31 thoughts on “Seattle’s Leading Rabbi Supports Violent Overthrow of Iranian Regime – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Mr. Silverstein, while engaging you on a forum you control and from which your worldview and yours alone obviously prevails is futile, perhaps. But your representation of my comments is inaccurate at best, biased and malicious at worst. While I pray for a peaceful, Velvet revolution in Iran to overthrow the government, the current regime has demonstrated time and again that it will not go gently into that good night. Real change within Iran will come internally, through popular protest and reformist vigor, and most likely through a degree (I hope limited) of violent conflict. The bullies and thugs of the regime will need to be met with the only means many of them understand, as is the case with all bullies and thugs. And as far as my use of terms like “enslavement” and “evil”, please see most recently “Iran: The Revenge” in the Nov 5 edition of The New York Review of Books, with a special note of Khomeini’s post revolutionary “purging” of society and mass murder of thousands of imprisoned dissidents. I shudder to imagine how you might have confronted other myriad terrors of the twentieth century.

    1. Rabbi Weiner: You charge me with representing yr views inaccurately, maliciously & with malevolence. Yet you confirm in every particular how I portrayed yr views. You confirmed in yr comment that you expect it will take violence to overthrow the current Iranian regime (which is precisely how I portrayed yr views). The only caveat you added is that you hope it will be a “limited” amt. of violence.

      In addition, last night you claimed with enormous certainty that the Iranian revolution was brought about by violence against the Shah. Yet in yr comment you make no reference to this statement. Are you now backing away fr. this claim?

      I have never heard that there was a “mass murder” of thousands of dissidents after the Revolution. In effect, you’re charging Ayatollah Khomeini with being the Pol Pot or Stalin of Iran. I plan to consult with Iranian-Americans who actually went through the Revolution to confirm my impression that your view is highly inaccurate. No one here is saying that the current regime is fair, balanced or even deserves to remain in power. But what I am saying is that it is up to the Iranian people to decide what to do. And to encourage a violent overthrow of the regime as you do is highly damaging to the Iranian reformers you profess to support.

      Let’s also be clear about something else: this is my blog & so in that sense I exert some editorial control as any newspaper or media outlet does. But to say that it reflects my worldview & mine alone is patently fraudulent. You’re commenting here. Do you represent my worldview? If you are claiming that the posts I write represent my world view & that this is somehow unbalanced, I guess I have to plead guilty. It is my blog. It is not a multi author blog & so doesn’t represent the views of others.

      But I do periodically publish the work of others & if you would like to publish a post here with yr views on Iran I’d welcome it though I would promise you a robust rebuttal. In fact, I will suggest this to Joel Magalnick for the pages of JTNews. A point counterpoint debate bet. us there would be educational & instructive I think.

      1. He might be right about the killing of thousands by the Khomenei government–I’d heard that. The revolution was carried out by religious and also nonreligious elements (lefties), but afterwards Khomenei suppressed the left.

        Here’s a link to a wikipedia article on the Iranian revolution, with references to thousands killed if you scroll down. I don’t have time to look for better articles, but anyway, I’m sure I’ve seen references to this in the NYT and elsewhere.


        I’m not supporting him otherwise, understand.

        1. But no one seems to care how many victims the Shah left behind, do they? Could that possibly be because the Shah was “their guy”, so the people he tortured and murdered and robbed of their lives must by definition be “bad guys”?

          1. The same wikipedia article mentions thousands killed by the Shah, though there’s apparently some controversy (as there often is about such things) about the exact numbers. But yeah, usually people who demonize the Iranian Revolution will try to cover up the Shah’s crimes.

          2. And how precise are the numbers purported for the Khomeini government? And further, how is any of that justification for demonizing the present government?

          3. I suspect, though, it has something to do with the genocide argument. We tend to agree on most things, from what I remember, but now maybe I’m on your sh** list or something. If so, too bad, but it’s not my problem.

          4. Donald, I have no idea what you are talking about. First, why would you automatically infer that by asking a couple of mainly rhetorical questions I was disagreeing with you, or anyone else for that matter? But let’s say I WAS disagreeing with you. Why would you assume that you are on my fecal roster for any reason, let alone that we did not agree on the genocide question. Do you really think that disagreeing with me qualifies a person for a spot on on FR? I assure you that it does not, if only because that would make the list so extensive I would need a special assistant just to keep track of it for me. And do you think I only disagree with people who are on my FR? The reality is that if someone is on that list I rarely will give them the time of day, let alone disagree with them.

