Participating in an Obsolete Discourse
- Fundamental Misconceptions About Israel, Iran
By Joachim Martillo
Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel
Friday, July 19 Trita Parsi and Roi Ben-Yehuda co-authored an
article entitled Essential things Israelis and Iranians should know
about each other<http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1003236.html>
that appeared in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (äàøõ). The article
represented a sophisticated attempt to create a somewhat
circumscribed space within Neocon-Zionist-dominated American
discourse to discuss Iranian-Israeli and Iranian-American issues
Not only does the article's content feel somewhat quaint and
antiquated because Americans have begun to discuss much more openly
the pernicious effects of the Israel Lobby on American politics and
foreign policy, but its reflexive genuflection to demonstrably false
Zionist beliefs provides good evidence of the problems arising both
* from discussing Israel and Zionism without a good understanding
of Eastern European Jewish studies and also
* from collaboration with an Israeli American fairly thoroughly
indoctrinated in Zionist-American-Jewish mythology.
Here is an annotated version of the article. A blue sidebar adjoins
the original text.
Essential things Israelis and Iranians should know about each other
By Trita Parsi and Roi Ben-Yehuda
The looming Iran-Israel confrontation has a seemingly deterministic
quality to it. Listening to the politicians, one gets a sense that
powers beyond our control are pulling us toward a 21st-century
disaster. Yet a great deal of the force propelling us into
confrontation is fueled by ignorance and dehumanization. Israel is
demonized as "Little Satan," while Iranians are portrayed as
irrational Muslim extremists.
Indeed, mutual ignorance of our respective societies plays into the
hands of the hard-line leaders who are calling for blood and
destruction. They manipulate and distort; above all, they do
everything to prevent us from recognizing that the enemy has a face.
"Hard-line leaders" can get away with distorting the issues because
far too few members of the public have a sufficiently thorough
understanding of the Eastern and Central European social political
cultures from which the State of Israel descends.
Not that either of us is naive enough to believe that mere knowledge
of one another will offer a miraculous solution. We do believe,
however, that mutual understanding will go a long way toward
allowing us to feel empathy and compassion for each other, and to
sound off at those calling for bloodshed and war.
Here are some essential things Iranians and Israelis should know
about each other:
1. Israel is a vibrant yet incomplete democracy
On his visit to the United States last fall, President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad famously stated that there are no homosexuals in Iran.
Well, in Israel there are plenty of homosexuals, and they are the
only ones in the Middle East who have an annual gay pride parade in
their capital city.
The authors' point is unclear.
Sexual identities represent social constructs. Western "gay-ness"
does not really exist in Middle Eastern cultures except within
Israel, which is really a transplanted mixed Central and Eastern
European Jewish society, which hosts sexual identities that were
already well-developed among German Jews and Eastern European ethnic
Ashkenazim by the early 20th century.
Both groups have been active proselytizers for regendering Western
salvation.html> according to Yiddish models for at least the last 90
As Columbia Professor Joseph Massad points out in Desiring Arabs,
non-Westernized (and many Westernized) Arabs that engage in
homoeroticism have no interest in the Yiddish regenderization
program and generally reject Western homosexual identity, which
Massad calls the Gay International.
Democracy in Israel means that every citizen and group (Jewish or
otherwise) has the right to express him/herself and assemble in
public. Also, that every citizen is equal under the law has voting
rights, religious freedom, access to education, health care,
To believe that non-Jewish citizens are equal in an officially
Jewish state is logically equivalent to believing that non-white
citizens would be equal in an officially white state.
The State of Israel is an Eastern European ethnic fundamentalist
vkisch racist formal democracy that has aspects of ethnocracy but is
really dominated by a political military economic oligarchy. Such
state organizations are common in modern Eastern European history
and only denial or lack of familiarity with modern Eastern European
political structures can explain the mischaracterization of the
Israeli state. All sorts of official and unofficial bias are built
into the Zionist system. David Kretzmer goes through the legal
discrimination in detail in The Legal Status of the Arabs in
Undoubtedly, Israel's democracy is still a work in progress. The
fusion of religion and state has limited people's rights and
freedoms (for example, Israelis of different faiths cannot legally
marry one another in the country), and the de facto secondary status
of Israeli Arabs is an affront to the country's democratic ideals.
Israel does not fuse religion and state in a Jewish counterpart of
Islamist ideas like al-Islam din wa-dawla.
Zionist ideology slices and dices Jewish religion in order to
support an ethnic fundamentalist political program in exactly the
same way other similar Eastern European political movements like
Greater Serbianism have used Christian religion.
While the second class status of Israeli Arabs (a Zionist
ideological term) may be an affront to American democratic ideals,
limiting the political voice of Israeli Palestinians (the term
preferred by most Israeli citizens descended from the native
origins-of-modern-jewry.html>) is a fundamental principal of Zionist
Fortunately, many people in Israel are assiduously working to change
the system from within.
Not only is it hard to find Israeli Jews willing even to discuss
Zionist vkisch racism honestly, but Israeli Jews have no real
ability to reform the Israeli state because Zionist politics from
the earliest days of the Zionist settlement until today have been
completely dominated and controlled by the transnational
hyperwealthy Jewish political economic oligarchic elite that has
funded the Zionist movement and the Zionist settlement from the
2. Iran is a vibrant quasi-democracy
It is far from a full democracy, but neither is it a complete
dictatorship. Its severe limitations notwithstanding, Iran has a
lively civil society and possesses most of the building blocks for a
successful democracy down the road. Iranians' struggle for democracy
dates back to the 1906 Constitutional Revolution. Since then,
Iranians have learned two important lessons.
First, war and democratization don't mix. As tensions between Iran
and the outside world increase, the first to pay are Iran's pro-
democracy and human rights activists. For Iran to move toward a
democratic system, it needs peace and tranquility; bombs and
surgical strikes will achieve the opposite.
Second, when you carry out a revolution, you know against whom you
are revolting, but not necessarily for whom you are waging the
revolution. Iranians have little appetite for another revolution. As
unpopular as their current government is, they prefer gradual and
3. Streets are named for poets
Just like Iran, Israel puts great value on the written word. In
Israel, streets are named for poets - writers who have revived a
people and its ancient language.
The official Israeli national poet Chaim Nachman Bialik wrote in
1934 in The Present Hour:
"I too, like Hitler, believe in the power of the blood idea."
Figure 1 Rehov Bialik (Bialik Street) in Tel Aviv
The claims of national and linguistic revival are simply Zionist
The Truth about National Revival
Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo
jewry.html> has correctly pointed out that Judaism spread out from
Palestine [and Mesopotamia], but the ancient inhabitants of
Palestine never emigrated from their homeland. Modern ethnic
Ashkenazim and German Jews have no ancestral connection to Palestine.
During the 19th century ethnic Ashkenazim began to develop political
consciousness as a Yiddish ethnic group, which Zionist ideologists
reinterpreted as a pan-Judaic ethnonational
new-improved.html> in order to legitimize the theft of Palestine
from the native population.
The Truth about Linguistic Revival
Modern Israeli Hebrew (MIH) is fundamentally relexified Yiddish. The
vocabulary has some similarity to that of Arabic, but the grammar
and the meanings of words have much more affinity to Yiddish, German
and Slavic than to any Semitic language including Biblical or
Mishnaic Hebrew. (See Les origines des juifs
actuels.html>, The Origins of Modern
jewry.html> and Two-tiered Relexification in Yiddish, Jews, Sorbs,
Khazars, and the Kiev-Polessian Dialect, by Paul
Except for vocabulary Modern Israeli Hebrew has much more in common
with Esperanto than with Rabbinic, Mishnaic or Biblical Hebrew.
It is the pen and imagination, more than the sword and muscle, that
have been responsible for the creation of this nation.
The creation of the State of Israel was the result of the joint
* Jewish economic political oligarchs in the UK and the USA (the
aCompleteA.htm#_ftnref186> and Our
* fanatic Russian Jewish
* the British military
in the context of a growing propensity on the part of Eastern
European ethnic Ashkenazim to use assassination,
rage.html>, mass murder
.htm#_Toc199522969>, ethnic cleansing, and
versus-today.html> to achieve political goals.
Israel's historical roots are traced in a book; its people are
called the "People of the Book"; and its founding father, Theodor
Herzl, a playwright, liked to write books. It is no surprise then
that Israel leads the world in new book titles per capita per year.
The Bible develops the spiritual concept of Israel, but many
scholars doubt the historicity of ancient Israel, which in any case
has no connection with the modern vkisch nationalist concept of the
Jewish people. The phrase "People of the Book" originates with Islam
and served as the legal basis for tolerance of religious dissenters
within Islamic society at a time when similar space for freedom of
belief did not exist in the Christian world.
Central and Eastern European Jews developed a bookish orientation as
a persistent side effect of the role that Jewish trading
ompleteA.htm#_Toc199522890> played in the international economy from
late antiquity and through the 1600s.
As in Iran, everyday conversations in Israel are as likely to be
peppered with literary references as with practical concerns.
4. Iranians are lonely and distrustful
Much like Israelis, Iranians feel painfully isolated in the Middle
East. They are surrounded by people with whom they share neither
language nor religion. Iran is majority Persian and Shi'ite; its
neighbors are majority Arab and Sunni.
