Friday, April 11, 2008

What Goes Around Come Around

Considering the Bush administration's bad mouthing of Iran, Im sometimes tempted to think kindly of the Iranian government. That would be a mistake. It is an oppressive, often murderous regime that suppresses dissenters through jailing, intimidation, including death threats, beatings, deprivation of livelihoods, denial of licenses to print and perform. It abuses human rights, supports and arms clients that oppose peaceful settlement of conflicts, viz., Hezbollah and Hamas, and it ignores international demands to open its nuclear program to inspection. The Iranian government also lack a sense of humor and how ludicrous is its posturing. Instead it displays nauseating, self-righteous narcissism and a hideous lack of empathy for anyone except its supporters.

The latest evidence of character flaws is a complaint by the Iranian ambassador to the UN. He complained about Israeli cabinet minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer's public statement this week that, if Iran rocket attacked Israel, Israel would destroy Iranian society. Ben-Eliezer plays the buffoon or court fool in Israel politics; he says aloud what others whisper in the back rooms. So he was probably echoing current Israel government discussions about Israel's options in the event of an attack on its major cities. It is no secret that Israel has the means and apparent will to use a nuclear option as a last resort, but it is not nice to rub the other guy's nose in that.

However, Ben-eliezer's remarks follow several years of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad's promising/ predicting that Israel would soon be wiped off the map. In Israel, such statements are rather provocative because a) Hitler's similar "predictions" were not taken seriously enough, and b) they provide a motive for the acquisition of nuclear weapons, which Israeli intelligence thinks Iran still pursues. Israel has repeatedly protested such threats and other Iranian behaviors that suggest a desire to destroy the Jewish people, e.g., hosting a Holocaust deniers' conference, blowing up a Jewish community center and embassy in Buenos Aires. The protests have not chilled Iran. Maybe the Iranian Ambassador was just playing tit-for-tat, but from a distant he looks like a stupid, arrogant clod.

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