The Case Against Israel


            The following are excerpts from pages 250 – 260 of IRAN and the UNITED STATES: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace by Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former Iranian diplomat.  The points he makes are widely held in the Middle East. The whole book is worth reading.


            “Israel is a non-Muslim state that has taken over Muslim lands by force, with the support of world powers. Neither the Palestinians, nor the Arabs and Muslims as a whole, bear any responsibility for the mass murders carried out by the Nazi regime in Germany against the Jews, gypsies, communists and others during the Second World War.  The responsibility for those horrible crimes against humanity that took place in Europe lies with their perpetrators.  Iran’s government considers it unjust that Palestinians should be uprooted from their homes and nation in order to compensate the victims of Nazi atrocities.  The creation of millions of new victims in Palestine, in order to compensate the victims of past crimes in Europe, runs counter to reason and morality….


             “Despite the fact that millions of Palestinians are scattered throughout the Middle East and around the globe, Israel denies Palestinians the right to return to their homeland. In contrast, Israel’s government continues to encourage Jewish immigration to their country from all over the world, offering financial incentives, job placements, and housing grants.  The Israeli Law of Return grants every Jew, wherever he or she may be, the right to come to Israel as an oleh (a Jew immigrating to Israel) and become an Israeli citizen – effective on the day of arrival in the country….


            “During the Shah’s rule in Iran, Israel maintained very warm and close relations with him.  Israeli interests in Iran, as a non-Arab state, became prominent as early as the 1950’s, when Mossad cooperated with the CIA in establishing Iran’s brutal secret service, the SAVAK. A 1979 CIA report noted that “The main purpose of the Israeli relationship with Iran was the development of a pro-Israel and anti-Arab policy on the part of the Iranian officials.  Mossad has engaged in joint operations with SAVAK over the years since the late 1950’s.


            “The closeness and cooperation between Israel and the Shah was deeply offensive to the religious forces operating in Iran.  Ayatollah Khomeini’s June 3, 1963 speech, which many analysts identify as the event that ignited the first widespread, religious-political movement that led to the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, sparked three days of serious rioting throughout Iran.  The theme of the speech was, “The Shah and Israel; the root of people’s suffering in Iran.” Ayatollah Khomeini had said on that occasion:


            “’I was informed today that a number of preachers were taken to the offices of SAVAK and were told that they could speak about anything they chose other than three subjects: they were not to say anything bad about the Shah; not to attack Israel; and not to say that Islam is endangered…Israel does not wish the Quran to exist in this country. Israel does not wish the ulama [high ranking clergy] to exist in this country. Israel does not wish to see Islamic precepts in this country. It was Israel that assaulted the Madrasa by means of its sinister agents. It [Israel] wishes to seize your economy, to destroy your trade and agriculture and to appropriate your wealth.  Anything which proves to be a barrier, or blocks its path, is to be removed by means of its agents. The Quran is blocking its path; it must be removed. The religious establishment is blocking its path; it too must be removed; Fayziya [Madrasa] is blocking its path; it must be destroyed. The religious students might later prove to be barriers; they must be flung from the roof and their arms and necks broken. We are affronted by our very own government, which assists Israel in achieving its objectives by obeying her command.’


            “The Iranian leadership is firmly of the belief that Israel’s long-term goal is either to destroy the Islamic world or to silence it, creating a resistance-free environment for aggression and expansion.


            “One of the primary objectives of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian Revolution’s leader, and his followers within the revolution’s leadership, was to revive ‘Islam’s dignity.’ Israel’s aggressive policies toward the Palestinians and apparent general disrespect for Muslims has fostered a hatred of the Israeli government, especially its hardline elements. The apparent willingness of the United States to offer Israel unconditional support in these circumstances only makes anti-Israel and anti-US sentiment more entrenched. As a consequence, the view of the Iranian nezam [system or order] might be summarized as follows: ‘After more than forty years of occupation; demolition of people’s homes in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip; and the humiliation and oppression of the Palestinians, who played no role in the atrocities against the Jewish people, the US government – under the influence of Israel – exhibits no sign of sympathy toward the Palestinian people and their plight.  Instead, the US steadfastly supports any action of the Israeli government.’ Stephen Walt, the respected American academic, has echoed this view:


            “’The protracted failure of U.S. policy on the Israel – Palestine issue [goes] back several decades. That’s not news, of course. What has changed in the past few years is that the [Israel] lobby’s operations and its harmful influence are now out in the open for all to see, which makes it almost impossible to make the old arguments that Israel is a ‘vital strategic asset’ or a country that ‘shares our values’ with a straight face, or to convince anyone who’s not already in agreement… The United States has backed Israel no matter what it did because the AIPAC [American  Israel Public Affairs Committee] and the other groups in the lobby have enormous influence inside the Beltway [i.e. Washington] and use that muscle to defend Israel whenever its government’s policies clash with America’s interests.’


            “America’s position, as described, has served only to intensify the degree of hostility between Iran and the US on the one hand, and Iran and Israel on the other. Contrary to the American calculation, its own policy has in fact become a major obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East.  Unqualified and consistent support for Israel is undoubtedly a major reason for the growth of anti-American sentiment and Islamic extremism throughout the region. As long as this dynamic remains unchanged, hardliners in Iran will remain relevant and more effectively be able to plead their case for non-compromise and non-cooperation with the US.


            In the majority of UN Security Council resolutions relating to Israel, the United States has been Israel’s lone supporter.  Resolutions have therefore been blocked – many relating to attempts to halt Israeli military action or its policies, or to provide humanitarian aid – by America’s (sic) unyielding position in relation to Israel.”


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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf