A World of Their Own
Israel - Middle East
Friday, January 18, 2013
To some degree, I guess many of us live in our own little made-up worlds that support our own little truths. I must be the first one to admit to needing to do the 'occasional' reality check. Don't we all? I do think, however, that some people 'go way out of their way' to construct worlds that they're comfortable to live in and which defy reality.
I guess you can call it post-modernism and even blame Hegel's Dialectic for inadvertently birthing the concept that: My truth isn't your truth but it's equally valid as yours is. The whole phenomenon is fascinating to me and a few theories come to mind. The reasons for it may be almost as varied as its proponents.
It may be gullibility or wishful thinking or just plain old ideology which overrules common sense. Heck, even the normally erudite Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was once (controversially) hoodwinked into believing in the existence of fairies because of his interest in the supernatural!
That said I'm beginning to care less as to the reasons why people believe what they believe, and more about the consequences holding those beliefs. Take Iran and its "peaceful" nuclear program.
Political scientist Dr. Kaveh Afrasiabi recently wrote that a future Obama duo offers new hope on Iran. He's talking about the possibility of Hagel - that's Chuck Hagel the politician, not Hegel the philosopher - joining the Obama administration.
"By choosing Hagel, who is also in favor of dialogue with Palestine's Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah, Obama has sent an important signal regarding his desire to give his failed 'Iran engagement' policy a new lease of life." (Emphasis mine)
Failed Iran engagement policy? - Not according to most of the U.S. media. Oh, that's right - we're post-election now. What was I thinking?
Anyway, Afrasiabi also likes Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State. He thinks that Kerry is far more attuned to Iran's special needs than Clinton ever was. He also notes that both Kerry and Hagel recognize Iran's nuclear rights. So perhaps it will be more of a future Dynamic Trio rather than an "Obama duo" that lead us into peaceful co-existence with Iran's nuclear aspirations.
Perhaps Chuck Hagel could ask Hezbollah - very nicely if you please - to stay away from the Mexican Drug Cartels and not attempt to cross the U.S. border without the appropriate paperwork, or while carrying a potentially nasty weapon of mass destruction. Especially when most of the country is potentially disarming!
Ron Radosh notes that, because of his record, Hagel's nomination sends a clear message. He cites one pro-Israel observer:
“If Obama is getting advice from Hagel about Israel, then the American Jewish community has a lot to worry about. Of all the senators with whom Obama could have traveled with, Hagel’s record on Israel is one of the worst...The message is heard loud and clear. While Obama has chosen to visit Israel with one of the most anti-Israel senators, by contrast, on John McCain’s most recent trip to Israel, he chose to visit with Joseph Lieberman.”
But Prof. Afrasiabi weighs in again:
"In a recent interview with Al-Monitor, Hagel referred approvingly to another Al-Monitor article that urged the White House to take President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's offer of stopping the 20% enrichment if the outside world was willing to guarantee the delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran...The question is, of course, whether or not Tehran is still interested in such a deal." (Emphasis mine)
Let's just hope they can appeal to the Iranian regime's humanitarian side.
Meanwhile American Pastor Saeed Abedini is facing trial in Iran in a few days. His crime is his Christian faith. Does that sound familiar? Lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, is currently serving a prison sentence in one of Iran's most dangerous prisons - ostensibly for defending Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's rights. I guess their truth and their world don't overlap with Prof. Afrasiabi's reality.
I wonder which world is more real.
Speaking of President Obama; by the time you read this it will be old news that he's been quoted as declaring that: "Israel doesn't know what's good for it." The last time Hamas fired all those rockets into Israel it would have been nice to have heard Pres. Obama say, "Hamas doesn't know what's good for it."
There are several things one can take away from that revelation. The most obvious is how the post-election U.S. President really feels about Israel. It also appears he wasn't that concerned about diplomacy or that his statement only adds fuel to an already incendiary issue. He either forgot Pres. Netanyahu's reality-check lecture or he remembers it only too well but it doesn't fit into His Universe.
Incidentally, according to Prof. Afrasiabi, the largest obstacle to steering the Middle East "peace process" (I hadn't realized there was one) in the right direction is America's "closest ally" Israel. The professor believes a major problem is Israel's "expansionist policy" which "has been barely tolerated by the Obama administration."
And here I was assuming the biggest problem was that Israel's neighbors can't tolerate anything Jewish or Christian in their Palestine. Oops...am I allowed to say that?
Jordan's king Abdullah recently joined the fray with his announcement that Israel's fortress mentality will leave it isolated. It may be just me but I'd develop a "fortress mentality" if all my neighbors wanted to eradicate me. It might even be argued that my "fortress mentality" could be beneficial to my long-term existence.
But the Jordanian king has his own issues that deserve his immediate attention - Islamists in parliament being one of them.
Our understanding of reality and the world is often shaped by the pressures around us. There is some evidence that outside pressures may have affected Israel's population and are possibly trending it to the right-wing parties.
Without qualifying David Remnick's premise, Joel Rosenberg cites him as arguing that:
"...the Israeli electorate is moving sharply to the right because they are exhausted by the conflict with the Arabs; disillusioned with the peace process; increasingly convinced the Palestinians will never make peace; anxious about the instability and anti-Israeli hostility in surrounding nations like Syria, Egypt and Jordan; worried about the Iranian nuclear threat; and convinced that the Israeli left has no fresh ideas and no dynamic leaders."
That would be one interesting trend to look out for. It could ultimately even be a world changer.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: 2013 & Chicken Little
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