Monday, January 23. 2006
Ahmadinejad...Liar, Hypocrite, and/or Arabs' Stooge?
by Gerald A. Honigman
Upon the death of Islam's Prophet, Muhammad, in the early 7th century C.E., the armies of his caliphal successors burst out of the Arabian Peninsula and spread out in all directions. Over the next centuries--and continuing to this very day--Arab colonialism and imperial conquests would either directly or indirectly forcibly Arabize millions of native non-Arab peoples.
As just a few examples of this lingering ordeal, in Syria, Kurdish children are currently forced to sing songs praising their "Arab" identity; millions of Black Africans (not only Sudanese) have been killed, enslaved, and so forth in the name of the Arab nation; prominent Copts in Egypt have advised Israel to consent to the same Arabization they have been forced to undergo in order to "be accepted"; Berbers have been slaughtered for asserting their own cultural identity; etc. and so forth. Get the picture?
But before we leave this thought, keep one other key example in mind...
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has recently called on Europe to make a place for Israel's Jews. He, like Arab and other Iranian leaders, calls for Israel's destruction and actively participates--via supplying arms and support to Arab terror organizations and states--in trying to accomplish this even before Iran becomes nuclear.
It seems that the Iranians--who at least partially jumped on the Arab bandwagon centuries ago--have also bought into the Arab delusion...at least when it fits their own needs.
So, Ahmadinejad simply ignores one half of Israel's 6 million Jews who know nothing of "Europe" as a home. They are from Jewish refugee families who fled what Arabs refer to as "purely Arab patrimony" where, despite Arab claims of tolerance, they were commonly known as kilab yahud--Jew dogs--and treated as such. Over a million more of these Jews who fled Arab murder and subjugation live in France, the Americas, and elsewhere as well.
Iran itself, Muslim but not Arab, was the home of over 6,000 Jews who now live in New York. Thousands of other Iranian Jews fled elsewhere.
Iran's Jewish community dates back over 2,500 years--at least since the days when Cyrus liberated them from Babylonian captivity. The Jewish holiday of Purim, recorded in the Bible's Book of Esther, is about this allegedly "European" Jewish community.
Iran supported Judaea's fight for independence against Rome, and on the eve of the Arab conquest itself in the 7th century C.E., an army of tens of thousands of Jews was recorded to have allied themselves to Persian armies fighting the hated Byzantines.
Today, with Jews intimidated, tried as spies for Israel, and the like, there are only some 20,000 Jews remaining in Iran itself. Most of the 100,000 present earlier last century are now in Israel. Indeed, Israel's president, Moshe Katsav, was born in Iran.
Lots more could be elaborated upon here on this subject. Suffice it to say that Ahmadinejad and Iran have simply used the Arab (and others') ploy of denial to further their own national interests. So, he sees no Jews native to the region in his midst. They're all simply European transplants. The Tunisian Jewish professor, the Sorbonne's Albert Memmi, is an important source for all of this. His book, Jews and Arabs, is must reading for anyone wanting to get a sense of balance here. But I've jumped ahead a bit, so let's return now to how this lie has been perpetuated...
In the wake of their own imperial conquests and colonialism of the region, the very definition of "Arab" appears to have been deliberately muddied so to allow for the Arabs to claim the whole region as "purely Arab patrimony." So, the children of Arab fathers, all Arabic speakers, and any who simply wish for convenience sake--i.e. among other things, to escape taxation and subjugation--to identify as such are as "Arab" as the Arabs who conquered and colonized them in the first place from the Arabian Peninsula.
We thus currently speak of twenty-one "Arab " states--where this identity is professed in constitutions and so forth--allowing Arabs to live their lie and delusion. The 22nd (and second, not first, within the original borders of the Palestinian Mandate as Great Britain received it on April 25, 1920...Jordan emerging on some 80% of it after 1922) expects to be born soon...and on the ashes of the Jews' sole, microscopic state--not as its neighbor.
Before the age of nationalism, where one empire after the other (including the Arabs' own caliphal varieties) absorbed numerous different peoples, this had an imperfect unifying effect.
So, with Islam as its main unifying and driving force, Arabs could get non-Arabs like the great Kurdish leader, Salah al-Din, to jump on their bandwagon in furthering the Dar ul-Islam. Recall that these are the people whom Arabs would later massacre, gas, culturally subjugate, and so forth--now, fellow Muslims, mind you--for daring to assert their own identities and demand rights as such. Before Saddam's gassings in "Arab" Iraq, the Kurdish nationalist, Ismet Cherif Vanly, wrote The Syrian (Arab) 'Mein Kampf' Against The Kurds (Amsterdam 1968). The title of the book says it all.
With the 19th century reawakening of dormant ethnic/national identities accompanying the beginning of the collapse of major empires, Arabs saw themselves as sole heirs to most of a region ruled largely by the Turks for the previous five centuries. While diplomats would soon speak of Arabia for the Arabians, Judea for the Jews, Armenia for Armenians, and Kurdistan for Kurds, in Arab eyes, there could be no division of "their" pie. There was no justice in the region other than Arab. And in relation to our discussion about Iran and Israel, it had all started this way...
The Arabian general, Khaled ibn al-Walid, conquered the land of Israel in 634 C.E. from the Byzantines, and not long afterwards, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari led the invasion of Iran from Basra via its current, oil-rich, southwestern Khuzestan province.
By Roman times, the land of Israel had been renamed Judaea. After the first major revolt of the Jews for independence against their mighty conquerors, Rome issued Iudaea Capta coins, found in museums all over the world today. After the second revolt in 133-135 C.E., Hadrian got fed up with the Jews' persistence (and Roman losses) and tried to stamp out their hopes for freedom once and for all. He renamed the land itself after the Jews' historic enemies, the Aegean or eastern Mediterranean, non-Semitic Philistines--Syria Palaestina.
Like vultures wanting their share of the kill, some neighboring Arabs joined the Romans in their assault on the Jews.
Arabs like to claim that they were the aboriginals in the land. In reality, while the coastal region was sometimes identified by the Greeks with Philistine invaders, there was no country or nation known as "Palestine"...ever.
The land was known as Judaea and its inhabitants were Judaeans... Jews.
Tacitus and Dio Cassius were famous Roman historians who wrote extensively about Judaea's attempt to remain free. They lived and wrote during, or not long after, the two major revolts of the Jews mentioned above and make no mention of the land being called "Palestine" or its people "Palestinians." And as can be seen below, they knew the differences between Jews and Arabs as well.
Listen to this quote from Vol. II, Book V, The Works of Tacitus:
Titus was appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea... he commanded three legions in Judaea itself... To these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria... amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations.
So much for Arab "aboriginals"...And remember that it was Ahmadinejad's Iran which was the chief ally of the Jews in their fight for freedom against Rome.
Back to the future...
As we have seen, along with the Arab colonialization of Judaea/"Palestine" (along with many other places), Arabs spread into Iran as well. For Arabs, imperialism and colonialism are only nasty when they themselves aren't doing such things.
While Khuzestan traded back and forth between Arab and Iranian rule, it became basically linked to Iran despite repeated Arab invasions over the centuries from southern Iraq. But, despite this link, Khuzestan, according to the Encyclopedia Iranica (p.216), became "extensively Arabized" to the point that in Safavid times (16th-18th centuries C.E.) the province was known as Arabistan.
The Arabs have long remembered this, and Iraqi Arabs under Saddam's banner launched the long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s that was largely fought over this oil-rich and strategically important area.
Earlier, to deal with this problem, Iran ruthlessly suppressed any manifestations of Arab nationalism. By the early 20th century, a proposal had been put forward to even outlaw the Arabic language.
Now think about this a minute...
Like in Iran, Arabs entered the land of Israel/Judaea/Palestine as settlers, imperial conquerors, and colonizers. While this fact of life is true for others as well, Arabs only see in others what they themselves have truly perfected as they conquered and forcibly Arabized over six million square miles of mostly other, non-Arab peoples' lands.
As for their claim to "Palestine," when the United Nations Relief Works Agency--UNRWA--was set up to assist Arab refugees (after a half dozen Arab states invaded a nascent Israel in 1948 to nip it in the bud and their attempt backfired), the very word refugee had to be redefined to assist those allegedly "native" people.
So many Arabs were recent arrivals themselves into the Palestinian Mandate that UNRWA had to adjust the very definition of "refugee" from its prior meaning of persons normally and traditionally resident to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948.
Earlier, the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission documented scores of thousands of Arabs pouring into the land from surrounding countries to take advantage of the economic development going on because of the influx of Jewish capital. Many more entered under cover of darkness and were simply never recorded. And many others had entered just a bit earlier than that with the conquests of Egypt's Muhammad Ali and Ibrahim Pasha in the latter 19th century.
Arab settlers and colonizers...
Now, we're all familiar with the Arab take on this, but how do Iranians like Ahmadinejad see the picture?
Well, at any hint of unrest in Khuzestan/Arabistan, Iran is quick to act in its own national interests--as it should.
So, for example, when Khuzestani Arabs of the Nahda (Renaissance) movement bombed Iranian targets not long ago in Ahwaz and elsewhere, Iran arrested thousands of Arabs and set out to "fix" the problem by any means necessary.
While this is still going on as I write, keep in mind that Iranians are doing likewise to Kurds, Baluchis, and others as well who dare to assert their own political rights. Thousands have been killed as a result over the years in the name of Iranian nationalism.
So, this all begs the question...
Why, in Ahmadinejad's eyes, is Israel supposed to consent to national suicide so Arab colonizers can have their 22nd state and second one in Palestine at the expense of the Jews' one, but Arabistan should not gain independence from Iran as well?
What's good for the goose is good for the gander...no?
Moving on to another related issue, with Iran's continuously blatant threats to Israel's very existence, the reality is that Iran is indeed playing with fire in its baiting of the Jews.
Ahmadinejad & Co. may calculate that Iran can absorb what might be coming and which they are indeed asking for by threatening the Jew of the Nations.
But all peoples must take such threats seriously. And, in light of frequent past experiences over the millennia(Iran's and other Holocaust-deniers notwithstanding), especially Jews.
A few words of advice, however...
If Israel is forced to act, this cannot be done half way. Tit for tat won't work. The location of the Iranian nuclear facilities and its massive armed forces are just part of the problem.
Iran's Hizbullah proxies in southern Lebanon--armed to the teeth with tens of thousands of rockets and such courtesy of Iran and Syria--must be hit massively and simultaneously a la June 5th, 1967 when Israel took out multiple Arab air forces and such. The murderous, rejectionist leadership must be targeted there as well.
If this is not done, at the very least all of northern Israel will pay an unacceptable price.
None of this should be taken lightly...and it isn't, I'm sure.
One could hope that saner minds in Iran will take control of the situation.
Not that long ago, after all, during the days of the late Shah, Jews had it much better. This was true for much of Iran's history after the spread of Islam...ups and downs, often according to whether the mullahs or the shahs were calling the shots.
While Israel's close relationship with the Pahlavis may have complicated matters (but why shouldn't Israel had sought friends in the region...the Shah was no more despotic than anything the Arabs or Iran's own mullahs have to offer?), there still might be hope for a better tomorrow considering the Jews' millennial relationship with the Iranian people.
Yet Israel can't simply wait for "hope" to materialize into something better.
In the meantime, while Ahmadinejad and others try to cover their own rejectionist hatred with lame excuses, please remember them for the liars, hypocrites, and/or Arab stooges that they are.
And when you hear Iranians speak of "Palestine," answer them with Arabistan.
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