Israeli Deputy Prime Minister: Arab Democracy Threatens Israel
Deputy Israeli prime minister Silvan Shalom made a telling comment in an Israel Radio interview that was captured in Al Ahram (Google cached version) during the Tunisian revolution:
“I fear that we now stand before a new and very critical phase in the Arab world. If the current Tunisian regime collapses, it will not affect Israel’s present national security in a significant way,” he said. “But we can, however, assume that these developments would set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system.”
Shalom added that if regimes neighbouring the Israeli state were replaced by democratic systems, Israeli national security might significantly be threatened. The new systems would defend or adopt agendas that are inherently opposed to Israeli national security, he said.
The deputy indicated that Israel and most of the Arab regimes have a common interest in fighting what he referred to as “Islamic fundamentalism” and its “radical” organisations which threaten Israel.
This threat, he added, is the reason behind much of the direct and indirect intelligence and security coördination between Israel and the Arab regimes.
Shalom emphasised that a democratic Arab world would end this present allegiance, because a democratic system would be governed by a public generally opposed to Israel.
You can gussy this view up in many ways that explain Israel’s concerns, but when it comes down to it Israel fears the Arab street and Arab democracy. Yes, it’s true that Arab democracies would hold harsher views concerning Israel than the current autocrat rulers. Though this isn’t necessarily so in the case of a Muslim democracy like Turkey which, until its citizens were murdered en masse in the Flotilla, actually had constructive relations with Israel.
All that aside, the issue goes beyond what Shalom said, as I wrote last night. Arab democracy threatens Israel especially because it is outside Israel’s control. It cannot be bought and dominated militarily or diplomatically. A democracy represents the interests of the majority and not those of the élite. Israel needs lackeys and strong men. It needs the go-to guy it can do deals with. Having to negotiate its way through the cross-currents and multiple sets of interests at work in the typical democracy has to be bewildering, even frightening to Israel’s leaders. If Mubarak goes then there are big changes in store…for Egypt and Israel.
The Nation is reporting that Mubarak’s son, long considered the heir to the Egyptian throne, er presidency, has fled the country for London, along with the ruler’s daughters and even his wife. Given the dynasticism of Arab regimes and family closeness and solidarity in Arab culture, an eldest son’s desertion of his father has to be big blow to Hosni Mubarak. This too is a development every Egyptian will take note of. This could be the beginning of the end for Mubarak. But the question is who and what will take his place. Will it be a loyalist like Suleiman who will be a slightly different face pinned on the same body? Or will Suleiman be content to be a caretaker for new, truly free elections and a new government?
What role will the Muslim Brotherhood play? Is there a possible path that integrates an Islamist vision with a democratic one? In a country that has suffered decades, if not longer, of unalloyed despotism?
Finally, Israel will have to get used to living in a region that is even less hospitable to its policies than it was before. It will have to negotiate a dense thicket of national interests none of which will be obsequious toward it. Welcome to a brave new world, Mr. Netanyahu. Good luck.
One thing especially frightening to Israel is the potential Islamist nature of the incoming governments. For Israel, Islamism is a synonym for terror. Most reasonable observers know this isn’t true. Another thing Israel fears is that it may become as much an obstacle to regional development as the octogenarian strongmen whose rule is being toppled in Tunisia and Egypt. Israel has identified itself so closely with the oligarchs that the new rulers, whoever they may be, may (probably will) see Israel as an extension of them. That’s why I’ve argued that a course correction in Israeli policy has been long overdue.
It’s worth quoting Gideon Levy, as usual eloquent on the subject of Middle Eastern tyranny:
The people of Egypt had their say, and had the nerve not to fall in line with Israeli wishes. A moment before Mubarak’s fate is sealed, the time has come for drawing the Israeli conclusions.
Not a plague of darkness in Egypt but the light of the Nile: the end of a regime propped up by bayonets is foretold. It can go on for years, and the downfall sometimes comes at the least expected time, but in the end it will happen. Not only Damascus and Amman, Tripoli and Rabat, Tehran and Pyongyang: Ramallah and Gaza are also destined to be shaken.
The hypocritical and sanctimonious division of countries by the U.S. and the West between the “axis of evil” on the one hand, and the “moderates” on the other, has collapsed. If there is an axis of evil, then it includes all the non-democratic regimes, including the “moderates” and the “stable” and the “pro-Western.” Today Egypt, tomorrow Palestine. Yesterday Tunis, tomorrow Gaza.
Not only is the Fatah regime in Ramallah and the Hamas regime in Gaza destined to fall, but perhaps also, one day, the Israeli occupation, which certainly meets all the criteria of criminal tyranny and an evil regime. It too relies only on guns. It too is hated by all levels of the ruled people, even if they stand helpless, unorganized and unequipped, facing a big army. The first conclusion: Better to end it well, with agreements based on justice and not on power, a moment before the masses have their say and succeed in banishing the darkness.
A second, no less important conclusion: Alliances with unpopular regimes can be torn up overnight. As long as the masses in Egypt and in the entire Arab world continue seeing the images of tyranny and violence from the occupied territories, Israel will not be able to be accepted, even it is acceptable to a few regimes.
The Egyptian regime became an ally of the Israeli occupation. The joint siege of Gaza is irrefutable proof of that. The Egyptian people didn’t like it. They never liked the peace agreement with Israel, in which Israel committed itself to “respect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” but never kept its word. Instead, the people of Egypt got the scenes of Operation Cast Lead.
It is not enough to have a handful of embassies in order to be accepted in the region. There also have to be embassies of goodwill, a just image and a state that is not an occupier. Israel has to make its way into the hearts of the Arab peoples, who will never agree to the continued repression of their brothers, even if their intelligence ministers will continue to cooperate with Israel.
A real alliance with Egypt and its sister-states can only be based on the end of the occupation, as desired by the Egyptian people, and not on a common enemy, as an interest of its regime.
A comparison between the impact of Islamism and Jewish extremism is also warranted. Israel itself has done the same as what these new potentially Islamist-oriented regimes may. It has focussed on the sectarian Jewish nature of its state to the exclusion of its non-Jewish citizens. It has fueled the cries of racism from its Palestinian citizens and Jewish peace activists alike. For many Muslims, unfortunately, Judaism has become synonymous with terror, as they see Israelis like Meir Dagan kill Muslims while invoking the name of the “Jewish people.” Can Israel truly blame the Muslims of the Middle East for doing what the “Jewish State” itself has done? What we truly need in the Middle East is democracy that focuses on the political interests of each nation to the exclusion of religious sectarianism. Mixing religion and politics is deeply toxic whether it happens in Israel or Iran.
37 thoughts on “Israeli Deputy Prime Minister: Arab Democracy Threatens Israel – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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i am not a supporter of Silvan Shalom,
however he never stated any of what Al Ahram attributed to him, and what you now claim he did.
Silvan Shalom has a website and any interview he gives is uploaded into the site and from there to You Tube.
if you want to see the interview in youtube
if you want to watch it on his website:
check the dates they were given 2 weeks ago on Jan 16.
he stated that if the radical elements will take over Tunisia that will influence cooperation between governments. and that everything possible should be done to ensure that Tunisia will retain it’s moderate approach towards the west, Israel (time marker 30) included. never said a word about the democratization of the Arab countries.
the speed at which you will publish any rumor that paints the Israeli state in very bad colors, without conducting a minimal due diligence required from anyone who attempts to influence the public opinion is troubling.
This isn’t the same thing as what Al Ahram quoted. You’ve presented us a canned video interview Shalom recorded in his office by his own staff. This isn’t the interview he offered to Israel radio and which was reported in Al Ahram. In fact, Der Spiegel refers directly to the radio interview & quotes from it (it was given on Jan. 14th, not Jan. 16th the date you indicate the You Tube video was shot). Der Spiegel doesn’t refer at all to the Al Ahram piece so it’s probably quoting directly from the radio interview & not fr. Al Ahram’s translation of it.
The Al Ahram version has been widely reported by reputable sites. I wasn’t the first to do so. But if you can find the actual on air interview he gave & it supports what you say, then I will correct what I wrote. You haven’t done that yet.
I did more then that, i called The minister’s office in tel-aviv
011-972-3-6955669 and Hagar who answered the phone stated that Minister Shalom never gave an interview to the israeli Radio on the 14th. and never stated what you attribute to him.
he his schedule to give an interview tonight at 8:30 PM at 90 FM.
so i think it’s you who need to provide the link to the Radio interview.
That’s not fair. Before I even published my post I asked a trusted Israeli source to help me find the radio audio & s/he couldn’t. I’ve provided you 2 reputable foreign media sources that confirm he said what he said. If you think I trust a Shalom low-level media flack earning minimum wage more than Der Spiegel you’re mistaken. They didn’t make it up.
So I’m going to trust my sources & be interested if you can come up w. the audio, which I’d like to hear too.
I answered to IlanP’s on another file, and as I tried to post the Shalom-article from al-Ahram, I realized the connection to al-ahram is cut off. So your link doesn’t work either.
Anyhow, with or without Silvan Shalom, we don’t need a Master degree in political science to understand that democracy in the Arab world is bad, very bad, to Israel.
I’m not sure the new Tunisian government will continue to buy weapons from Israel.
Unfortunately for the Jewish community in Tunisia, the Grand Rabbin of Tunis has been a hard-core supporter of Ben Ali, and has publicly encouraged Tunisian Jews to vote for him in those fake elections, accusing some of the others legal political parties of being “anti-semitic” (of course linking it to the Palestinian question). The pro-Ben Ali standpoint is not different from any other religious authorities, Muslim or Christian, and I hope with all my heart that the very ancient Jewish community (mainly indigenous Berbers) in Tunisia will not leave or feel threatened.
By the way Silvan Shalom is a Tunisian Jew.
What do you mean its not fair ? there is an old saying in hebrew (המביא דברים בשם אומרם מביא גאולה לעולם)
no one can find that such an interview took place, not Kol Israel, not Silvan’s office. no one.
you claim he said that, please provide the proof. it’s a very legitimate request i think. or at least edit your title and say that it is based on foreign non confirmed sources.
@ Deir Yassin, Richards link is based on google’s cache which means that google copied the original info to their servers, cache is always available (including a sec ago)
I didn’t claim he said it. I reported a claim made by generally reputable media sources. When I make a claim based on my own source I can verify that. When I report what another media outlet has said I’m doing just that & nothing more. So I’ve done the best I can at verifying this. I urge you to contact Kol Yisrael & Shalom’s office & ask them to issue a denial. If they don’t then I think the onus is on them to explain why they reject the claim that he made the statements but refuse to deny that publicly.
I will never say about Der Spiegel that it issued a story based on unconfirmed sources since Der Spiegel is a reliable media source. BTW, I might add that the Israel media issue claims based on completely unsourced information regularly. Would you describe every single story that you reported on fr. Israel using those precise terms?
I am not a supporter of Silvan Shalom, but silvan shalom never stated any of what Al-Haram and now you claim he said.
Silven Shalom has a website, and any interview he gives his uploaded to his website and from there to youtube.
so for the youtube video of his interview given on Jan 16
his site http://www.silvan-shalom.co.il/
too me about 2 minutes to find the interview using google and about 30 minutes to translate to English
” Situation in Tunisia is complex and reason for concern; we are monitoring it these days.
Our wish is that Tunisia will retain its Liberal Approach towards the west and Israel, and any possible action should be taken to prevent the Islamic groups from taking over.
I have visited Tunisia 5 years ago, as the head of a delegation of a large group of ministers, MK members, business man and news reporters, we arrived in a direct flight from Israel flying an Israeli airplane, and I met the overthrown president Ben Ali, my wife met his wife, and we talked about the possibility of further developing the relationship (between our countries)
The fact that many Israelis and Jews arrive in Tunisia is a sign of the openness and the approach of the Tunisian regime towards the Jews, and we need to do everything to ensure the safety of the local Tunisian Jewish Community, who until now enjoyed a great deal of freedom and the opportunity to freely and openly practice their faith.