          5. Shirin– It was the apparent tone of your questions that had me wondering, but it’s easy to misjudge such things online–it has happened to me before, sometimes as the misjudger and sometimes as the one being misjudged.

          6. Well, my questions were rhetorical, and intended to challenge the standard thinking. And yes, misunderstandings are all too easy in this medium.

    2. 1. Rabbi Weiner’s indignant comment actually confirms your headline, i.e. that he advocates a violent overthrow.

      2. What would he say to those who might apply the same logic to Israel’s control of West Bank + Gaza? Those who think that, in his words, “the current (Israeli Occupation) regime has demonstrated time and again that it will not go gently into that good night “? Emphasize that personally, I (and I assume you too) do *NOT* advocate a violent overthrow of the Occupation dictatorship, but rather prefer to follow strictly nonviolent means. But that Rabbi Weiner’s opinion actually plays into the hands of those who support the Palestinian “armed struggle”.

      Or perhaps he thinks Israel’s control of said territories is democratic? Or perhaps non-existent? Or simply none of his business, being an American rabbi who probably encourages his flock to strengthen their ties with, and support of, that country?

      1. Not trying to avoid anything….just focusing on one issue at a time and still hold down a full time job which precludes constant blogging…in answer to your question…first and foremost, I believe the West Bank and Gaza should never have been under Israeli auspices from the beginning, but that despite all that has happened, the Palestinians fared better than during the years under Jordanian and Egyptian authority (remember Taba…remember Black September!) Be that as it may, it is disingenuous and inaccurate to compare the tyrannical theocracy of Iran to the democratic, pluralistic government of Israel on any measure, inclusive of the territories. Iran lacks any of the reviews, analyses, judgments, soul-searching, military ethics and internal findings favoring the Palestinians that are the normative course in Israel’s deliberations. Unfortunately, as Abba Eban stated years ago, the Palestinians never pass up an opportunity to pass up an opportunity. The scoffed at a state on a silver platter at Camp David in 2000…they were given Gaza by the most right of Israeli governments only to turn it into a point of departure for terrorism that undermined the peace-striving Israeli left…and they would have had most of the West Bank according to Olmert’s stated plans of disengagement if not for the unprovoked attacks of Hezbollah in 2006. Again, I blame the corrupt leadership of Fatah and the intransigent leadership of Hamas for their criminal negligence of the suffering of their own people. If you want a sense of what the people of Gaza truly want, check out this morning’s piece in the Times…http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/world/middleeast/27gaza.html?_r=1&ref=world….hope this is a sufficient if not persuasive response…

        1. it is disingenuous and inaccurate to compare the tyrannical theocracy of Iran to the democratic, pluralistic government of Israel

          Iran is a democracy. A flawed democracy (obviously after the June elections) but it is a democracy. Israel too is a flawed democracy. In fact, it isn’t really a democracy, but an ethnocracy since it offer superior rights to one ethnic group over another. Also, to call Israel “pluralistic” in the sense you do is inaccurate since Israel barely tolerates its minorities (not unlike Iran btw).

          inclusive of the territories.

          Now this is rich. You’re claiming that Palestinian life under Occupation is freer, more democratic and pluralistic than life in Iran? Is that what you really are claiming? I know scores of Palestinians who are actually living life under Occupation who would eagerly dispute you. You, unlike them, know nothing about life under Occupation. Nor do you know anything about life in Iran. I would actually urge you to visit Iran, which despite difficult conditions is open to Americans to visit. In fact, I know an Iranian American who organizes such trips and would consider attempting to include you in a tour. I doubt you’d be willing to do so though. You’d prefer to rail against the Iran than actually visit the country and see it face to face.

          Iran lacks any of the reviews, analyses, judgments, soul-searching, military ethics and internal findings favoring the Palestinians that are the normative course in Israel’s deliberations.

          Ah yes, the IDF is the most moral army in the world, investigates itself, engages in deep soul searching. Really, are you still living in 1967? What country are you talking about? Do you know what’s gone on in Israel since 1967? How can any intelligent Jewish person say the things you have & ignore massacre and mayhem in Lebanon & Gaza (regardless of whatever provocation Israel faced before engaging in these massacres)? Do pls. explain to us what soul searching Israel has engaged in in the aftermath of the Gaza war? Point us to the independent investigatory commission appointed by the gov’t to review the killings of hundreds of unarmed Gaza civilians by the IDF.

          the Palestinians never pass up an opportunity to pass up an opportunity.

