Disarming nonobjective Iran discourse

Ahmedinejad has made Iranian threat clear.

Benjamin Rosenstein

It is with great effort that I have stayed out of the public argument over the Middle East, especially Israel. However, I find myself unable to continue reading the flurry of rhetoric and not develop a discourse. It is with this in mind that I respond to Brad RajekâÄôs counter to Samantha BassâÄô column concerning Israel, the United States and Iran. The author claims BassâÄô article âÄúâĦ elicits only fear and hatred âĦ toward Iran, Iranians and the ShiâÄôas.âÄù Having read BassâÄô piece, I found that no entity other than Iran or IranâÄôs President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was implicated. Rajek states, âÄúBelief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel and the United States âĦ Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war in modern history (unlike the United States or Israel) and … [has] a doctrine of âÄòno first strikeâÄô.âÄù Israel has never started a war. The War of 1948 started with five Arab countries attacking Israel. In 1955, Egypt declared war on Israel when it barred Israel from using the Suez Canal. In 1967, the Six-Day War began after three Arab armies surrounded Israeli borders. The Yom Kippur War in 1973 was a surprise attack on Israel when most families were recognizing the holiest day of the year. In the 1982 Lebanon War, Israel attacked the Palestinian Liberation Organization after it tried to assassinate IsraelâÄôs U.K. Ambassador. The 2006 Lebanon War started after Hezbollah fired rockets into northern Israel (a densely populated area). The Gaza War in 2008 started two years after Israel pulled out of Gaza, leaving it to Hamas âÄî a period marked by continuous rocket fire out of Gaza upon southern Israel (act of war). Why should we trust Ahmadinejad to follow âÄúno first strike,âÄù especially when he says things such as âÄú âĦ The Iranian nation will bloody the [WestâÄôs] nose if they want to violate an iota of our rights âĦ The Iranian nation will not give up until the corrupt leadership in the world has been obliterated âĦâÄù To the authorâÄôs next point: âÄúBelief: Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the map.âÄù To believe Ahmadinejad was only quoting the Ayatollah âÄî and that it was misinterpreted âÄî is very narrow. Take, for example, when he said, âÄúAnybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the Islamic nationâÄôs fury.âÄù Or, âÄúThey say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal âĦ âÄù At a 2007 meeting with U.S. Christian leaders, a cleric asked Ahmadenijad, âÄúCould there be an Iranian guarantee of no violence against Israel with a guarantee of no U.S. aggression?âÄù Ahmadenijad responded by asking for a three-minute break for the interpreter, and never did answer the question. He only stated that the United States and Israel have nuclear weapons. In 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Iran was taken over by young Iranian extremists. One of those holding the hostages was Ahmadenijad. Lastly, I found it disheartening that the author said, âÄú âĦ the writer should report the facts instead of spreading Zionist propaganda âĦâÄù Zionism began in the 1800s as a movement to create a state to protect Jews being persecuted in Europe. Since then, it has become a movement for socialism, equality and freedom in Israel and elsewhere. In 1975, the United Nations took an incredible step in passing Resolution 3379 stating, âÄúZionism is a form of racism.âÄù Since then, Zionism has been used as to attack those who support Israel or condemn Arab nations. However, if you believe in the ideals of peace, freedom and self-determination, you are a Zionist. I hope that those with strong opinions learn to objectify concerns and present the University of Minnesota with a a proper discourse. This is required for the Middle East to ever know peace. Benjamin Rosenstein is an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota. Please send comments to [email protected]