We must know that the recent events in Tunisia are an indication that our region is unstable, and because the region is unstable we need to ensure that security measures will be a part of any future agreement, we see the lack of security (stability) in Tunisia, in Lebanon, in Sudan, which by the way has nothing to do with the Israeli-Arab, Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is the opposite of the claim which was told by many who stated that the middle east is an unstable place only due to the conflict of Israel and the Arab world. The Arab world has its own set of issues but Israel would have to ensure in any future peace agreement its own safety as a key point prior to moving ahead with the process.”
the speed at which you will publish any piece of information true or not which paints israel in very bad colors without preforming the minimum due diligence required from someone who wants to influence public opinion is troubling.
[comment deleted for major comment rule violation–READ THE RULES if you intend to continue commenting here]
I don’t understand. Why do you post the same statement – more or less – twice. Is that a new way of trolling ?
I’m so sorry i didn’t approve my post with you before posting.
i promise i will do better in the future.
it was a mistake, Richard was notified in an email few min after it happened (way before you posted your snark) , and if you wish to be included in the loop please provide me your email address.
I can confirm IlanP’s translation. The original, false translation is so wildly different than what Silvan actually said. Silvan doesn’t even utter the word “Democracy”, nor does he refer to the possible Democratization of the Arab world. It’s as though someone invented an entirely different interview with him.
Again, you’re talking about 2 diff. interviews. I listened to the video. There’s a simple reason why the video doesn’t reflect the quotes fr. Al Ahram & Der Spiegel. They’re DIFFERENT INTERVIEWS. Pls. don’t be dense & find the audio of the actual Kol Yisrael interview & then we can debate this properly & I can publish a full translation.
Other prominent Israelis have expressed the same worries about a democratization of the Arab world.
“The Jewish state has faith that the security apparatus of it’s most formidable Arab neighbour, Egypt, can suppress the demonstrations that threathen the dictatorial rule of President Hosni Mubarak” and “democracies make better neighbours, because democracies do not initiate wars [???] (but) I’m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the democratic process”:
Reminds me of Israel never thinking it’s the right time for a peace agreement.
Haaretz, stating former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, Eli Shaked:
” …it’s in Israel’s interest for Mubarak’s regime to survive since the alternatives, ranging from an Islamic government to the secular opposition, would be far less friendly to the Jewish state”:
1. Please note that the NYT source is anonymous and refused to reveal itself. that can be anyone, from the report itself who fabricated the story (Jason Blair anyone?)
2. You omitted (deliberate or just a Freudian slip ?) the important part of what Eli Shaked stated:
Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, said it is in Israel’s interest for Mubarak’s regime to survive since the alternatives, ranging from an Islamic government to the secular opposition, would be far less friendly to the Jewish state, “I am very much afraid that that they wouldn’t be as committed to peace with Israel, and that would be bad for Egypt, bad for Israel and bad for the U.S. and the West in general,” he said.
assurance that the new regime (if it comes to that) will be as committed to the peace process should come from the new regime. Israeli’s have a point to be concerned about, and it doesn’t reflects on our opinions about democracy. truth is that there is no real democracy anywhere in the Arab world (not even in the US considering the stealing of the sit by Gorge W)
Please note that it’s not NYT. And yes it could be be made up. It’s up to everyone to judge whether they want to believe The Time, not really a pro-palestinian propaganda magazine.
And NO, I didn’t omit anything neither deliberate (I’ll leave that to you) neither by Freudian slip.
I only reproduced what I found essential, and left a link.
The line that you added: “I’m very much afraid that they wouldn’t be as committed to peace with Israel, and that would be bad for Egypt, bad for Israel, and bad for the US and the West, in general” is just plain Hasbara. First of all, we know that Israel doesn’t give a sh.. about what’s good for Egypt, secondly, that “committed to peace” means “do whatever the Israelis want them to do through American economic blackmailing” and last, the usual crap trying to convince the West that Israeli and Western interests are the same.
But thank you for giving me the occasion to state a few further points.
@ Deir Yassin
Ok let’s see
We have 3 articles
One was published in Al-Haram on Jan 16th (Sunday, the day that sylvan shalom posted an interview on his website) the source is their reporter in Gaza Saleh Naami who reported that in Saturday Jan 15th. Provided no link to the Interview.
Then we have another article at Dr. Shpigel on the 25th which claims the interview was given on the 14th. Again provided no link to the interview
Then we have the NYT article written on the 28th from anonymous sources.
Silvan’s office who I called, and the radio archive which I contacted said no interview took place on the 14th. I contacted the Dr. Shpigel reporters who didn’t respond just yet, you can do the same, and asked them to provide the source for their article.
To me it seems that both Dr-Shpigel and NYT used the article at al-haram as the base for their story, and that source well…took it out of context at best.
As for the rest of your allegations and assertions – a good laugh is always appreciated –
Seems to me that you think that the best interest of Egypt is straying away from the peace agreement it signed in 1978. This is Israel’s only concern. The type of regime the Egyptians would choose is their issue, and as Obama stated in his Cairo speech, there are example of people who used the democratic process and then implemented further oppression on their people, such an example is Iran, Algiers and others.
so based on the history of the Arab world, israel has a very good reason to be concerned both for the future of the Egyptian people and for the sake of the peace agreement.
Once again: it’s NOT NYT, but ‘the Time’. Two different media.
Secondly: it’s NOT al-Haram, but al-Ahram (‘pyramids’)
Thirdly: when I read Dr-Shpigel, my first reaction was “what doctor is he talking about ?’. It’s ‘Der Spiegel’ or ‘Spiegel’.
You’re as careful when you write names as when you read, and put Fatwas on others.
You’ve already told in another comment that you called Shalom’s office. ‘Mabrûk-alîk’. I’m not looking for his autographe.
I didn’t address the Spiegel/al-Ahram/Silvan Shalom-interview in this post, so why do you addrees it here ? You’ve already made a double comment elsewhere.
We all know what it means when “Israel is concerned for the future of the Egyptian people”. Just leave them sort out their own affairs.
Your “There are examples of people who used the democratic process, and then implemented further oppression on THEIR people, such an example is Iran, Algiers [Algeria] and others”. Yes, and then we have people like the Israelis who used the democratic process and then implemented further oppression on OTHER people.
If you google Israel +democracy in the Arab world or something similar, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of articles. I just took the first two by reliable sources, ‘The Time’ and ‘Haaretz’, that you forgot to mention. I guess the statement Eli Shaked is invented by Haaretz too.
In fact, Israel is just longing to see democratic regimes, preferably secular ones, so they can’t spin their “al-Qaïda-Islamist/want-to-drive-the-Jews-into-the-sea/Clash-of-Civilizations/Only-Democracy-in-the-MO”-Hasbara any longer.
@ Deir Yassin
the notion around the world used to be that the lack of agreement between Israel and the Palestinians caused unrest in the Arab world.
in the last two weeks we had witnessed that actually Israel claim that the unrest in the Arab world has nothing to do with Israel was right.
now your notion is that the Israeli concern to the well being of the Arab people in various Arab countries is what causes the recent unrest.
such a small country Israel is, with such a huge influence over the Arab world.
it’s about time Arabs will deal with Arab future and not with Israel’s future.
“Now your notion is that the Israeli concern to the well being of the Arab peoples in various Arab countries is what causes the recent unrest”
Listen Ilan, I STOP discussing with you. It’s really not worth it. I don’t know whether you’re deliberately manipulating or if you really have problems concerning your comprehension skills.
Others, ummm, like Israel?
This smells of rank ignorance, generalization & prejudice. What do you know about the history of the Arab world other than vaguely supported notions of tribalism, untrustworthiness & primitiveness? Is that what you base your “knowledge” on? Or have you read widely, studied, published or done anything to deserve being considered well informed on the subject?
Also, there are readers here who actually know Arabic, so you make mistakes (as in calling Al-Ahram Al-Haram) at your peril.
@ Deir Yassin
what happened ? you can’t fact the truth ?
i asked you below if you think that its in Egypt best interest to retain the peace agreement it signed with Israel. You didn’t even answer, your presentation is such that you blame Israel in any bad thing that happen in the Arab world. and when you are being called upon it you are being offended.
maybe if you were not so interested in winning a debate and showing me who’s right and who’s wrong, maybe then you would have been able to actually communicate in a coherent way. And just FYI i didn’t manipulate anything, this is really the way you come across.
one of my instructors once told me that there are no bad students, only bad instructors, he stated that if a student doesn’t understand then the instructor didn’t explain.
you come across as someone who’s driven by hate. it is reflected in your opinions, as you write them. if i am wrong please tell me how so, it is your obligation as the instructor.
the only reason i write this, is because this is a very good example to the relationship of our countries. i think that both of us have the obligation to clear our intentions to the other side, you and I failed to do so over a very short period of time. i do not think that we should expect any other results from those who present us.
This is simply unacceptable, IlanP. I will not allow you to make such statements. Please do not put me in the position of having to warn you about this as a comment rule violation. YOu already know this as I’ve told you before. This is simply not true, flying in the face of everything I know about Deir Yassin & I will not allow such sentiments here.
i think you are taking my statement the wrong way,
i said that this is what it appears to be and i was asking for clarifications. i said “if i am wrong please tell me how so” i didn’t say that that’s what it was.
please keep in mind that sometimes i translate from hebrew to english and it may sound a bit awkward. in any way i didn’t mean to offend her or to score any points and if that is the way it came across i do apologize.
The truth is that you don’t know what the truth is, you don’t know or understand the “Arab world,” and would be better off doing considerable more reading & listening before making such erroneous generalizations. Turkey, a Muslim though not Arab country, is a democracy. Lebanon’s government is imperfect, but also a democracy. Even Iran has had elections, has a representative elected parliament. Of course the most recent elections were disputed but many observers feel the designated victor actually did win. But even if you leave Iran aside, yr statement is dead wrong.
I’d say there’s as much democracy in Israel as there is in Turkey.
if i were you i would read the statement an Iranian guy wrote to you regarding the green movement and the results of the last election in Iran.
turkey isn’t part of the Arab world as you correctly stated. and that is the reason i didn’t include it.
if all you can come with is lebanon and iran as examples of democracies in the arab world, either you are being naive or you aren’t familiar with the term democracy.
and both Turkey and Israel are not as great democracies as the US is. to the best of my knowledge neither in Israel nor turkey someone stole the elections the way Bush jr. did in 2004.
Umm, no corruption in Israeli politics or elections? Then why have the last how many prime ministers been accused or corruption? Bush didn’t steal the election corruptly. He stole it fair & square (I use the term ironically) using & exploiting the political system. In Israel they steal elections, secure cabinet appointments, pass laws, etc. any way they can. It’s all up for grabs. A price on just about everything.
Since when has Iran become part of the Arab world? Last I heard they were still Persians, not Arabs. Muslim, yes. But not Arabs. And democracy? I know it when I see it, and don’t see any in the the Middle East. Less and less in the West. The tendency is to fascism, everywhere.
First, it’s “Time Magazine,” not the NY Times. Second, the reason the source is anonymous is because ISRAEL rarely allows cabinet ministers to speak on the record esp. about sensitive subjects. So the anonymity in this case is not Time’s fault, but yr own government’s. But the reporter clearly notes the source is a cabinet minister. You can doubt the authenticity all you like, but Time is one of America’s most reputable publications. I don’t.
re this statement: “Mixing religion and politics is deeply toxic whether it happens in Israel or Iran.””
Not an accurate comparison at all. Iran is not using religious justifications to absolve itself from killing people of another religious perspective; Israel is doing that.
Iran is Islamic like US was deeply Christian in an earlier era in US development. Iran will always be Islamic; it is not now theocratic it is Islamic — as a system of laws and values.
You do yourself and your credibility a disservice when you miss these obvious distinctions, Richard.
The seeming compulsion to have a scapegoat to beat up on — the function Iran serves at the moment — speaks to something deeper in the Israeli psyche than a mere political rearrangement among Israel’s neighbors. The score is coming closer to 200 million vs 6 million: Israel thought it could keep the balance in its favor by force of arms and bribery.
Such an easy lesson to learn — and cheaper in the long run: play fair. don’t kill people. don’t steal from them. don’t try to tell them how to run their lives. mind your own business — honestly.
It’s not that hard.
Iran not using religious justifications? What do u call it when enemirs of the regime are labelled ‘enemies of God’& the like? Are these secular term?
Iran not using religious justifications for its killing? What do u call it when enemies of the regime are labelled ‘enemies of God’ & the like? Are these secular terms?
Learn a little about U.S. history pls. before you make such errors. The Founding Fathers of this country were tolerant, humble believers in a Christianity whose nature was totally diff. than the Islam espoused by the Ayatollahs. Their Christian faith told them it was critical to separate Church & State, that it was critical that there be no state religion, & that all religions be treated equally. Does the Islamic Republic believe any of those things? Of course not. Look at the suffering of the Iranian Bahais for one.
What are the values? Kill whoever disagrees with you? Hang Dutch-Iranian mothers for demonstrating for freedom? Not theocratic? Puh-leeze neither you nor what you claim remotely passes the smell test.
I completely oppose the demonization of Iran and any attack upon it. But I’m not a fool regarding the nature of the Iranian regime.
You have an ink-in-the-milk problem, Richard: You perceive every Iranian government leader to be a religious fundamentalist and every manifestation of Iranian behavior to have a religious connotation. You are applying particular manifestations to the general society and culture; it’s inaccurate and gives a distorted version of Iranian character and society.
Every day that the United States Congress convenes, an ordained minister/priest of either a (mostly) Christian/Catholic denomination or a Jewish person (never an atheist, rarely a Muslim, very rarely a Hindu or Bahai), opens the Congressional session with a prayer “to god.” Then they recite the Pledge of Allegiance: “one nation under god.” Does that mean that always and everywhere and in every way Americans “justify” their existence on a theocratic basis?
You’re on thin ice on the “killing in the name of god.” The State of Texas kills more people, by state decree, than does Iran. Should we seek to overthrow the government of Texas? Israel kills far more people IN THE NAME OF THE MYTHOLOGY OF ZIONISM than Iran OR Texas. Iran carries out state executions in punishment for declared crimes against the state, as the state defines those crimes, as the people know they are crimes, and after due process — tune in to Charlie Rose’s interview w/ Larijani a few months ago — state executions are rare, are exacted for crimes of which the accused is informed, and are carried out after due process.
In contrast, Israel kills people for the “crime” of being Arab (and US drops bombs on Afghanis for the crime of being in the same country as someone who plotted a crime 10 years ago).
Whose regime should we seek to overthrow: United States, Texas, Iran, or Israel?
Not so. I brought evidence of theocratic attitudes on the part of the mullahs which dispute yr claim that Iran is a benign Islamist state akin to America at the time of the Founding Fathers. Not only that, Iranians I know describe the regime precisely the same way. These are people who at one time supported the regime. Compared to them you are a rank, non-Iranian amateur. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about regarding the Islamic Republic.
Congress may recite a prayer, but we don’t throw Bahais in prison or kill members of other faiths or even members of splinter groups of Christianity as the Islamic Republic does.
You’re comparing apples to oranges. The State of Texas does not execute people because of their religion as Iran has done. And there is a movement within the U.S. to do away with capital punishment which will eventually succeed. Such a movement would never succeed with the current Iranian regime.
This is a outright lie. The Dutch-Iranian woman who was hung 2 days ago was executed before her appeal had been heard as is required under Iranian law. YOu will either take back this lie or your future comments will be moderated for this egregious violation of comment rules.
This passage so flies in the face of reality, is such a pure piece of pro-mullah propaganda that it does not belong in this blog and you will not publish such crap here in future. One of my comment rules requires truth & facts, not lies & distortions. If your interest is in the latter then go peddle it elsewhere.
Richard, you have the power here and can obliterate my comment if you want; such a gesture would say more about you thaan about me, but to call me a liar then say, in effect, unless you admit you lied, you may not defend your statement, is absurd.
I’m not aware of the circumstances of the Dutch Iranian woman. It appears it was, indeed, a miscarriage of justice. (I googled it — see below)
In Texas, a man was executed in a case in which justice was not served as well. Do you issue the same blanket (ink-in-the-milk) condemnation of Texas, because in Texas the law was not properly upheld? How many other Americans have been wrongly executed?
