Against Iran, Israel Remains the Last Line of Defense

June 29 2022

With the Islamic Republic drawing ever closer to producing nuclear weapons, and the United States increasingly disengaged from the Middle East, only the Jewish state has the will, ability, and courage to stop the ayatollahs. So argues Reuel Marc Gerecht:

Zionist hard power has unquestionably deterred Iran: neither Tehran nor Hizballah have let loose missiles, from Iran or Lebanon, for the substantial damage the Jewish state has wrought in Syria. Or in Lebanon: Jerusalem launched Operation Northern Shield in December 2018—a major preemptive action to destroy tunnels Hizballah was building from southern Lebanon into Israel. [But] neither Northern Shield nor the killing in Syria of Revolutionary Guard personnel nor the substantial destruction of Iranian materiel has moved Tehran or Hizballah to up the conventional-military ante.

If the Iranians go nuclear following Israeli inaction and the Gulf states, seeing the prevailing Persian winds, curtail their dealings with Jerusalem, setting in motion again Zion’s isolation, Israelis could shrug it off. Israel has long lived with such ostracism. But it would, nonetheless, be a bad turn of events. Iranian expansionism wreaks havoc wherever it gains traction, searching for ideological, credal, and ethnic fault lines. Iran’s own sharp internal divisions have unquestionably made the clerical regime sensitive to and clever about such stress.

All of Israel’s Arab neighbors in Asia are riven with fractures that could easily expand. It would be a biting irony if the fears—revolutionary Persian Shiism and a retrenching America—that have finally brought many Sunni Arabs closer to the Jewish state ultimately drove Sunni Arabs closer to Iran. Wicked ironies aren’t, of course, uncommon in the Middle East.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Middle East

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter