Ayatollah Khamenei’s “Free Palestine” Poster: Heavy on Holocaust Imagery, Light on Palestinian Freedom

In the first year of his reign in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini instituted Quds Day (literally, Jerusalem day), a public holiday observed with rallies and calls for Israel’s destruction. To honor the occasion this year, the office of Khomeini’s successor, Ali Khamenei, released a celebratory poster advocating for a “final solution” to the problem posed by the Jewish state. Arash Azizi writes:

The 2020 poster is headlined “Palestine Will Be Free.” In a cartoonish style reminiscent of the Where’s Waldo series, it shows a group of people who have apparently conquered the courtyard of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque. The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background. The holy mosque is emblazoned with a picture of Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force who was assassinated by the Americans in January. But the most significant feature of the poster is its unmistakable subtitle: “The final solution: resistance until referendum.”

In addition to the [appalling] subtitle, other features of the poster betray Iran’s attitude to the Palestinians. There is no flag of Iran, but there are flags of Iran’s Shiite partners in the region, such as Lebanon’s Hizballah. There are large pictures of Khamenei and Khomeini, plus those of the Hizballah figures Hassan Nasrallah and Imad Mughniyeh, but hardly any images of Palestinian national figures. There is a small picture of Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian imam and the founding figure of Hamas, assassinated by Israel in 2004. There are only three women in the picture, all wearing the Islamic hijab, and one holding a baby.

This is . . . the “free” Palestine imagined by Khamenei: inspired by Adolf Hitler, for men only, where icons of the Islamic regime of Tehran loom large without any sign of the rich repertoire of Palestinian national life.

Read more at Iran Wire

More about: Ali Khamenei, Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran, Palestinians

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy