administation invades, occupies and forcibly maintains itself there in spite of 4 years of international outcry. And Iraq was a friendly 2 US Administrations ago. What will it do about Iran, with its history of US-baiting?

  31. Kulvinder — on 16th March, 2007 at 10:02 am  

    Kulvinder, Ahmedinejad may not be killing Jews in Iran but he’s certainly discriminating against them, as the article (by the Guardian, that well-known impartial source of reporting on the Middle East) states:

    They’re treated the same way as other minorities, or at least better than some. I’d say gay people are in more danger.

    I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say. Id agree ahmadinejad is a holocaust denier and not really a progressive politician, but im unsure how that equates to anything else. I’m not denying what he thinks about israel, or that i disagree with him, but what are you trying to say will do?

    Every time a Jew mentions antisemitism on this website the default position of most of the non-Jewish commentators is that it’s emotional blackmail and nothing more.

    To be fair though, i’ve disagreed with kismet over the whole shilpa thing, almost all conservative (small c) sikhs over nearly everything, sunny with peta, gay people on whether a distinct gay culture will continue in a more egalitarian society, clair on the politics of nationalism, erm bert and half the site on america, BB on ijv and ‘jewishness’ juxataposed with ‘sikhness’ :)

  32. Sahil — on 16th March, 2007 at 10:11 am  

    I don’t think whether Ahmadinejad was mistranslated is an issue at all. What he said, which ever way you look at it is highly confrontational. The question is more why? Just Anti-semitism? I’d put money that he is anti-semitic, but that in itself doesn’t really much explain anything. Also concerning the holocaust denial freakshow, most Iranians were not impressed, in fact his approval ratings are dropping pretty quickly, most Iranians are terrified that his mouthing off is going to lead to war:

    http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1875002006

    Frankly I think the reason why he is getting away with this is because the US is screwed in Iraq at the moment, Israel had a disasterous war in Lebanon, and nobody in both governments has anything public backing for more confrontation.

    Simply put, I do not have a clue as to why Ahmadinejad is saying what he is and what payoff it will bring him, but I’d also say words are wind. If anyone fires a nuclear bomb in the middle east, that entire place will be uninhabitable. Even if we forget the value of human life, it will be difficult to get gas and oil out if the entire place is radioactive, so I just can’t see a nuclear confrontation happening. And please don’t tell me that the Iranian leadership is irrational and they may fire nukes on a whim, because at the moment they have clearly outplayed anyone in real politick over the last 7 years. The Mullahs maybe be zealous and hold replusive views but they’re not stupid.

    Katy concerning your point in #25, I think the reasons why many Muslims or Arabs don’t take anti-semitism seriously is because the ‘classical’ version i.e. Elder Zion crap, never really existed in the Islamic world. In fact many Jews were tradionally held in high regard (even though they had various forms of discrimination against them, especially concerning tax and property) in most Islamic civilisations because they were well educated and usually formed a link between Islamic societies and the EUs. The new surge in anti-semitism is directly attributabal to the I/P issue. I would also say that many Jews didn’t really have a classical problems with muslims, but the failure of a resolution in Israel and Palestine is used for a variety of propoganda purposes on BOTH sides.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=411067

  33. Leon — on 16th March, 2007 at 10:40 am  

    the debate is over whether he said “wipe Israel off the map” or “erase Israel from the page of time”.

    Maybe I’m reading different things but from I read he said something like “wipe Zionism from history”…anyway, I didn’t comment on the holocuast thing because I didn’t think I needed to. It’s plain that that wasn’t a mistranlation (not that I can find anyone claiming it to be)…

    I agree he is a nutjob but then our leader isn’t much better…

  34. Arif — on 16th March, 2007 at 10:47 am  

    Katy, I do think that anyone who questions the reality of the holocaust in a political or social context is making an anti-semitic point. If they ask the question in the course of some sort of relevant historical research, then in theory they might not be. But I would still wonder what the source of this preoccupation for them is. For me, the main point worth making about the holocaust is that it shows the grave potential for evil in us as humans that we have to guard against.

    I don’t question whether he is anti-semitic. His attempts to minimise the extent of the holocaust isn’t explicable to me otherwise.

    What I do question is what kind of threat he is to other states. I never doubted the translation of “wiping Israel off the map”, I assumed he meant wiping it off the political map. I did not think he meant he would undertake a nuclear genocide any more than I would think it meant he would change its physical geography through a massive engineering project. The intuitive interpretation for me was that he did not like Israel as a political entity. Fair enough, if you have a different interpretation, ask for clarification. But just to use it again and again despite Ahmedinejad saying he meant something else, well, maybe it is out of genuine fear, maybe paranoia, maybe mischief. Maybe you are also right that it was a slip of a mask. But then I am sure people can accuse me of being a genocidalist by clever interpretations of my loose words.

    It just seems similar to me to the Muslims who go on about Bush saying he was in a crusade. Yes he does seem to sabre rattle, yes he did launch a couple of invasions of Muslim countries, yes he does support a few other military actions against Muslim countries, but he is not actually trying to wipe out Muslims in a religious war, just trying to achieve political goals. Or maybe you think I am just being terrible naive, I mean how clear can it be that the President of the US has declared a religious war against Muslims and the UK has joined him in it?

  35. Sunny — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:07 pm  

    I agree he is a nutjob but then our leader isn’t much better…

    Well, I think I’d rather than Tony Blair as leader, however bad he is, than Ahmadinejad any day.

  36. bananabrain — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:26 pm  

    BB – I think Sid meant that “Our man in a jar” is actually “Our man in Tehran” and that he is there to give us an excuse to be nasty to them there Eyeranians.

    you see, that’s what i really find worrying, that paranoia has reached such an extreme level that we cannot see the wood for the trees. why does everything have to be a dastardly plot by the americans? surely if they were that sophisticated they wouldn’t have made such a hash of the political end of things in iraq? do you really think it is feasible that an american mole could become president of iran? i mean, what planet is this coming from?

    It strikes me as rather forced to interpret particular turns of phrase as a implicit call for genocide, when it goes against what he says explicitly otherwise.

    and, of course, it’s completely inconceivable that he addresses different audiences differently? does nobody remember that arafat used to say one thing in english to the europeans and americans, but its complete opposite in the arab press? the guy has the motive, the background – the only realistic difference of opinion can be over whether he has the means to fire a missile (which he has, which, if nobody remembers, can also reach european capitals – it’s called the “shihab-1″, see here http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/memonitor/perspex-memonitor-shihab3missile-090303.htm – don’t have a go at me about the site, i don’t know who runs it) or, as is more likely, the means to deliver a bomb covertly via hizbollah or agents in europe. he’s seen how north korea has managed to blackmail the americans into propping them up with more aid and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the benefit to him of going nuclear. i mean, am i being completely paranoid here, but isn’t it nuts to give the benefit of the doubt to people who think that tom and jerry is a jewish plot run by walt disney – and don’t even care that it’s a hanna-barbera cartoon? the people who spend their fridays chanting “death to israel”? ( http://www.payvand.com/news/05/feb/1097.html )

    You complained about ad-hominem insults towards Amir and his thing for Eugenics but you’re not too shy when it comes to utilising it yourself are you?

    calling someone a twat (which i think is pretty mild) is not the same thing as the copious amounts of extremely strong profanity that you are prone to indulge in. i’m extremely reluctant to go down this road, personally – i only did it because i didn’t have time to write a proper response and, in fact i apologise for doing so because now you are addressing the rhetoric and not the argument. you ought to take it as a sign of my exasperation that something so, blatantly, utterly, obviously, genocidally anti-semitic can be dismissed so glibly by you, leon, bikhair and many others here. basically, you’ve just gone and justified the “oom schmoom” mindset of the israelis that say “oh, who cares, they don’t care if we all get murdered, why should we give a monkey’s arse what anyone says?” congratulations.

    now, as to my being a “right-wing nut” and a “fundamentalist”.

    as i have already explained about eight times, i think that left and right are now archaic political terms, all the more so since the end of the cold war. i hold some points of view that are traditionally “right-wing”, like being in favour of free speech, property rights, strong and professional armed forces and others that are traditionally “left-wing”, like being in favour of strong regulators on business, good public transport and responsible social provision, viewing the nation-state as archaic and so on. i could go on about this all day. what i do not do is hitch my wagon to a political party, because i agree with them all about different things. how i vote is based on a basket of issues and who i choose is often different both locally, municipally and nationally. what you are doing, as katy is also prone to point out, is equating being “right-wing” with being inherently nutty, whilst exonerating being “left-wing” as being inherently “progressive”. this is a common failing and never ceases to amaze me with its immense self-serving arrogance. so i object to being called “right-wing”, because it doesn’t begin to describe my political position. i won’t even deign to address the label “nut” because i think it demeans you to even use it.

    as for being a “fundamentalist”, this is an extremely convenient label for you, i dare say, because it enables you to lump me in with jerry falwell, george bush, west bank settlers (i dare say) and of course ahmedinejad himself, in order that you can avoid the issue. as i have pointed out many times, i have far more in common with the anti-religious than i do with the overtly religious on many counts, including freedom of conscience/religion, freedom of speech, separation of church and state and so on. i believe there is no conflict between religion and science, only between the adherents of obscurantist religiosity or scientism on either hand. the fact that i believe religious leaders have a duty to speak out on moral and other issues should be neither surprising nor particularly controversial. my personal religious observance is none of your affair. it neither picks your pocket, breaks your head nor restricts your freedom to read, watch or say what you like. in those respects it is the absolute opposite of the fundamentalism you are seeking to label me with. i am concerned with how people behave, not with the state of their souls.

    i believe in G!D, creation ex nihilo (and, for the record, have no problem with evolution either), in the Revelation at Sinai, in the duty of the jewish people to be a “light for the nations” and in the thirteen principles of faith articulated by maimonides which you can read about here http://www.mesora.org/13principles.html if you care to. i believe that the israel-palestine problem will be resolved when palestinians can live with full equality in tel aviv – BUT ALSO when jews can live with full equality in hebron, nablus and ramallah, or anywhere else for that matter. i think the idea of one state, two states or any states is simply a barrier to peace. in the long term, the state of israel is not the solution to the future of the jewish people, but neither is it the problem. i am neither passive nor aggressive about it. if you want to know what my religious response is to an issue, i am happy to talk about it, but i don’t push it down your throat. if you use a term like “fundamentalist”, justify it. to use it as a catch-all term of abuse is simply sloppy thinking which is reminiscent of the way those goons at mpac use the accusation of being “zionist”. you’re not stupid, so try and use your brain for a change, rather than going on autopilot.

    if he didn’t exist, then it would be Syrian anti-Israeli-ism that would be your bugbear.

    really? so you know what i think now, do you? you haven’t the least idea about how i actually think, which is probably why you construct this ridiculous straw man so you can avoid actually addressing my concerns – a pattern i see becoming all too familiar here. i know a lot more about syria than you realise and i have very good reasons for not seeing them as as much of a threat as the iranians, unpleasant though they are. the syrians are not about to start something with israel. the israelis know what they want – the golan. all they have to do is settle on the price.

    what is more, i can hardly be accused of harping on about anti-semitism. i find the subject utterly boring and would rather not have to talk about it at all. i have better things to do with my time. however, when i see people being, as katy puts it, “reluctant
    to accept that anti-semitism exists
    , here or abroad”, that annoys me very much indeed.

    Bush & Co invade a country Iran shares a border with and has been rattling his sabres since the day he stepped into the Oval office regarding the “axis of evil”. His administation invades, occupies and forcibly maintains itself there in spite of 4 years of international outcry.

    don’t worry about 9/11, though and the 3000 americans that died. i’m sure that had nothing to do with anything.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

    glad you liked the connemara, though.

  37. Sahil — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

    BananaBrain are you saying that Iran had something to do with 9/11? Iraq as we know, had nothing to do with it.

  38. Leon — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:50 pm  

    Well, I think I’d rather than Tony Blair as leader, however bad he is, than Ahmadinejad any day.

    I’d rather neither. It’s a question of power and effect; put them side by side and look at the number of people dead because of their decisions.

  39. Arif — on 16th March, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

    Bananabrain, I am sure your fear is genuine. But I do not share it. This does not mean I don’t care about threats to Jewish people, or that I want to contribute to an oom shmoom mentality.

    I just have a different perspective, where Iranians are as human and as rational/irrational as anyone else. So I take seriously that nuclear weapons are banned in Iran on religious grounds by Ayatollah Khamenei. I take seriously when Iranian politicians call for dialogue and make tentative steps to end isolation. If there is an oom shmoom mentality among Iranians when such efforts by Khatami were rebuffed, I’m not going to justify that either.

    I can understand fearing Iran because of their links with resistence/terrorist/liberation/whatever violent groups. I can understand fearing them because the President is antisemitic. I cn understand despising the repression used internally. And I fear a lot of other countries and their leaders for similar reasons.

    But I am just a skeptical person. I never bought the Blair dossier on Iraq at the time, it seemed amply shown to be spin at the time by people. I never bought the line that there is a war on Islam. And I don’t buy the line that Iran is more of a threat than it is being threatened. I could be wrong on any of these things and be told I am an appeaser, apologist and tw*t. What kind of oom shmoom reflex should that justify?

  40. Sid Love — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:04 pm  

    bananabrain

    I’d say anyone who bases their day-to-day existence, the finer points of mundane life and even their life-changing decsision, their politics and their ethical considerations on edicts and exegeses from religious texts to be a fundamentalist. Would you say you fall in that category?

    you ought to take it as a sign of my exasperation that something so, blatantly, utterly, obviously, genocidally anti-semitic can be dismissed so glibly by you, leon, bikhair and many others here. basically, you’ve just gone and justified the “oom schmoom” mindset of the israelis that say “oh, who cares, they don’t care if we all get murdered, why should we give a monkey’s arse what anyone says?” congratulations.

    Interesting that you complain when you presume I am putting words in your mouth (the Syrian bugbear) but don’t have any qualms about using the same device yourself. What makes you think I don’t care about the anti-semitism of Ahmadinejad? Short of calling me an anti-semite (which I’m sure you think I am even if you haven’t typed it out), that’s a pretty squalid accusation. I could go on about how easily you mouth off vituperatively at this or that Muslim here on PP as indicative of your own hatred of Muslims. But that would be peurile, even by the standards of your selective value system.

    Calling me a wanker is a null-statement. You can call me whatever you want, (even to my face ;-) ) – but it’s hypocritical to whine when others do the same. If you actually take a good look at that thead where Amir revealed his eugenicist thinking, you’ll see I didn’t use any ad-hominem towards him or anyone else for that matter. Not on that thread at least, which is the one you cite. But it’s true, I do tend to spinkle fucking loads of cocksucking expletives in my exchanges on this blog. But never if front of the kids.

    don’t worry about 9/11, though and the 3000 americans that died. i’m sure that had nothing to do with anything.

    Oh dear. Prior to this, we wer told it was Saddam who was behind 9/11. And in spite of Bush’s own intelligence people signalling madly that there was no such link, Iraq was invaded with the 9/11 pretext as one of the many shiftable goalposts. Who cares about their internecine differences like Saddam being anti-Saudi and Kuwait. It all generally falls under that catch-all, anti-Americanism. And anyway, they’re all fucking Arabs aren’t they?

    And now, you’re suggesting it’s Iran? Holy shit! If that’s not indicative of your paranoia, I don’t really know what is.

    I know its early in the day, but get yourself to a bar, order a large cannemura and get over yourself.

  41. Katy — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

    Oy va voy. I’m going to start a weekend open thread.

  42. Jagdeep — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    Hurry up and start it Katy

  43. Leon — on 16th March, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

    Please, I’m spitting blood with all the teeth grinding I’m doing.:(

  44. bananabrain — on 16th March, 2007 at 3:21 pm  

    sahil:

    think the reasons why many Muslims or Arabs don’t take anti-semitism seriously is because the ‘classical’ version i.e. Elder Zion crap, never really existed in the Islamic world.

    it didn’t before the 1930s. it does now, thanks to haj amin el-husseini and a sizeable number of nazi refugees hosted in syria, egypt, iraq and a number of other places. look up a recent egyptian prime-time TV drama about it, or the book written by the syrian foreign minister. the really virulent “classical” stuff is now the proud preserve of the neo-nazis (both european, american and baathist) and the popular and islamist middle eastern imagination. i read only yesterday in the eminently respectable asharq al-awsat an accusation by the revolting bouthana shaaban that israelis kill palestinians in order to steal their blood for transfusions. the blood libel is alive and well in the middle east.

    and, no, i’m not accusing the iranians of 9/11. i’m simply saying that bush was distinctly isolationist and uninterested in the middle east until he was compelled to act by the worst ever terrorist outrage perpetrated on american soil.

    leon:

    It’s a question of power and effect; put [blair and ahmadinejad] side by side and look at the number of people dead because of their decisions.

    you see, this feels to me like the worst kind of moral equivocation. blair is not threatening genocide. on two occasions he has intervened militarily to save muslims – bosnia and kosovo. or do you count dead serbs in this number? besides, leon, are you seriously suggesting blair should make his decisions based on how many people die as a result without even considering why they’re dying? it seems to me to be the most absurd oversimplification.

    arif:

    I just have a different perspective, where Iranians are as human and as rational/irrational as anyone else.

    hang on a tick. i’m not saying anything about iranians in general. for feck’s sake, we leave our baby with our iranian next-door neighbours. when i say “the iranians” i’m talking about iranian governmnent policy/practice in general and ahmadinejad in particular. i also take seriously what khamenei says, although i expect it to contain, somewhere within the small print, a qualifier along the lines of “except where used to kill zionists”. and as for dialogue, everyone was very keen on khatami being a “reformist” – but you’re basically talking about the lesser of two evils. khatami is not a liberal or a moderate by any yardstick used on this site.

    sid:

    I’d say anyone who bases their day-to-day existence, the finer points of mundane life and even their life-changing decisions, their politics and their ethical considerations on edicts and exegeses from religious texts to be a fundamentalist.

    then you don’t understand what a fundamentalist is. by this definition, practically everybody religious is a fundamentalist, so it’s a fundamentally unhelpful generalisation. besides, there are also political and scientific fundamentalists, so the source of the texts is not the be-all and end-all.

    you presume I am putting words in your mouth (the Syrian bugbear)

    you *are* putting words in my mouth. *i* didn’t bring up syria, you did. it’s quite simple.

    but don’t have any qualms about using the same device yourself. What makes you think I don’t care about the anti-semitism of Ahmadinejad?

    my original gripe was at your hysterically paranoid suggestion that ahmadinejad was an american/israeli mole. that’s just too mad for words. what makes me think you don’t care is that you are not only bending over backwards to discount his tendencies and excuse them, but in fact to actually accuse the israelis of being responsible for them being there in the first place. i’ve got news for you, mate, that’s called blaming jews for anti-semitism and, to be perfectly honest, if you don’t care about anti-semitism than you’re quite foolish. jews are the canary in the coalmine of prejudice. wherever hatred rears its head, we are the first against the wall.

    Short of calling me an anti-semite (which I’m sure you think I am even if you haven’t typed it out), that’s a pretty squalid accusation.

    so now you’re pre-emptively accusing me of thinking you’re an anti-semite, whereas i’m fairly sure i actually called you a twat. and, although anti-semites are by definition twats, it does not therefore follow that the reverse is true, otherwise i’d be reporting chris evans to the simon wiesenthal centre.

    I could go on about how easily you mouth off vituperatively at this or that Muslim here on PP as indicative of your own hatred of Muslims. But that would be puerile, even by the standards of your selective value system.

    far be it from me to point out that by prefacing your remarks with the modifier “i could go on about x if i wanted to” is, as you are perfectly aware, effectively making the accusation (rather like saying “allegedly” if you’re a journalist or “for illustrative purposes” if you’re selling something) so don’t pussyfoot around if you have something to say to me. at no point have i “mouthed off vituperatively” at a muslim for being muslim. i have done so when the person or persons in question acts like a feckin’ feathered eejit. as you have obviously failed to pick up, i spend a lot of time working in interfaith dialogue and if i hated muslims i’d really be wasting everyone’s time. come and visit us over at comparative-religion.com if you want to see how i function in a less anti-religious environment, in fact, i am generally regarded as rather puzzlingly islamophilic by many of my co-religionists, who can’t understand how a religious zionist seems to have so much time for muslims and respect for islam. my formal prayer is done in the traditional baghdadi style. i play the ‘oud. my skullcap is turkish. my family is as middle-eastern as you like. you are *so* barking up the wrong tree with this.

    by contrast, i have only judged the statements you make, not the feelings that it would be convenient for me to assume that you have.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  45. Katy — on 16th March, 2007 at 3:28 pm  

    Sid, BB moderates comparativereligion.com, which is a major interfaith website, and it was he who got me interested in interfaith work, specifically the Islam/Judaism side. I’ve never seen any comment by him that could be remotely construed as demonstrating hatred of Muslims. What has he said that leads you to think that?

  46. Sid Love — on 16th March, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

    oh hatred would be way too strong a word, but BB can be quite snidey towards certain Muslim fundamentalist types who sometime come here to troll it up. It could be general antipathy towards trolls in particular rather than boorish Muslims in general, who knows?

    Also noticed he was the only regular here who defended Amir’s views on IQ racial profiling and eugenics. I doubt he would so generous in rushing to his defence had Amir been banging on about jewish racial stereotypes.

    And by the way BB, holding Arabs, in general, for being culpable for 9/11, in spite of the evidence, says more about your prejudices than you have previously allowed yourself to let on.

  47. Chairwoman — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    Sid – What? Who do you think is responsible for 9/11?

  48. Sid Love — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

    oooh I don’t Chairowman. Let’s see now…

    Basrans and Baghdadis maybe?
    Marsh Arabs?
    How about Arabs in general?
    And now…Iranians?

  49. bananabrain — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    BB can be quite snidey towards certain Muslim fundamentalist types who sometime come here to troll it up.

    fair enough. i don’t think there’s anything wrong with that though. i wasn’t obliged to be nice to fundamentalist feckwits of whatever stripe, last time i checked. certainly nobody else here tends to hold back.

    It could be general antipathy towards trolls in particular rather than boorish Muslims in general, who knows?

    generally the trolls here tend to be bnp apologists, who i quite like to hear from, if only to remind myself that they are still out there and they still haven’t managed to figure out that they are a waste of an opposable thumb.

    Also noticed he was the only regular here who defended Amir’s views on IQ racial profiling and eugenics. I doubt he would so generous in rushing to his defence had Amir been banging on about jewish racial stereotypes.

    you are of course correct, but i don’t think i actually defended amir’s views per se so much as objecting to the terms in which he was reviled, attacking him for other people’s views who he was presumed to share by virtue of linking to websites they also frequented. i seem to remember reading that he strongly supported interracial marriage and has a half-asian daughter. that surely ought to indicate that the guy isn’t a eugenicist. for the record, by the way, when i learned organisational psychology for my mba, we were taught that “intelligence is what is measured by intelligence tests” and that IQ was not a reliable measure of business effectiveness and businesses are nothing if not utilitarian. i also seem to remember amir vigorously denying any accusations that he thought black people were inferior, despite his references to “the bell curve”. so his thinking may be a bit on the confused side at times but i think his heart’s in the right place.

    And by the way BB, holding Arabs, in general, for being culpable for 9/11, in spite of the evidence, says more about your prejudices than you have previously allowed yourself to let on.

    eh??? where did i say anything like that? i said i didn’t accuse the iranians. we know who carried it out. it was the “magnificent 19″ (that omar bakri hasa a tin ear, don’t he?) plus zacarias moussaoui, financed by khalid sheikh muhammad, inspired by the al-qa’ida methodology/ideology and supported by bin laden and his friends in afghanistan and around the world. i think you’re straw-manning me again. if i was going to hold anyone in general culpable it would be saudi arabia for sponsoring worldwide dissemination of salafi ideology and wahhabi hatred and western governments for allowing them to effectively take financial and ideological control of much of the intellectual content of islam in their societies. it was criminally stupid and, as it turned out, effectively suicidal. but i don’t tend to hold people generally culpable, because we’re all guilty once you go down that road and then, like leon, you can’t do anything but sit on your hands and go “waily waily waily isn’t it awful but i can’t do anything in case i make it worse”. it is a collective moral cowardice which i, as a religious jew, a critically educated individual and a democrat, cannot stomach. in the words of nigel molesworth, they are cowardy custards, wets, weeds, snekes, oiks and roters and i diskard them. poo-ur gosh chiz chiz chiz.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  50. Sid Love — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    Bush & Co invade a country Iran shares a border with and has been rattling his sabres since the day he stepped into the Oval office regarding the “axis of evil”. His administation invades, occupies and forcibly maintains itself there in spite of 4 years of international outcry.

    don’t worry about 9/11, though and the 3000 americans that died. i’m sure that had nothing to do with anything.

    Oh sorry, my mistake. Last time I looked, you seemed to be implying Bush’s invasion of IRAQ on 9/11 was justifiable.

    And here I was thinking it was all about “installing democracy”. My bad.

  51. soru — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    holding Arabs, in general, for being culpable for 9/11

    How do you get that from anything BB said?

    All I can see is a statement that the Iraq war probably wouldn’t have happenned if 9/11 hadn’t (probably true, but who knows?).

    To get from that to ‘culpable’ and ‘arabs in general’ is not so much a stretch as a snap.

  52. El Cid — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:40 pm  

    hmmmmm… shame

  53. bananabrain — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:51 pm  

    Last time I looked, you seemed to be implying Bush’s invasion of IRAQ on 9/11 was justifiable. And here I was thinking it was all about “installing democracy”. My bad.

    for the record, my position on the invasion of iraq is that it was ten years too late. it should have happened in 1991. the reason it didn’t is because we were going for consensus, which at the time meant not upsetting the coalition, which included the turks and the syrians. if we had toppled saddam in ’91 as we should have, the kurds would have declared independence, the iranians would have grabbed the shia heartlands around najaf and karbala and iraq would have been reduced to a sunni rump. we didn’t fancy handing the iranians the iraqi shi’a on a plate and the last thing the syrians and turks (to say nothing of the iranians) want is an independent (and, particularly worryingly for the syrians and iranians, pro-western and pro-israeli) kurdistan, which if you know anything about kurds, you’ll know would be the case. instead of which, we encouraged the kurds and shi’a to try and rebel and then betrayed them by standing idly by as saddam gassed, tortured and massacred thousands upon thousands to secure another decade’s worth of time to guzzle johnnie walker and quality street in between feeding his sons’ rape victims into plastic shredders. i didn’t agree with it at the time and my view on the 2003 invasion was “better late than never.”

    as far as i’m concerned saddam had WMD, because he used them on the kurds and the marsh arabs. if he didn’t have them by the time we invaded, it wasn’t for lack of trying and it wasn’t for lack of trying to make us think that he did in order to scare us into backing down. he bluffed. we called his bluff. simple as that. we didn’t need a threat of WMD to get rid of saddam – it should have been done because it was the right thing to do, but no, we had to find a selfish reason to do it because goodness knows nobody is altruistic in their foreign policy.

    as for “installing democracy”, i was always sceptical about that. i always thought it was more about oil and the more fool the americans are if they want to tie themselves further to the accursed stuff. it would have been nice, but it was a pipe-dream and any hope of it was destroyed by the incompetence of the provisional authority which dissolved the army.

    insofar as iraq as an entity is concerned, i don’t think it’s particularly worth preserving. look at the borders – they were drawn up over lunch in 1915 between sykes, for the british and picot, for the french. why preserve the source of so much trouble? far better to break it up, in my view. the trouble is, as we saw in yugoslavia and the soviet union, when a long-term dictator, who held his country together by force, brutal intimidation and terror dies, then it seems to be invariably the case that the country then indulges in the ethnic score-settling that was held in check for the duration of the dictatorship. and it was foolish indeed for this not to be considered.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  54. Chairwoman — on 16th March, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

    Personally I consider the only people responsible for 9/11 were the people who actually did it. Nobody else. Not Bin Laden, not Al Queaeda, only the people who got in the planes and did it.

  55. Sid Love — on 16th March, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

    hmmmmm… shameful

  56. soru — on 16th March, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

    bb: that’s a bit of a myth, the present-day borders of Iraq are not the ones Sykes and Picot drew up.

    The process of setting the borders was a lot more complicated.

    See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Mandate_of_Mesopotamia

  57. douglas clark — on 16th March, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    Chairwoman,

    Post 54. That is painfully naive. Which, frankly, is not like you at all. On that basis, the only folk guilty for, say, Abu Ghraib are the folk on the ground? (I suspect this will become another Godwin, however, until someone tells me otherwise…)

  58. douglas clark — on 16th March, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

    And, anyway, how do you explain to a vibrant community like this:

    http://www.anvari.org/fun/Farsi/Iranian_Women.html

    That they all ought to die, just ’cause Ahmadinejad is a bit of a tit.

    I am particularily taken by gumsy.

  59. Arif — on 16th March, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    BB, sorry I implied thst you see Iranians differently from any other people. I do still feel you have more suspicion about the agenda of the Iranian Government than of the US government, for example. I may be wrong, but I believe that a US attack on Iran is more likely than an Iranian attack on the US, or for that matter on Israel.

    I was really trying to say that I am more sceptical than you. From my perspective you seem to have let your suspicions run away with you. Khamenei’s clear ruling is not believed. A one-sided unsympathetic interpretation of some things said by the populist President is taken as the truth. I’m willing to entertain these ideas as speculation, but I would not base my world view on them.

    So I think we should just agree to disagree, and I’ll be a little upset as perceiving you as promoting the kind of suspicion which leads to wars. And you might be a little upset that I’m promoting the kind of license which leads to wars. But if that means the two of us assume that this means the other one wants war, then I guess we can’t be surprised if the kind of egomaniacs who want to be politicians think they need WMDs to defend themselves from each other.

  60. leon — on 16th March, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

    I really wonder if making your thoughts plain so they can be twisted out of all recognition and context is really worth it some days…

  61. Chairwoman — on 16th March, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

    douglas clark – I am someone who usually does not bow to social pressure. If I don’t want to do something that the rest of the social group thinks is a good idea, I won’t.

    Therefore, while I understand being swept along by the enthusiasms of the crowd, at the end each person makes their own judgement. I might have got on the plane, but at the end, I wouldn’t have done the deed.

    For these reasons, I hold the actual perpetrators responsible. Weakminded, gullible. selfish idiots who fell for the propaganda expounded by men who kept themselves well out of the firing line.

  62. Sunny — on 17th March, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

    i seem to remember reading that he strongly supported interracial marriage and has a half-asian daughter. that surely ought to indicate that the guy isn’t a eugenicist.

    I think he’s fine with Asian and black women, but less so towards men. He’s confused certainly, but I find him a bit mysoginistic too. Keeps on going on about how beautiful Asian women are everytime anyone pulls him up on the old racial differences charge. That isn’t really a defense.

  63. Katy — on 17th March, 2007 at 7:33 pm  

    I would like to see more commenting from the lovely Arif, myself.

  64. El Cid — on 17th March, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

    hmmm…. so chairy, the guards who turned on the gas at auschwitz and led jews/gypsies/queers et al into the showers were really the guilty ones, rather than himmler, hitler, et al.
    what nonsense.. is that really you chairy?

  65. Chairwoman — on 17th March, 2007 at 8:17 pm  

    They were all guilty, El Cid, but that was a different situation, they weren’t volunteers, most of them were conscripts, and the consequences for refusal would have been dire, therefore their guilt was less (although I’m sure that more than a few of them thoroughly enjoyed the task).

    The 9/11 guys chose to do it, that is why they were as guilty as their leaders.

  66. El Cid — on 17th March, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

    i’m glad you’ve adjusted your position. sanity is restored

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