Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Pre-Emptive Strike Against Chirac
By DIANA JOHNSTONE
"Four years ago, French President Jacques Chirac saw the Iraq disaster looming and openly warned against it. It was by far the best thing he ever did in his political life, and he is not to be allowed to do it again.
Today another, potentially even greater disaster is looming as Israel and the United States ostentatiously prepare to bomb Iran on the pretext of preventing "a second holocaust". But this time around there is a curious absence of the public opposition and mass protest demonstrations that preceded the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
It is as though the enormity of events and the comforts of daily life have caused the Western world to give up thinking about grave matters and to take refuge in officially inspected and approved platitudes. Debate is replaced by an alarm system that sends up cries of scandal at any deviation from the accepted discourse......
The alarm bells went off. The "scandal" of Chirac's politically incorrect remarks was the top front page news story in both U.S. and French newspapers.....
First of all, it showed that the French President, a lame duck in the midst of an election campaign to replace him, is too isolated to be able to oppose war against Iran as he opposed war against Iraq. The media are there to shoot him down before he gets off the ground, first of all the newspapers that continue to enjoy the label "leftist", "left-leaning" or "center-left" -- mainly Libération and Le Monde -- but which in reality have become the guardians of Atlanticist orthodoxy (devotion to a "European unity" closely tied to the United States). Chirac's own political party was snatched away from him by his ambitious enemy Nicolas Sarkozy, who has publicly criticized Chirac's departure from the American fold over the war against Iraq. Sarkozy's demonstrations of devotion to Washington and Tel Aviv have won him the enthusiastic support of the organized Jewish community, increasingly inspired by the U.S. pro-Israel lobby......
To get back to the supposed threat to Israel from Iran, a most interesting comment from Israeli Deputy Defense minister Ephraim Sneh was cited by Seymour Hersh in his November 21, 2006 piece in The New Yorker on the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran. Expressing skepticism about the possibility of influencing Iran by diplomatic means, Sneh said:
"The danger isn't as much Ahmadinejad's deciding to launch an attack but Israel's living under a dark cloud of fear from a leader committed to its destruction... Most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with families, and Israelis who live can live abroad will... I am afraid Ahmadinejad will be able to kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button."
This is truly an amazing statement that deserves careful attention. The Israeli official is suggesting that a war should be launched against a country, not because of what it may do, but because the fear of what it may do risks "killing the Zionist dream". This suggests that the fear of another holocaust, which has been the main argument for Zionism for half a century, is turning around to destroy Zionism itself.
But are we to plunge the world into war to "save the Zionist dream"? Isn't there some other way for Jews to live in the world without fear of genocide? Indeed, hasn't Zionist Israel become the greatest threat to Jews, by attaching them to the fate of a brutal state which is arousing the growing indignation of the world by its treatment of the Palestinians?
For a long time, there has been an unwritten law that only Jews (at risk of being called "self-hating") may criticize Zionism. But things have gone too far. This aggressive paranoia of Israel is not just a "Jewish question", it is dragging the whole world into disaster. Those of us who are not Jewish also have to speak up and say to our Jewish friends:
"We don't want to kill you, but we don't want to die for your Jewish State either. We are all human beings, and we refuse to plunge the world into war to preserve distinctions of identity that may mean a lot to you, but don't mean much of anything to us.""