          More tired irrelevant propaganda circa 1967. I’m afraid it is Israel, at least as much as the Palestinians, that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

          The scoffed at a state on a silver platter at Camp David in 2000

          Now you’re spouting Ehud Barak’s propaganda about Arafat passing up a Palestinian state at Camp David. Apparently, you haven’t read books of people who were there like Aaron David Miller & Clayton Swisher which present a far diff. picture. The Palestinians scoffed at a deal they couldn’t sell to their own people that didn’t offer a full return to 67 borders.

          they were given Gaza by the most right of Israeli governments

          The Sharon gov’t was by far not “the most right of Israeli governments,” unless you exclude the governments of Yitzchak Shamir & Netanyahu who preceeded him. Not to mention Menachem Begin. The Gaza withdrawal was not a gift to Hamas. Israel left unilaterally making no attempt to negotiate its withdrawal with the Palestinians and getting nothing in return for it. It was one of the stupidest & most disastrous policy blunders the Israelis have ever made. And it’s no wonder that Gazans didn’t see the withdrawal as a peace gesture, but rather as an act of desperation, resignation & defeat on the part of the Sharon gov’t. Peace doesn’t come through unilateral withdrawals. It comes through bilateral negotiations.

          the unprovoked attacks of Hezbollah in 2006

          Let’s examine yet another pro-Israel hasbara meme you offer here. Do you say that hundreds of Hezbollah prisoners in Israeli jails w Israel keeping those prisoners imprisoned indefinitely w/o trial is not grounds for Hezbollah to feel justified in attacking Israel? Would you say that unresolved land disputes between Israel and Lebanon in which Israel held territory that Israel itself conceded was NOT Israeli, was not suitable grounds for Hezbollah to feel justified in attacking Israel? So while I do not justify any act of violence against Israel, to say that the Hezbollah attacks were “unprovoked” shows once again that you have little grasp for some of the subjects on which you expound.

          I blame the corrupt leadership of Fatah and the intransigent leadership of Hamas for their criminal negligence of the suffering of their own people.

          Yes, yes, we know how this song goes, the words place all blame squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians while Israel is white as snow. It’s an old, tired song that most people stopped singing long ago. But you carry on despite everything that has changed since the song was a hit so long ago.

          1. the IDF is the most moral army in the world, investigates itself, engages in deep soul searching.

            Ah yes! The IDF shoots, cries, shoots again, cries again, shoots still more, and cries some more. Israel is the most self-pitying army in the world.

          2. Iran lacks any of the reviews, analyses, judgments, soul-searching, military ethics…

            1. Rabbi, how do you know what Iran lacks and does not lack in that regard. In fact, all you have to go on is assumptions based solely on propaganda that you clearly have not fact-checked.

            2. Given that Iran has almost no need of a military, has not used its military since the ’80’s, and has not been involved in a war of aggression for nearly three centuries, it is difficult to see how “military ethics” are even relevant here. Iran’s military is very small relative to the size and population of the country, and its military budget is minuscule compared to that of the countries that are pretending to quake in fear of the “Iran threat”.

            it is Israel, at least as much as the Palestinians, that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

            It is not only that the above description applies to Israel far more than to the Palestinians. Israel does not merely never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, Israel never misses an opportunity to give the middle finger to an opportunity. As only one example, the Arab League has, for eight years running now, unanimously reaffirmed its official offer to Israel of everything Israel claims it wants – peace, recognition, and full diplomatic and economic relations. All Israel has to do in return is comply with international law by withdrawing from the Occupied Territories, leave the Palestinians free to form their state in the OPT, and come to a mutually-agreed-upon resolution to the refugee problem. For eight years Israel’s response has been a refusal to even consider this most generous offer as a starting point for negotiations. The entire Arab world has offered Israel peace, and more, on a silver platter, and Israel projects its middle finger at the offer. That fact, more than any other, tells us exactly how high a priority Israel really places on peace.

            The Gaza withdrawal was not a gift to Hamas.

            The Gaza withdrawal was also not an end to the occupation, as the hasbarists would have us believe. The fact that the colonies were dismantled and the military withdrawn does not change the fact that Gaza is still occupied territory held under Israeli control.