You wrote that “Iran has executed people because of their religion.” Can you support the claim? The Dutch woman was accused of drug smuggling.
You say that “there is a movement within the U.S. to do away with capital punishment which will eventually succeed. Such a movement would never succeed with the current Iranian regime.”
It appears that the US has been attempting to “do away with capital punishment” actively, since at least 1972. How much longer do you suppose the movement will take? And how can you conclusively declare that thirty-five years from now “the current Iranian regime” WILL do away with capital punishment, or that the US will not still be “moving” to do away with capital punishment” 35 years from now?
Your sharp reply did not address the facts that Israel routinely imprisons and yes, kills, people, extrajudicially, for the crime of sleeping while Arab, or peacefully protesting while Arab. Are you going to accuse me of distorting those facts as well?
My reply may have failed to adequately articulate the nature of Islamic form of government that I believe characterizes the IRI. It is Islamic. It is not zionist and it is not western/Christian in world view. It is likely it will always — or for the foreseeable future — remain Islamic. I would add that Iranian Islamic expression is different from the Islam practiced in other Islamic countries — Zoroastrianism still infuses Iranian culture: I know this because I have been to Iran, I have visited Yazd, ancient seat of Zoastrianism. I have seen the Zoroastrian symbols that mark every imaginable surface in Iran, from bedposts to taxi cabs to doorways. I have been in shrines from Mashad (very conservative) to Isfehan (quite liberal), as well as the Armenian Catholic church in Isfehan. I have visited madrassas in Shiraz and spoken with clerical students who explained how they are required to master economics, government, languages, histories of their own and western cultures, as well as the religious precepts around which Iran’s Islamic-inflected secular government is structured. Ahmadinejad is NOT a cleric, he’s an engineer; likewise, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, is not a cleric, he is a multi-llingual PhD in political science.
I have visited Qom — Islam’s Vatican, where I was accompanied by a professor of Islamic studies from Baylor University as we interviewed professors of Islamic law and practice — surely you are aware that Islam is not doctrinal, like Catholicism, but interpretive, like Judaism; several years ago, a rabbi from New York participated in a conference on the interstices between Judaic and Islamic law.
You’re quite right, I do rank as an amateur: I admire Iranian culture and know far less than I wish I did; no, I’m not an expert by any means, but please do not presume I do not know what I have seen and experienced.
Your closing statement was downright nasty: I prefer to think that I treat Iran’s leaders and experts — and people — with respect, and I attempt to understand them on their own terms. Israel assassinates them. Where do you stand on that continuum?
I will take yr admission that the executed woman experienced a miscarriage of justice as a concession that your earlier claim was wrong.
I don’t know what case you’re speaking of in Texas. That state has the worst record in the country regarding executions which I deplore. But it would NEVER execute a women without any notice to her attorney & before her appeals were exhausted. This is simply unthinkable even in as awful a place for capital punishment as Texas. And I repeat, whoever was executed in Texas was not killed merely for demonstrating against the gov’t as the Dutch Iranian woman was.
Americans have been innocently executed & we have an Innocence Project which regularly finds such cases & gets convicted inmates freed. We again have a national campaign to abolish capital punishment. What does Iran have?
It has executed Bahais & Jews because of their religion. It has also executed leaders of Jundallah who are members of a competing Muslim sect. So yes, many of the executions are religiously or ethincally motivated.
Well, the Occupation has been around since 1967, that’s 60 yrs. I presume capital punishment will be abolished in the next few (NOT 35) yrs. I’m patient & prepared to wait.
Israel is a red herring. Get off it. It has nothing to do w. the argument. You know my views about targeted killings. Stay on topic.
Not at all. It represents a brutal, intolerant, triumphalist version of Islam that even many Iranians dispute. The mullah government is as Islamic as radical settlers are Jewish. Neither represent the mainstream of their religion.
It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve spent in Iran…if you can write this phrase you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. This is utter nonsense & I’m not prepared to continue this discussion. So yr last comment will be yr last in this thread. You’re welcome to write in other threads. But this debate is officially over for you.