Flower delivery in Iran


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Opinion * FAQ * Write for The Iranian
* Editorial policy

Think wider
Iran and Israel: Tribalism

By Moji Agha
August 24, 2001
The Iranian

In regards to the recent thought provoking and controversial editorial in iranian.com ["Just wondering"] much has been said. I don't want to re-present the thoughts and feelings that have been so far expressed -- some more eloquently than others -- rather I want to add my two cents to this timely debate.

One perspective that has been articulated, but only partially, is that how Iran deals with Israel should be decided on the basis of Iran's national interests. I agree wholeheartedly and want to add to this aspect of the debate.

To provide additional context, I also want to share with you my recent e-mail exchange with Amotz Asa-El, Editor-in-Chief of The International Jerusalem Post -- apprarently the "Kayhan" of Jerusalem, with regards to the quality of its journalism, especially in his recent editorial (I will quote his concluding paragraph later on). It shows that ideological tribalistic "journalism" has many faces.

As far as Iran's national interests are concerned, I think they should be considered in two different contexts: a) with regards to Iran's present interests, and b) with a view toward Iran's long-term survival in the context of the survival of life on our "puny" Earth -- for now to the foreseeable future that is all we living beings have for a home. Maybe far in the future some of us will find a way to escape to some other planet. But for now let us not defecate even more in our small and over-populated cage.

Back to Earth: If the sentiments expressed in the editorial below are any indication, Israel does not see herself as a "friend" of Iran. Thus, Iran should treat it accordingly and in the context of her respective national interests. These include Iran's defensive strength and her need for peace and stability, so that she can survive and prosper in her no nonsense neighborhood. Both of these requirements speak to Iran becoming politically and economically strong.

Now, I believe Iran should evaluate, free of ideological bias of any kind, if her policies vis-a-vis Israel have been EFFECTIVE. From this vantage point, we should level-headedly examine if Iran has been successful in dealing with her main regional adversary, Israel.

In my opinion, Iran's post-revolutionary policy toward Israel has been independent, namely, not dictated by any foreign power. This is quite precious. On the other hand, no matter how much Iran has talked (in slogan, or shoaar) about being resolute in the face of Israel's adversarial behaviors, her ability in being factually EFFECTIVE in this matter is debatable.

I think if Iran could have concentrated more on increasing its true national strengths, as opposed to the strength of her rhetoric, she would be in a better position now, for example, to be an effective player in trying to make sure that her natural resources are used in the best way possible or to protect the Islamic holy sites and being a more effective friend to the defenseless Palestinians.

These three factors are among the many aspects of Iran's multi-faceted national interests, which also include her responsibilities on the scene of civilization AND her ecological destiny in the interest of her future survival, in say, the next 5,000 years of her history.

This brings me to the next topic. As our globe shows increasing signs of suffering as a consequence of human self-destructive self-centeredness, Iranians find themselves having to think wider about our "national" interests in this planetary context.

In this regard, we share some interests with those of ALL other inhabitants of the increasingly fragile cosmic "gravel" that we call our home. This includes Israel. I realize that we are not used to think in such terms, let alone to think of Iran's international policy in such planetary light. What I contend here is that we have no choice. I repeat we have NO CHOICE in this matter. Could there be a global blessing disguised in this painful journey? Somehow, I think so.

Now, let us again come back to Earth to look at tribal/ideological ugliness in the face. Thanks to being on the mailing list of the Iranians for International Cooperation, I recently read an online Israeli editorial. In his editorial, Mr. Amotz Asa-El, the Editor-in-Chief of The International Jerusalem Post expressed a lot of Israel-centered ideas. Here is the shockingly surrealistic concluding paragraph of his racist editorial:

".....In fact, in waging war on our infants, he [Arafat] turned on that hidden switch which governs Israelis', and any post-Holocaust Jew's mindset whenever they feel cornered. In such moments, we, who came here 'from the dark,' a mere '50 or 60 years ago,' in order to be precisely where our ancestors built temples, tilled the soil and wrote laws, now have this tendency to do exactly what our forebears in Europe so fatally failed to do: fight."

It outraged me so much that I emailed him this response:

I am a PERSIAN-AMERICAN (not Arab) psychologist. What I see in this paragraph is evidence that you think anyone who says anything "against" you is Hitler. You pay homage to blind violence by doing so. You say we will fight back THIS TIME (rather than being exterminated).

You are a sad victim of your own victimization cycle. Break out of this cycle and you will see that Palestinians are humans (identical to "you" genetically -- they are semites that came from North Africa, like your "forefathers.") who want to raise their children (if you let them) with dignity.

Palestinians are the victims of Israel. They are not Hitler. You are not David this time. Please let the Palestinians and others in the region live, then you will see that we Middle Easterners are a peaceful lot too. We don't have an "Arab" mentality as Jews don't have a "Jewish mentality," as Hitler used to say. All people are INDIVIDUALS.

I really did not expect a response. However, he sent the following rhetorical question as his response to my email:

Thank you, Agha. Have you ever been in Israel?


Amotz Asa-El
The International Jerusalem Post

Faced with his dismissive and patronizing response, and wanting to remind him that people fear Israel (as opposed to the reverse) I wrote:

Why are you asking? I am afraid of your secret police. I am a lover of peace, a Sufi and therefore a "Jew" [among others] -- Sufism and the Kabbalah are "identical" [in spirit].

Why I am afraid of you? Many years ago "your folks" assassinated (through the ADL) a Palestinian activist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and secretly engaged in tapping the phone of and stealing the mail of a number of people involved with the Arab ADL. Your folks are good at "secretly" ruining lives, careers, etc... even of Jews who wake up to see the horrors that are being committed by the so-called "defenders of Jews."

I refer you to read another Jew, Noam Chomsky. Have you read the "Holocaust Industry" by Finklestien?

"Your folks" are doing to Khatami's Iran what was done to Mossadegh in 1953 because "your" interests are mutually dependent as those of "your" "enemy" -- the "horrible right wing conservatives" in Iran. Have you sent them a thank you card lately?

When it comes to "defending" Jews against whomever your "co-cyclists" (those who are enslaved in the victimization cycle, similar to "you") determine to be new Hitlers, then their deep switches ( as you put it) get pushed and they go to "fight" mode.

It does not matter that in the process "you" lose your Davidness and gradually your humanity. One day Israel had a moral appeal as an oppressed people who wanted a homeland (like the Kurds). But unfortunately, your country is losing that moral legitimacy as you are doing to your Palestinian genetic brothers that which was done to you. When are you going to wake up to this reality?

In a very "peaceful" and self-righteous (hagh-bejaaneb and mazloom namaa) fashion he wrote:

Some day we'll meet in peace.

Take care

Amotz Asa-El

Seeing his arrogance I wrote back:

If Israel wants peace...rather than arrogant domination of the region as the "chosen" people...thinking it is a zero sum game! (Have you ever been to Iran?)

I doubt he will respond.


Moji Agha is a visiting scholar at the Center For Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He recently founded a non-profit center for inter-cultural and interfaith dialogue. He has been a teacher of cultural studies, conflict resolution, and cross-cultural psychology.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Moji Agha


Just wondering
Is Israel a threat to Iran?
By Jahanshah Javid

It is our business
Palestine has historically affected us
By Kamran D. Rastegar

Siyaasate vaaqebinaaneh
Realistic (Iranian) view of the Arab-Israeli conflict
By Jan Shiraz

Simple logic
We should not be blind to Israel's ambitions
By Babak Sani

Israel-Turkey vs. Iran-Pakistan
By Zachary Latif

By Moji Agha

U.S. should reassess Iran policies

Reduced to genitals
Feminism's root problem

Mohsen & Bono
Could they work together for a better world?

You owe your raised status to the humility of your chair


Features archive

* Recent

* Cover stories

* Feature writers

* Arts & literature

* Opinion

* Satire

* History

* Interviews

* Travel

* Women

* Rights

* Surveys

* All sections

Flower delivery in Iran
Copyright © Iranian.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact: times@iranian.com
Web design by BTC Consultants
Internet server Global Publishing Group