            I blame the corrupt leadership of Fatah and the intransigent leadership of Hamas blahblahblah…

            Standard blame-the-victims drivel. With all due respect, Rabbi, you forgot to mention how unconscionable it is that the Palestinians force the Israelis to slaughter their children, and destroy their homes, and fields, and businesses, and uproot their olive trees. I mean, how dare they be so cruel to the poor Israelis?

  2. Richard, I continue to question your credibility generally when I see you repeat “facts” that you know are not true.

    In this blog entry, you again state “Jewish federation and StandWithUs spent an extraordinary $150,000 [opposing I-97].” It would have been extraordinary, if that were what was spent.

    I do not know the specific amount that was billed by the consultant and the attorney. SWU never was involved in the actual hiring or direct management of either. But I do know that the total was less than half the $150,000 that you continue to bring up.

    I also know that you’ve been told this before.

    Given that you state you have inside sources, contacts on the Federation executive committee, you might want to check with them before again making statements that you know are not factually accurate.

    1. The $150,000 figure was offered by the anti-I-97 activists at a Jewish community meeting which you probably attended. Someone who was actually at the mtg. not only told me the figure but had notes to prove it. So if you have problems w. the figure take it up with whoever organized the mtg. at which the figure was mentioned.

      If you disagree then do what any reputable political figure would do & document what was spent & tell us how much it was (it’s prob. available through public records). I have a source for my claim. You won’t provide any. You have plenty of inside sources at the federation who can review the files and get you the answer. If you want to be serious rather than grandstand you’ll correct the record in the only way it can be corrected, factually.

    1. There is only one short, general reference in this article from The New Republic to violence being used by Khomeini to bring about the Shah overthrow:

      Khomeini’s revolutionaries used an array of clever tactics to neutralize the armed forces. Successful attacks on the security forces showed that the regime was vulnerable, and often intentionally provoked government reactions that incited more unrest. Khomeini also ordered his followers to embrace the military rank-and-file and bring them to the revolutionaries’ side through fraternization and propaganda.

      Since the author doesn’t specify what he’s referring to it’s hard to know what sort of ‘attacks’ he means. It’s also impossible to know whether such attacks were common or rare. And most important, TNR is known as a publication that is hostile to Arab nations like Iran and I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any claims made in this article. At any rate, the most commonly accepted view of the Revolution is that it was non-violent. And even if there was violence, this is certainly not what brought the victory of Khomeini & his forces.

      Regarding yout link to a photo showing Kurdish rebels being executed after 1979. Your claim was that “hundreds of thousands” were killed after the Revolution. I do not maintain that great injustices were not done after the Revolution. But you came tenuously close to accusing the Khomeini of crimes against humanity. And I know of no sources other than you and the Mujahadeen al Khalq who make such a wild claim. If those are the sorts of people whose views of Iran you share then that tells us a lot.

    1. Dear Rabbi Weiner,

      I am waiting for you to answer my questions above. They were posted on my behalf in the 3rd person via Richard, since I was unable to access the site myself at the time.

      Here’s a recap. Israel’s control of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians is almost universally seen as a dictatorship. As one who had carried out this control on the ground, I wholly agree. Would you agree as well to this characterization? Or perhaps in your view there is no such control, or is it just “temporary”? Or simply none of our business?

      Anyway, this regime has lasted 42+years – 12 years longer than the current Iranian dictatorship (which has replaced a U.S.-backed dictatorship; poor Iranians). Again, most outside observers now believe the Israeli Occupation will not dismantle itself out of free will or via routine negotiations.

      According to your method if applied honestly to Israel-Palestine, the violent overthrow of the Occupation regime is legitimate and even recommended.

      I beg to differ; I would strictly adhere to nonviolence and have been on record on this specific matter countless times.

      But with your relentless advocacy for violence against Iran and the particular arguments you have chosen to justify such violence, you have just dealt a trump card to those who support or tolerate Palestinian violence. Do you understand that?

      Sincerely, Assaf

  3. Colman began his talk by saying that he was no expert on Iranian history, which he then proceeded to expound upon anyway. He claimed the Ayatollahs “hijacked” the Iranian Revolution after 1979.

    While they were at the forefront, that is technically true. The ayatollahs and their ilk were part of a broader anti-Shah coalition that included democratic factions, secular factions, etc. After the Shah was pushed out, the clerical regime pushed these other groups aside and took firm control.

    They have focussed obsessively on “external enemies” like Israel and the U.S., uniting the people against a common foe. Iran today is characterized as a state which “meddles in the affairs of its neighbors.”