Nor does Iran have many friends beyond the Middle East. If anything,
the international community has never treated them fairly, Iranians
believe. In the last century alo ne, Iranians have contended with
colonization and decades of foreign intervention, not to mention an
eight-year war against Saddam Hussein, in which the entire world
sided with Iraq.
The United Nations didn't consider Saddam's invasion a threat to
international peace and security; it took the Security Council more
than two years to call for a withdrawal. Another five years passed
before it addressed Saddam's use of chemical weapons. For the
Iranians, the lesson was clear: When in danger, Iran can rely on
neither the Geneva Conventions nor the UN Charter for protection.
Just like Israel, Iran has concluded that it can rely only on itself.
The above comment ignores a major difference between the Zionist and
the Iranian relationship with international law.
The Iranian government has suffered frequent disappointments when
the international comm unity has refused to apply international law
in conflicts that have involved Iran. Despite such disappointments
the Iranian government has persistently reached out to governments
and peoples throughout the Arab world, Latin America, Eastern
Europe, the successor states of the Soviet Union, Asia and even to
the USA in an ongoing effort to improve Iran's international
In contrast, the Israeli government wants to thwart the application
of international legal principles to the conflict over Palestine so
that Zionists would be able to deal with the native Palestinian
population with violence, mass murder, expulsion or however Zionists
see fit without any external
punches.html>. To achieve this goal American Israel advocacy groups
have an ongoing project of poisoning all discourse of international
law and human rights<http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2007/10/poisoning-
5. Zionism is not a dirty word
In a show of disrespect, many leaders in Iran refer to Israel as
the "Zionist regime." While being called a "regime" may not be
flattering, for most Israelis, Zionism is not a dirty word.
From within, Zionism is a national liberation movement, whose aim it
is to create a safe haven for Jewish people, culture and national
identity. Zionism is the Jewish people's answer to the centuries-old
impulse to erase them from history. When Ahmadinejad and his ilk
speak of Zionism's imminent doom, they are in fact strengthening the
very movement they seek to eliminate.
Israelis joke that Israel is the only country in the world where the
words "dirty Jew" mean a Jew who has not taken a shower. In a way,
this joke encapsulates the essence of Zionism. Everything else is
The comment is an attempt to control the discussion of Zionism and
the State of Israel by depicting normal political analysis as
equivalent to traditional anti-Jewish slurs.
Normal Political Analysis
While most non-Jews and many Jews that study Zionism fairly quickly
conclude that it represents an extremely repugnant form of racist
politics, the expression "Zionist regime" is no more disrespectful
than expressions like socialist regime, liberal regime, Labor
regime, conservative regime, royalist regime or Tory regime.
Zionists object to such usage because it separates the politics from
the government. There is a South African government today, and there
was a South African government before the end of Apartheid, but the
Apartheid regime has fallen. Because Zionism is an integralist
ideology, Zionists are unwilling to tolerate any suggestion that the
government of the State of Israel might one day have a non-Zionist
By claiming that critics of Zionists are flinging slurs, Zionists
have been able to short-circuit any sort of rational comparative
political analysis of Zionist beliefs and practices, and Zionists
often manage to argue that Zionism is perfectly legitimate as a
national liberation movement even though by almost identical logic
German Nazis could have asserted the legitimacy of German Nazism as
a national liberation movement.
Not only do Zionists in general reserve to themselves the right to
make Hitler analogies while a significant fraction of them rail
against Islamofascism and accuse Palestinians of pogrom politics,
but the Zionist intellectual leadership has also worked hard to
render any comment about the obvious similarities of Zionism and
German Nazism as beyond the pale of acceptable political speech.
Zionists have also been running a long term social project to
indoctrinate the American public with the idea that only anti-Semite
would compare the Nakba<http://eaazi.blogspot.com/2008/05/massad-
holocaust-holosphage-and.html>) to the
* even though conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
are generally worse than the situation in German Nazi occupied
Poland circa 1940 and
* even though Eastern European ethnic Ashkenazim were up to their
eyeballs in mass murder, ethnic cleansing and
ashkenazi.html> long before Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and the
WW2 mass murder of Jews began.
The term dirty Jews may not in fact originate with anti-Jewish
gentiles. In Yiddish shmutsike yidn (equivalent to German schmutzige
Juden) constitute the lowest class of Jews after proste yidn
politics.html>. Yiddish also provides a euphemism for this class in
àåøçé ôÌøçé (orkhe porkhe). If treated as loshn-koydesh, this phrase
means fleeting travelers, itinerants or hoboes, but porkhe is
probably the Polish word porch, which means a scabby, mangy, low-
class, mean, stingy, nasty or vulgar person. Porch (adjective
parszywy) overlaps in connotation to a large extent with shmutsik or
Not only can the traditional Yiddish class terminology still be
heard in Israel albeit often in Modern Israeli Hebrew calques, but
far too many Israeli and non-Israeli Jews have no reluctance
whatsoever to slander Arabs as dirty, and the phrase arabushim
melukhlakhim is on the lips of far too many Hebrew-speaking Jews.
Here is an example of Zionist Jewish defamation of Arabs from
Theodor Herzl's book Alt-Neuland (Old New Land).
Kingscourt und Friedrich beeilten sich auch fortzukommen. Sie fuhren
auf der schlechten Eisenbahn nach Jerusalem. Auch auf diesem Wege
Bilder tiefster Verkommenheit. Das flache Land fast nur Sand und
Sumpf. Die mageren ker wie verbrannt. Schwzliche Dfer von Arabern.
Die Bewohner hatten ein rberhaftes Aussehen. Die Kinder spielten
nackt in Stranstaube.
Kingscourt and Friedrich hurried to get away. They traveled on the
miserable railroad to Jerusalem. Even on this route, scenes of the
deepest depravity. Flat land almost only sand and swamp. The spare
cultivated fields as if scorched. Colorless villages of Arabs. The
inhabitants looked like robbers. The children played naked in the
6. Sympathy with Palestinians, but no desire for conflict with Israel
Ahmadinejad's venomous rhetoric notwithstanding, Iranians don't
spend much time thinking about Israel. They are far more concerned
about Iran's crippled economy and rampant corruption. While the
sympathies of most Iranians fall squarely with the Palestinians,
this is not an issue they feel their country must be a ctively
Likewise, few populations or governments that considered Apartheid
South Africa or Nazi Germany repugnant were spoiling for a war with
either of these two states.
Yet as Jabotinskian Zionist political power wanes in the USA and
Zionist Jewish political economic oligarchs come under increasing
scrutiny, now may not be the time to enter into polite
english.html> with American Zionists.
As more and more gentile and Jewish Americans become critical or
even hostile to the State of Israel, proposing an American tilt from
Israel to Iran makes a lot of sense.
Such a political shift is hardly unprecedented in American history.
Under President Nixon, the United States recognized the PRC as the
legal government of China despite more than two decades of alliance
with the RoC.
Because of the damage that Jabotinksian Neocon Zionists have caused
two.html>, Americans might be willing to entertain an even more
radical shift in foreign policy.
Neocons and Zionist Americans have no problem with regime change,
invasion, and massive population dislocation in Arab and Muslim
countries. Not only is turnabout is fair play, but the Zionist
intelligentsia and its allies shamelessly argue for military
intervention in the Sudan ethough there is a far better argument for
regime change, invasion, and forced transfer of (Zionist interloper)
population in the case of Israel than there ever was in the case of
Iraq or is in the case of the Sudan. As a side effect of declaring
Israel a terrorist enemy state, the US government could force those
responsible for wrecking the US economy
to pony up the cash and assets to fix it. At the very least, if the
USA treated Israel as an enemy state, Arabs and Muslims would no
longer consider American leaders hypocritical in claiming to support
democracy, human rights and anti-racism.
Iranians will fiercely defend their independence and territory, yet
they have no desire for conflict with Israel. Iranians remember
Alexander's sacking of Persia, the Arab conquest in the seventh
century C.E., the Mongol invasion, and the 1953 CIA coup against
Iran's democratically elected prime minister. But there is no
recollection of any conflict with the Jewish people because there
hasn't been one. Most Iranians would like to keep it that way.
Of course, Iranians have no historical memory of conflict with the
Jewish people. The Jewish people is a modern construct
<http://mondediplo.com/2008/05/18invented> less than 200 years old.
Conversely modern German and E. European Yiddish Jews have no
historical relationship with Persian-speakers even if some of the
ancestral pre-Ashkenazi populations
* that lived in the region of the Black sea and
* that were probably incorporated into the Judaizing Khazar
jewry.html> may have had kinship connections to populations within
neighboring Iranian political entities.
Yet Zionists do have scriptural sources like the Book of Esther that
can be used to incite hostility against Iranians
jewry.html>, and no Iranian political entity, whatever its
ideological or religious orientation, is likely to accept
permanently a status quo in which any Levantine entity has hegemony
over a region that Iranian states have historically considered their
natural geopolitical sphere of influence.
Roi Ben-Yehuda is an Israeli-American writer living in Spain. He is
a regular contributer to Jewcy and France 24. His blog can be read
at Roi's Word Weblog<http://roiword.wordpress.com/>
Dr. Trita Parsi is the author of "Treacherous Alliance - The Secret
Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US" Yale University Press, 2007), a
Silver Medal Recipient of the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur
Ross Book Award, the most significant award for a book on foreign
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