• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Persia and The Euphrates Sturgeon

Taking their lead from the New York Times, most of the American media excoriated Iran's president Ahmadinejahd for remarking that Zionist Jews were a blip in the history of the Middle East. " 'They have no roots there in history,'  Mr. Ahmadinejad said of the Israelis," reported the Times, " 'They do not even enter the equation for Iran.' " 

The Times went on to report that "The New York Post, which has made no secret of its hostility toward Mr. Ahmadinejad, said it had tried to deliver a gift basket over the weekend to the Warwick [Hotel] filled with items including Gold's Borscht, Manischewitz gefilte fish, Murray's Sturgeon Shop whitefish, Zabar's cream cheese and a free ticket to the Off Broadway show 'Old Jews Telling Jokes'. The Post said Iranian officials at the hotel declined to accept it." 

The irony apparently escaped the Times, and just in case it might escape anyone else, neither borscht, gefilte fish nor sturgeon have much of a history in the Middle East. 

But whether by design or omission, the Times and certainly the Post appear to have missed Ahmadinejahd's more significant Olive Branch. 

Whether the vast bulk of Ashkenazi Jews who comprised the impetus for Zionism had any actual antecedent presence in the Middle East, it is clear that Ahmadinejahd believes they did not and that, in his mind, they are an isolated ethno/genetic subgroup arising out of Central and Eastern Europe. 

As reported in the Western media, Ahmadinejad has also previously threatened to drive  this Zionist "regime" from the map and, by implication, to expel the so-called European foreigners from the Middle East.  Not surprisingly,  Israel considers such remarks to be an "existential threat."

However, there is a chasm between vowing to drive "foreigners" from the land and saying that their presence is evanescent blip which does "not even enter the equation."  Israelis may feel insulted to learn that they are "beneath an equation" but insulting or not Ahmadinejad could not have made it more clear that Iran has no belligerent intentions against Israel. 

To be sure, in the Israeli view, Iran is already aiding and abetting alleged hostile terrorist organizations and/or tyrants.  But it behooves diplomats not to slip and slide on the jelly of confused issues.  The "existential" issue is whether Iran has a geopolitical purpose and military design to destroy the State of Israel and disperse its Jewish inhabitants elsewhere.  As to this question  -- the Titus Question --  Ahmadinejad has stated that Israel doesn't enter into Iran' calculations.

Whether Iran supports a monarch in Syria or whether the United States supports a misogynist dictator in Saudia Arabia; whether Iran sends arms to Hamas or whether Israel sends advisors to Kurdistan or whether the United States supported Al Qaeda against Assad,  are distinct issues involving non-existential geo-political gambits of an entirely different order of magnitude.   

It will hardly come as a surprise that the word "diplomat" is "hypocricy" by another name but neither the United States nor Israel can complain that Iran plays the same game they do.    As to the existential game,  if anyone came bearing gifts to New York, it was Iran.