Why These Iranian Demonstrations Are Different from Those of 2009

The current wave of protests spreading across Iran are without precedent in the Islamic Republic’s 37-year history, explains Majid Rafizadeh. Unlike others, he writes, these are aimed at overthrowing the clerical regime:

In 2009, during the popular uprising known as the “Green Movement,” people were protesting against rigged elections and the presidency of the anti-Semitic politician Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chants of “Where is my vote?” echoed through the streets, while the government ratcheted up its power to silence the protestors.

Now, people are demanding not just limited reforms but regime change. After almost four decades of living under a theocracy—with Islamist mullahs controlling them, rampant corruption, and the regime’s persistent dissemination of propaganda—the people have reached the boiling point.

The government has been doing all it can to [channel popular rage into chants of] “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” But now protesters, risking their lives, are chanting, “Death to Khamenei”—a serious crime according to the clergy, and punishable, according to the sharia law of the regime, with death. . . . [Other] chants being heard all over the nation are, “Forget about Palestine, forget about Gaza, think about us” [and] “Death to Hizballah.” . . . The outcry leaves no question about the needs of the people, and the real voice of Iran. . . .

The Trump administration in the United States is taking the right side by supporting the Iranian people; they are the principal victims of the Iranian regime and its Islamist agenda. . . . Let [America] not be on the side of history that would remain silent in the face of such crimes against humanity; let us not join the ranks of other dictators, terrorists, and criminals who turned a blind eye to the will of brave, innocent people.

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More about: Ali Khamenei, Donald Trump, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs


Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times