Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] What Ahmadinejad actually said - lost in translation...

From: Ian Hunt (ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU)
Date: Mon Jan 22 2007 - 17:31:55 EST

There is a significant difference between claiming that the
disappearance of a Zionist state (a "regime") is (morally) necessary
and saying that one has the ambition of wiping a state off the map.
The two differences are: (a) the first does not imply that the
Iranian state will be the agent, while the second does; (b) the first
implies "regime change", while the second goes further to suggest a
change in political boundaries. Just how much difference there is in
practice is a debatable point but there is a significant difference.
The reported version supports the idea of Iranian aggression whereas
the second merely confirms long standing Iranian hostility to Zionism.

Characteristically, most Western public debate skates around the
obvious rationale for an Iranian bomb, supposing that is Iran's aim
(I am not suggesting that it is - Juriaan makes some good points
about the long term realism of nuclear power for Iran-but it is just
common sense to consider that possibility). The only intelligible aim
would be to counter any threat from Israel to use nuclear weapons
against its neighbours. This would clearly weaken the capacity of
Israel to dictate terms in settlements with Syria and in returning
the West bank and East Jerusalem to Palestinians.

The idea peddled in our media that the aim would be to strike against
Israel first is absurd. No Iranian President, however deranged he may
be, is likely to attack Israel first, since that would bring massive
retaliation from the US, which would in turn be tolerated by other
nuclear powers. Instead of realistic discussion based on the reality
of Israel's nuclear weapons we are fed nonsense about the apocalyptic
dreaming of Ahmadinejad, which is consistent with Israel's policy of
'nuclear ambiguity'. But setting the agenda on false terrain so that
genuine issues do not get discussed is all too characteristic of
Western media.

>"Ahmadinejad did not say
>that at all, in Farsi. What he said was "The Imam said this regime occupying
>Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise"
>I'm sorry if I have missed something here, but how is this statement
>that much different from the statement circulated in Western media -
>except for the alleged overdrive? He quotes the Imam saying that
>Israel must "vanish" and he thinks that "this statement is very
>wise". It sounds to me pretty much as if he is saying that Israel
>should not exist at all, which is really the point in his speech
>that caused all this havoc in the first place.
>What one should do however, is to try to put this quote into its
>political and historical context, and we could perhaps also compare
>it to "wartime rhetorics" by G.W. Bush (war on terrorism) of V.
>Putin (chechnyen terrorists), and not least Israeli politicians, who
>can be equally naughty. I think then that what is really frightening
>is how on all sides of the globe we have a development into a more
>populist and nationalist political framework.
>Kind regards,

Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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