Bibi lives in La-La Land. Simply put, the prime minister of Israel and a large number of the Jewish citizens of Israel are in denial.
And here are two pieces of evidence:
1. A left-wing Israeli friend of mine named Eyal called me last week to inform me that Israelis were organizing a rally at Rabin Square to show Iran’s Green Movement Israel’s solidarity.
2. Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu told German daily Bild. “There is no conflict between the Iranian people and the people of Israel and under a different regime the friendly relations that prevailed in the past could be restored.”
You see, Muslims don’t have a problem with Israel, according to Bibi. And Iranians will be happy when they know they have Israeli support, according to Eyal. According to both these right and left-wingers it’s only the Muslim leaders who have a problem with Israel. If only those governments could be changed everything would be BLISSFUL here in the Middle East. The Muslims – Arab, Turkish, Persian – all love us. If it weren’t for a few party-poopers (Hezbollah, Ayatollahs, Baathists, and the Palestinians who give us a really bad name) we would be skiing in the mountains of Lebanon, bargaining in the great souq of Damascus, and buying laptops and digital cameras in Dubai.
Nothing Israel has ever done and nothing Israel can or will do has anything to do with what people think of the Jewish state, according to many Jews, Israeli and not-Israeli. IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM. The only thing separating Israel and Iran from the WONDERFUL DAYS of the Shah when 1700 Israelis lived in Tehran, El-Al flew daily to and fro, and Israeli businessman made millions of dollars from trade, is Khamenei and Friends. If just Ahmedinejad et-al would go away we would be carpet shopping in Isfahan again.
Oh. So Mousavi, the presidential candidate leading the protests, is also from the Islamic revolutionaries? Well, so what. If he can get the government to make a new election, then maybe he can change everything. And then, you know, we’ll become FAST-FRIENDS. Because we have so much in common. Look how they fight for their freedom. Didn’t we fight for ours? Against the Romans? In the Warsaw Ghetto? And to make Israel in 1948? As Bibi told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “I have no doubt everybody in the world is sympathetic to the Iranians’ desire for freedom.” We certainly are. Did you see that video of Neda, who was shot in the chest? The Iranians are victims. We can really relate to that. We’ve got a couple thousand years of experience in that role.
Oh. The Palestinians’ desire for freedom? Aren’t they VICTIMS, you ask? Don’t they go out every Friday to protest in Na’alin and Bilin against their land being confiscated and they get shot in the chest, too – um, by us? Well, it’s all about location. Location. Location. Location. (If they were in Africa we would be very sympathetic.)
Oh. You say it’s not just the Ayatollahs who are upset that we made a state here on the land of their Muslim brothers and continue to oppress the Palestinians? You mean the Iranian citizens also feel bad when they see on TV or read in Ha’aretz how we humiliate, harass, hurt, and kill innocent Palestinians throughout our 42-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza? But we had such great relations with the Iranians when the Shah was around. Like Bibi said, “under a different regime, the friendly relations that prevailed in the past could be restored.”
Eyal, the left-winger, says to me that he wants Iranians to know that there are Israelis here who support their cause.
Yes, I say, but that doesn’t HELP them, because we are their ENEMY. Don’t you see, Eyal, they are scared of US? We threaten them all the time. It will hurt their cause – not help – it if it’s known their sworn enemy supports them. Cancel the rally, I implore (Only about 10 people showed up Saturday night. Not sure if it’s because he heeded my advice.)
In a Facebook discussion with H., an American-Israeli journalist here, I explain that there’s little difference between Israeli and Iranian desires for each others regimes. They don’t like each other and they want the other destroyed, I write on his wall. No, writes back H., “Israel has no problem with ‘Islamic’ regimes – witness Pakistan, Mauritania, etc. – only with Iran’s specifically anti-Israel regime.”
What Bibi, Eyal, and H. don’t realize is that the Iranian people won’t like us no matter who is their leader and we cannot wish for their freedom and at the same time expect that ‘free’ government to not be anti-Israel. Only a Muslim dictator under heavy US influence (e.g. Pakistan and Iran under the Shah), or in a country unable to deal with more wars (Jordan and Egypt) will be on speaking terms with the State of Israel.
Muslim attitudes towards Israel can change. I saw it among Egyptians during the euphoria immediately after Ehud Barak won the elections and everyone thought he would follow in the footsteps of Yitzhak Rabin z”l. For that to happen Jewish Israelis need to first acknowledge that Israel’s brutal and oppressive actions against the Palestinians DO AFFECT other Arabs and Muslims views on Israel.
So while Israelis pray for the Iranian protesters in green, Israelis should also focus on ending the injustices we commit against a people who also want freedom and a state to represent them. Otherwise, we’ll never ever be able to bargain for carpets in Isfahan.