Alas, none of these things has actually come to pass (though I do take solace knowing that human rights abuser and war criminal Ariel Sharon is still in a - hopefully nightmarish - coma) during my three month hiatus from cyber-whining. I have long been trying to get myself back into the blogging spirit, but besides such uninspiring post titles as Biden His Time and Beyond The Palin I haven't had much to say. Things seem particularly bleak these days - save that the Palin Bump seems to be subsiding a bit (and no, I don't mean the bastard child gestating inside Bristol "Jesus didn't use condoms either" Palin's jailbait womb) and the McCain campaign is turning more farcical and embarrassing by the minute. So that's the good news, I guess. What's the bad news, then? Everything else.
So why am I finally back? What could have possibly awakened me from my blogging slumber? Yup, you guessed it! Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is back in town for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly and with him returns the heightened ire of American xenophobes, misinformed dullards, and racist ethno-supremacists. Usually, the same old anti-Iranian rhetoric should be ignored (oh wait, have you seen my blog? nevermind), but I was unfortunate enough to witness first-hand what kind of war-mongering, hate-spewing, and hypocritical nonsense is used to promote Zionist idealism and pro-colonial mentalities, and it really fucking bothered me.
This past Monday morning, a new Jewish holiday was added to the Fall calendar of Yamim Noraim, already bursting with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. It's called Yom Lelo Emet, or "Without Truth Day," a festive celebration of intolerance dedicated to propagating egregious lies in order to demonize an elected world leader, an entire country, and by extension, an entire religion and its followers. Under the banner of the "Rally to Stop Iran Now," organized by a broad coalition of Jewish groups, such as the powerful Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the United Jewish Communities, the UJA, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, all manner of bellicose blowhards, young and old, came together on the midtown streets of New York City to symbolically burn a crescent on the lawn of the United Nations in anticipation of the Iranian President's General Assembly speech on Tuesday.
Coincidentally (or not), the rally took place on the 28th anniversary (to the day) of the beginning of the bloody Iran-Iraq War, when, as Cyrus Safardi of IranAffairs.com recalls, "Iraqi aircraft ineffectively attacked six Iranian air bases and four army installations." The very next day, on September 23, 1980, "Saddam Hussein's army crossed the border into Iranian territory in a four-pronged, six-division ground attack along a 400 mile front, igniting a war that was to last nearly eight years." In honor of this previous illegal, US-supported war against Iran, event organizers, speakers (including Nobel Prize winner Elie "I support Israel—period" Wiesel - for shame!), and attendees seemed intent on bolstering yet another aggressive strike almost three decades later. The vast turnout and collective attitude - the fierce support of a militarized society built upon ethnic supremacy and the brazen confidence of righteous conviction - would have made Leni Riefenstahl beam with unbridled glee.
I decided to skip out of work for a bit to head uptown and see what all the fuss was about. As I walked West from First Avenue on 48th Street, I never could have imagined what was in store for me one block away. I've never been to a Klan meeting in Alabama and wasn't privy to the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, but I assume this was similar: tens of thousands of enthusiastic bigots, waving signs, flags, and banners bearing ethno-supremacist mantras and racist ideologies against the "other" and framing themselves as perpetual victims of injustice and oppression. Especially striking and disillusioning was the vast number of blustering teenage Zionists and Zionettes, all smiles and brainwash - a veritable American Gadna - prancing up and down the sidewalk, yelling vile invective at passers-by who might not want to bomb an innocent country into oblivion. I saw these representatives of the next generation spitting the most horrific venom at the far-more-pious, Jewish Orthodox members of Neturei Karta, pushing and shoving all those who reveal to them the atrocious hypocrisy of hiding behind the phrase "Never Again" while denying (or oblivious to - which is worse?!) their own support for the systematic genocide and ethnic cleansing currently occurring in their name in their supposed homeland. I saw them picking fights with counter-protesters who know far more about Middle East history and the actual stipulations of the IAEA and NPT than their ignorant and racist parents do. Throngs of yarmulke-donning Shia LaBeoufs, tzitzit flapping against their thighs, cheering occupation and threatening violence to all those who disagree (and are far better informed) were patrolling Second Avenue. Even more startling were their tittering female counterparts: gaggles of young, profanity-shrieking Jewish girls, wearing tight-fitting "We Stand With Israel" t-shirts and looking more like Northeastern drama camp day-trippers, taking a break from trust falls and John Guare monologues to troll Manhattan thoroughfares, than a well-indoctrinated army of apartheid sympathizers bussed in from Yeshivas and synagogues all over the East Coast wielding inflated blue-and-white missiles, better described as noise-making phalli, emblazoned with pro-Zionist slogans. These are the new brownshirts. This is our future.
The thousands-strong gathering at Dag Hamarskjold Plaza proved one thing: in Zionism, dissent and diplomacy are to be shunned, stifled, and ridiculed at all cost and there is no equality among all people - there is a righteous "us" and a hateful "them" at all times - the Jew seeks preservation while the Arab only knows destruction; demonization and dehumanization are rampant and required and the identification of an "enemy" is necessary to maintain the constant self-image of innocence and victimization of the colonial occupier. The only existential threat to an archaic and racist ideology is the that of crumbling legitimacy and waning support.
History is nothing if not ironic, and the truly devastating paradox of supporting mass murder and "transfer" to protect the descendants of a similar, if not more sinister, injustice and horror was on full display that day. But the total lack of self-awareness among the militant crowd was all too palpable, even without witnessing the blank stares that followed asking a group of Zionist tweens holding an "Israel Now and Forever" placard if they knew what the Hitler Youth was. Every sort of absurdity was represented on the assorted signage held by the crowd, from the unintentionally ironic posters calling for the Iranian President to "take your hate back to hell" to moronically political banners pleading for supporters to "Prevent a nuclear Iranian Holocaust on Israel, vote McCaine-Palin [sic]" to hilarious (and hopefully true) placards reading "Dems hate Sarah Palin more than they hate the Islamofascists."
Name-calling was the blue (and white) plate special of the day and the rally's numerous speakers couldn't seem to get enough. Ahmadinejad was labeled as, not only a threat, but as the devil incarnate, the anti-Israel bogeyman lurking under Upper East Side beds and behind chuppas ready to jump out and revisit a devastating genocide upon an already beleaguered people. He was called crazy and arrogant, dangerous and evil, a recalcitrant fanatic and a madman. Even the New York Times chimed in by publishing an bizarrely biased piece by Clyde Haberman that very morning which twice referred to Ahmadinejad as "the Israel-threatening, Holocaust-denying, nuke-building and child-hanging president of Iran." (And this is the paper of record?) Knesset member Dalia Itzik likened the Iranian President to Freddy Krueger by complaining that "he wants us to suffer, to have nightmares, to be afraid." In addition to equating Ahmadinejad with Hitler, Itzik elaborated that the Iranian President enjoys sugarplum-like visions of concentration camps and gas chambers and that he "is responsible for bringing back the horrors of the past."
So, does Ahmadinejad really dream of another Jewish genocide? Hardly. The demise of the Zionist fantasy is the establishment of one democratic state in Israel/Palestine, a state wherein all people have the right to vote and thereby the right to self-determination. As he recently articulated, "We [representatives of the Iranian government] are opposed to the idea that the people who live there should be thrown into the sea or be burnt. We believe that all the people who live there, the Jews, Muslims and Christians, should take part in a free referendum and choose their government.”
Also, let us remember that there are about 20,000 Jews in Iran (the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel), who have a representative in Parliament. Middle East expert Juan Cole further explains the misplaced scapegoating,
If Ahmadinejad wanted to launch a second Holocaust, would he not begin at home? It is tiresome to keep having to repeat it, but, moreover, Ahmadinejad does not have the power to launch any massacres, since the presidency in Iran is a weak position similar to that of our secretary of the interior. The commander in chief of the armed forces is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has pledged an Iranian policy of no first strike against any country.Professor and polyglot Yakov Rabkin, in a letter to the International Herald Tribune published on July 27, 2008, summed up the American/Israeli rhetoric quite simply, writing,
As for Jews in Israel, Iran has not threatened to kill any of them, much less all of them.
To justify an assault on Iran, one has to present the Iranian president as an anti-Semite. While overtly anti-Zionist, he is not anti-Jewish. Indeed, had he been anti-Semitic, he would harass Iran's Jews rather than challenge a nuclear-armed regional power.But enough of truth and reason. Back to sensationalism and propaganda!
But the emotionally charged allegations hurled at the Iranian president have become established truth and, moreover, ground for action in Israel and the United States. One should not mistake a wish to see a regime change for a physical threat to Israeli civilians. Like many non-Zionist Jews, he wants Israel to evolve from a state for the Jews - a major source of the Israel/Palestine conflict - to an inclusive state of all its citizens.
Another rally speaker, noted author and clownish Zionist Elie Wiesel, in truly juvenile 'rain rain go away' fashion, cried out, "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, go home and stay there, we don't want you here. America doesn't want you here. Nobody wants you!," thereby completely missing the point that Ahmadinejad wasn't visiting the United States but rather fulfilling the duty of an elected government official to attend the UN General Assembly, which, although located in Manhattan, is actually an international entity. Also, it seems the laughable hypocrisy of trying to deny Ahmadinejad a right to speak at the UN due to Iran's reputation for stifling free speech at home was lost on Mr. Wiesel and the ignorant masses to whom he was speaking.
Wiesel also called for Ahmadinejad's indictment by an international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, a suggestion so riddled with irony that it boggles the mind to even try and comprehend it. If international law was respected by Israel-supporters, don't you think the settlements, apartheid wall, collective punishment, and illegal occupation might be first on the agenda? Also, what war crime has Ahmadinejad committed? Even if what they claim he has said was true (which it's not), he has neither dropped any bombs, killed anyone, nor invaded and occupied any country...nor has any Iranian leader in the past few centuries. I wonder how many Israeli prime ministers or recent American presidents would answer to those charges.
But, of course, Zionists see themselves as the champions of human rights (which Iran admittedly needs a lot of work on) and are unable to see themselves as the perpetrators of any sort of injustice. As former deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky told the crowd, "We believe the most important responsibility for people of faith is tikkun olam, to heal the world. For them [Iranians? Muslims? Ahmadinejads?], the most important thing is to kill as many people as possible." Tell that to the Palestinians, Natan. Oh wait, you probably have, during some sort of bombing raid, extrajudicial murder, chargeless imprisonment, or at one of the hundreds and hundreds of illegal checkpoints. That's some good ol' fashioned world healin' for ya!
Clearly, sloganeering is "in" this season, truth is out.
During my infuriating and illuminating two hour stay at the rally, I did wind up learning a few things about the way Zionists think . For instance, did you know that there is, in fact, no occupation of Palestine? Did you know that there is no apartheid nor are there any Jews-Only roads in the West Bank? Did you know that Jewish militias before the implementation of Plan Dalet were merely peace-keepers and defensive forces against the aggressive Arab hordes? (Apparently, the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by the Jewish nationalist group Irgun was an unavoidable act of self-preservation - one that, with 91 casualties and 45 wounded, still remains the single deadliest act of terrorism of the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict - IDF operations in Gaza in late February/early March 2008 notwithstanding.) I learned that the only definition of "terrorist" is a mean person who gets on a bus with a backpack bomb, hoping to murder innocent people (because, remember, they're mean) - no context, no exceptions. Were you aware that the Palestinian victims of the massacres of Deir Yassin and Eilabun had it coming and essentially forced Jewish militias to brutally murder them by simply not obeying the basic tenets of Jewish nationalism, colonial Zionism, and willingly leaving their ancestral homes? Silly!
Even more fascinating was when I learned that Israelis are actually the perpetual victims of Palestinian oppression - what a relief! I can finally stop being such a bleeding-heart and rest easy that those villainous Arabs were expelled from their homes, their property stolen, their families murdered, their villages leveled, their livelihoods destroyed, their statehood and independence denied, their movement restricted, and their food, water, and electricity rationed for a damn good reason (they're all anti-Semitic terrorists remember?). Whew! Plus, whenever the Israeli fait accompli of the Palestinian Nakba is questioned or condemned (how dare they!) by some pesky human rights fanatic, I now know just to shrug, smirk, and say "That was, like, a really long time ago, why don't they just move on? The Palestinians need to get over it!" (Thanks to that girl in the David Project shirt for this brilliant retort - naturally, the same courtesy of "needing to get over it" is not extended to the families of Holocaust victims who seem to enjoy Never Againing all the livelong day by equating Palestinian resistance to a brutal Israeli occupation to the tragic Aryan genocide of European Jews. And please don't ask why Palestinian resistance to occupation over the past 60 years isn't compared to French resistance to occupation 64-68 years ago...that just makes Zionists angry.)
My education wasn't just limited to Israeli mythology...uh...I mean, history. I was also set straight about a number of issues pertaining to Iran as well. I learned that President Ahmadinejad is a terrorist. He also supports terrorists. He is a dictator. And an Islamic fundamentalist extremist meanie bad guy. He's also Hitler. And a member of Al Qaeda. And Bin Laden's brother. And Barack Obama's poker buddy. He also has his finger on some sort of button. He wants to "wipe Israel off the map." He is also personally responsible for 9/11, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and has joyfully throttled American soldiers to death with his bare hands. Ahmadinejad is also in charge of the human resources department at Lehman Brothers; he created hanging chads, taught Bill Buckner how to react to slow dribblers up the first base line, lip-synchs, has cooties, doesn't know how many houses or cars he owns, cancelled Arrested Development, and broke up the Beatles. Iran is also trying to build nuclear weapons, even though, as I was told more than once, it apparently already has them aimed at Tel Aviv.
So, basically it all comes down to this: Iran, a scary country controlled by a raving maniac, is illegally pursuing nuclear weapons that they will unleash mercilessly upon an unwitting, innocent, and peace-loving Israel due to a crazy, apocalyptic religious doctrine of death and destruction. Simple enough, right? Too bad it's all ridiculous.
Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. I suppose I just need to divide and conquer (I learned that from Moshe Dayan and Ariel Sharon) the issues and address them one by one. So stay tuned...
"Rejection of domination and aggression, defense of the oppressed, and longing for peace constitute the legitimate demand of the peoples of the world, particularly the new generations and the spirited youth, who aspire a world free from decadence, aggression and injustice, and replete with love and compassion. The youth have a right to seek justice and the Truth; and they have a right to build their own future on the foundations of love, compassion and tranquility."
- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, 09.19.2006