Monday, July 6, 2015

Why Iran’s Anti-Semitism Must Be Taken Seriously
Jeffrey Herf 7-6-15
The Islamic Republic’s anti-Semitism is not peripheral to its ideology, or to the outcome of a nuclearDEAL

Too many of our policymakers, politicians, and analysts{ AND RABBIS} still labor under the mistaken idea that radical anti-Semitism is merely another form of prejudice or, worse, an understandable (and hence excusable?) response to the conflict between Israel . . . and the Palestinians. In fact it is something far more dangerous, and far less compatible with a system of nuclear deterrence, which assumes that all parties place a premium on their own survival. Iran’s radical anti-Semitism is not in the slightest bit rational; it is a paranoidCONSPIRACY THEORY that proposes to make sense (or rather nonsense) of the world by claiming that the powerful and evil “Jew” is the driving force in global politics. Leaders who attribute enormous evil and power to the 13,000,000 Jews in the world and to a tiny Middle Eastern state with about 8,000,000 citizens have demonstrated that they don’t have a suitable disposition for playing nuclear chess. . . .

No high-ranking member of the Obama administration has admitted that this is the case. . . . The issue has faded into theBACKGROUND, replaced by a preoccupation with technical details about centrifuges, percentages of uranium enrichment, and lengths of “break-out times.” When policymakers fail to consider the core beliefs of the Iranian leadership, they foster the impression that Iran is a smaller, Islamic version of the Soviet Union—that is, a state that would act in its own self-interest if it had nuclear weapons. Yet the Soviet Union was governed by atheists who disdained notions of a life after death and would have laughed at the idea of a “twelfth imam” descending to earth after an apocalyptic disaster. IF IRAN ACQUIRES NUCLEAR WEAPONS, IT WOULD LIKELY BE THE FIRST SUCH STATE NOT TO BE DETERRED BY THE PROSPECT OF NUCLEAR RETALIATION. Yet the irrationality of Iran’s government has received scant attention in the United States government, which seems unable to believe that people could put their faith in a post-apocalyptic messiah. That is both a failure of imagination and a failure of policy