Sunday 4 July 2010

Is Ahmadinejad Trying to Prepare the Groundwork?

Iranian president Ahmadinejad never loses an opportunity to criticise Israel or to suggest that the "Zionist entity" has no legitimate place on the world map. Although other leaders around the world, even the western world, may hold the same views, none has the audacity of the Iranian president to make these statements in such a public and confrontational way. Ahmadinejad has shown the audacity to go as far as even using the platform of the United Nations to make his outrageous and unacceptable declarations. Besides simply demonstrating the sort of anti-Semite that he is, what is really driving Ahmadinejad to continue making these statements?

The fact that he has the nerve to make such speeches is one thing. One may be prepared to accept this as coming from an uncouth and undesirable anti-Semite. The real problem is that the world seems to stand by and tolerate this most public and unacceptable display of racism without little more than a whisper or a murmur behind closed doors. By standing by and allowing Ahmadinejad to rant on without visibly standing up to criticise his public racism, the world essentially condones and accepts his behaviour. This, in turn, sends a dangerous message to the citizens of the world about what can be tolerated, and what is unacceptable.

The tactic that has been adopted by Ahmadinejad is clear, and has been successfully employed many times before. Over time, if Ahmadinejad continues to de-legitimise Israel in the way that he has been doing to date, the public will be tuned to accept any negative events that may befall Israel. An action such as an attack on Israel will simply be the next step in his strategy, and is likely to be accepted by the broader public as an entirely logical action in light of the substantial groundwork that has been done in preparing public opinion. Those who have been convinced that his statements are well founded will rejoice in any action taken to destroy Israel, and those who are not convinced will likely stand by and watch because they will have been readied to anticipate this as a logical next step.

Examples can be cited where the same tactic has been employed with great success. The implementation of Apartheid in South Africa also used a campaign of de-legitimisation before enacting the racism into law. By the time the racist policies were placed on the statute books, the general public was not only ready for this, it even expected that the legislation was necessary on the back of the substantial public campaign to make certain groups of people look like inferior citizens. The same tactics were used when forcing Jews to live in the Pale of Settlement during the 19th century and up to the end of the First World War. The general public was honed to accept that Jews were creatures that most people would not want to associate with, or live alongside. The action of expelling them to the shtetls (small Jewish towns) was supported by most citizens.

The most extreme, and perhaps most successful example of this strategy was employed by the Nazis prior to the Second World War. In the same way as Ahmadinejad does now, the Nazis never missed an opportunity to blame the Jews and to discredit them as human beings. By the time the extermination camps were built and the Shoah (the Jewish genocide during the Second World War) was initiated, the German population was fine-tuned to accept, tolerate and even desire that the Nazi government would take such action against the Jews. It was a logical next step to act out on the propaganda that the public had been fed about the Jews.

It is this strategy which Ahmadinejad and his cohorts are employing, and achieving some success. Even in our internet age where people are better informed and better able to make up their minds in an independent way, this propaganda is having an impact. I feel sure that there would be outrage if a Kassam or Katyusha rocket would be fired towards the sovereign territory of the USA, Sweden or New Zealand. In Israel, however, the world does not even receive the reports of the tens of rockets that are fired towards its sovereign territory on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is accepted as part of the landscape and not worthy of even reporting the event in the international press. The expectations have been set that firing rockets at Israel is "acceptable". There is no international outcry, no condemnation and no outrage. There is simply silent acceptance that this is the way that things are.

For Ahmadinejad, the first stage has been achieved. Israel can be publicly discredited and belittled without fear of international recriminations. Missiles can be fired at Israeli civilians without the world even noticing. The next stage is to ready the world for a missile attack that could kill vast numbers of Israelis or destroy Israel. Sufficient propaganda to convince the world that the "Zionist entity" does not deserve to have its rightful place in the family of nations may cause people to turn a blind eye to this as well. Perhaps, like in the Shoah, the public will expect Iran and the Arabs to follow up their propaganda and rhetoric with actions to destroy the State of Israel.

We live in a time when thousands of innocent citizens in Darfur, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and other places can be exterminated in the most evil way while the world looks by, or looks the other way. The notion that these people are not of sufficient value for the world to step in to assist them before the tragedy, or that they may somehow deserve this treatment still seems to exist.

For Israel and Jews around the world, this is the moment when the Israel Defence Force (IDF) steps in to take corrective action. When foreigners try to intervene to ship weapons and arms to our enemies who seek to destroy us, the Israeli Navy will intercept the shipments and prevent this danger. Even if the operation does not quite go according to plan, the message is clear. While the world sits back and allows such actions to take place before their eyes, the IDF will not. While Ahmadinejad trashes Israel on every international platform, the IDF will act against him and his allies to protect Israel and all Jews, no matter what the opinion of the international community.

It is a shame that the international community continues to be so gullible in its views, and so impotent in standing up to threats of this type and genocides which too frequently still occur. The truth is that Ahmadinejad may not be satisfied with directing his attentions only towards Israel. Bin-Laden and others have shown that all western countries are on their radar, and not exempt from terrorist activities. Israel is a proud nation whose citizens are willing and able to stand up to this threat. Past events have proved this on countless occasions, and no amount of groundwork done by Ahmadinejad can change this.

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