    Now that’s the pot calling the kettle black.

    What hawks like him always neglect to mention is that Iran has no bomb, nor a way to weaponize and deliver it. And finally, Iran has never threatened any country except possibly Israel, and even that claim of Iranian threat is dubious.

    The first part is true – they don’t have a bomb, and probably won’t have one for years (assuming they decide to get one). The “delivery” part is half-true – while the Iranians don’t have a delivery mechanism right now, they do have the technology to build one. It’s not that fundamentally different from the technology they used to launch a satellite into orbit.

    I believe that Israelis do not consider the blowback from such an attack because that’s not the way their political/mental processes work. They respond from the gut without taking into account long-term implications for their actions.

    While I wouldn’t generalize that much, that certainly seems true for most of Israel’s political leadership. They don’t seem to really think beyond a year or two into the future, unless it’s planning for a near-future military assault. The result, of course, is that you just get people doing the status quo processes onward and onward.

    Responding to a question from the moderator, he conceded that sanctions would hurt the average Iranian more than the leaders–”but that’s tough medicine,” was all he could muster in response.

    The Iraqis would like to have a word with him about this.

    Tor offered as his own proof of the claim that Ahmadinejad “wants Israel wiped off the face of the map.” The only problem is that this little statement, bandied about by the Netanyahu government and its supporters forever has been mistranslated. The Iranian president said he wanted Israel to “disappear” from the map, which is quite different from the alleged quotation attributed to him.

    For that matter, what’s so shocking about this statement? It’s not as if statements like these weren’t (and aren’t) being bandied around by arab leaders today. Just look at some of the past rhetoric about the “Zionist usurping entity” to get an idea of what I’m talking.

    Seriously, the Israelis have been living in the midst of that type of rhetoric for decades. What’s making them so jumpy about a particular statement?

  4. The hideous cost of hypocrisy & nuclear warheads:

    Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT), 1968, is a treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. To be in compliance with NPT, we need to stop hypocrisy and eliminate the nuclear warheads in possession of the following nations:

    Nuclear Warheads 2009
    US: 9552
    Russia: 12987
    UK: 192
    China: 176
    France: 300
    India: 75
    Pakistan: 90
    Israel: 200
    North Korea: 2

    http://thebulletin.metapress.com/home/main.mpx“>BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, GUARDIAN/DEFENCE ESTIMATES

    Iran singed the NPT. Under this treaty Iran has the rights to enrich uranium, use nuclear byproducts for research, medicine, agriculture and produce nuclear electric power. There is no dispute that Iran is already a nuclear state. The states with this capacity are many; among them are Japan and Germany. Iran does not have any nuclear weapons and according to IAEA is in compliance with the terms of the treaty.

    Under NPT, Iran is able to produce fuel for nuclear energy production. Iran has already informed IAEA about construction of the facility at Qom for enrichment of nuclear fuel. But Iran should show and be in compliance with IAEA requirements for NPT.

    I suggest the following three steps to eliminate potential for violation of NPT by Iran and developing nuclear weapon in the future:

    1. Nuclear Fuel Cycle Iranian Consortium:
    USA should join the consortium among others Japan, Germany, France and England to actively monitor the Iranian fuel cycle activity too. IAEA has consistently asserted that the agency could not find any indications that Iran is diverting the fuel cycle for nuclear bomb development. Iran has asserted that their activities are limited to development of fuel for nuclear reactor.

    2. Nuclear Shield
    An international nuclear shield for all nations in the Middle East, including Iran, from nuclear bomb states;

    3. A nuclear- bomb-free Middle East
    This action will remove any pressure from Iran to develop nuclear bomb in the future for deterrence against nuclear bomb Israeli state.

    President Harry Truman in 1946 gave this statement about nuclear bomb:

    “It is a terrible weapon, and it should not be used on innocent men, women and children who have nothing whatever to do with this military aggression. That happens when it is used.”He was referring to using the bomb on Japan.

    I support President Obama’s quest for reduction of the nuclear warheads in USA and Russia. However, The treaty requires that the members give up their rights to have nuclear weapons for defense; those who had nuclear weapons and had signed the NPT had agreed to eliminate their nuclear weapons. China, England, France, Russia, and USA had singed the NPT treaty. All these nations are in violation of the NPT.

    Among the 189 countries party to the treaty, five nations have nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China and France (also permanent members of the UN Security Council).

  5. Richard,
    The aggregate of the articles I’ve cited indisputably attest to both the Shah’s regime and the Khomeini revolution as bloody and detestable. And if you are arguing that life in a medieval theocracy is better than a puppet dictatorship, than you have revealed your own idiosyncratic biases. I would also direct you to recent coverage of conservative revolutionary-turned-reformist-leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has spoken publicly condemning the current regime as “worse than the Shah.” Why you insist on defending the sovereignty of murderers, rapists and religious obscurantists, I’ll never know!

    1. Dear Rabbi Weiner,

      Much as I adore your petty squabble with Richard over “which dictatorship is worse, the current Iranian one or the former” and also “who is more ignorant about Iran – you or me?”

      I wonder whether you’d take the time to respond to my question.

      In my view, any Rabbi who is silent or complicit about the oppression of Palestinians under occupation, has very little moral footings to stand on while sermonizing about other wrongs in the Middle East.

      It seems you are avoiding the issue.

    2. The aggregate of the articles I’ve cited indisputably attest to both the Shah’s regime and the Khomeini revolution as bloody and detestable.

      Until this comment you just published you hadn’t said a word about the Shah & your high moral dudgeon seemed reserved only for the Iranian Revolution. At least you concede there was evil that preceed it. Though of course you haven’t connected the two in a way that shows that the bloodiness of the Shah’s regime led directly to the bloodiness of the Revolution.

      Second, you didn’t just call the Iranian regime “bloody & detestable” which is a phrase I would generally accept unless it was being used in the form you are to justify war against it. You called the regime one of the greatest evils of our generation and said Iranians were “enslaved by unqualified evil.” The term’s “detestable” & “unqualified evil” are quite different.

      I find it interesting that you’re attempting to argue that the Shah’s rule was superior to the current government. The only Iranians who share this view are the monarchists. Are you one? I also find it interesting that you, living here in Seattle, knowing very little about Iran as a country, its culture, language or even religion have decided it is a “medieval theocracy” when Iranians I know, all of whom dislike the Islamic Republic immensely and wish to see it replaced, heartily disagree with you. One think I strongly urge is that you attempt to use a bit of nuance in yr judgments & language. It is very easy to get into high moral dudgeon and speak in slogans rather than depict reality.

      Mehdi Karroubi, who has spoken publicly condemning the current regime as “worse than the Shah.”

      Yet even someone who says the current regime is worse than the Shah does NOT support its violent overthrow as you do. In fact, he hasn’t even attempted to engage a mass movement to overthrow the regime through non-violent means (at least not yet). That’s a bit inconvenient for yr argument isn’t it? Or would you prefer that Karroubi attempt such an overthrow violently or not, begin a civil war and have Iranians by their tens of thousands slaughtered on both sides. Would that satisfy you? I’m continually amazed at how good “liberals” like you can propound arguments that might get others killed w/o even realizing the implications of yr overblown rhetoric.

      Since you expounded upon the religious philosophy of the Iranian clerics, can you tell me what you know about Iranian Islam? What gives you the special expertise to label it “medieval theocracy” or religious obscurantism?” Have you taken any course or read any primary texts in the field of Iranian religious beliefs or practices? Or do you learn this from anti-jihadi press releases and websites?

      I am not so much “defending” the ayatollahs as pointing out the gross misrepresentations and distortions of yr own pt of view.

    3. life in a medieval theocracy

      Rabbi Weiner, how much time have you spent in Iran? None would be my guess. Oddly enough, no one I know who has spent time there would ever describe it as a “medieval theocracy” or anything close to that, and I myself certainly would not.

      I am afraid you have drunk too much of the Kool Aid served up by the anti-Iran cult, and it has interfered with what must otherwise be a very good mind.

  6. Rabbi Weiner, regarding the occupied territories, nice job blaming the Palestinian victims—pretty unseemly for a spiritual leader to stoop so low. I suppose concerning the 300 Palestinian children slaughtered by the IDF, it was their fault, they had it coming, right?

    I’m just curious, do you see anything in your mandate and calling as a rabbi beyond tribal cheerleading and ethnic nationalism, because I frankly don’t get the sense you embrace the whole of humanity beyond your own people? Granted, I come from a different faith tradition, but my understanding has always been that a spiritual leader is compelled to speak to the universal when it comes to peace, justice, understanding, and the like.

    You provide no indication that you have any sort universalist framework of looking at the world, which I always thought was at least implicit in the major world religions as well as stemming from the Enlightenment tradition.

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