Israel, Palestinians, and Iran– Propaganda vs. Reality

Karim Sadjadpour, and analyst with the International Crisis Group, and Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, published an article on Iran in the Boston Globe on December 23 that I found refreshingly clear in its perspective.  I have excerpted a segment below– the full article is important and worth reading:

Whatever the calculations of Iran’s new president, throughout nearly three decades of calls for the ”liberation of Jerusalem," Iran’s revolutionary regime has never come to terms with an essential reality: There exists no inherent reason why the Israeli-Palestinian struggle should be an overriding concern to the average Iranian. Iran has no territorial disputes with Israel, no Palestinian refugee problem, a long history of contentious relations with the Arab world, and an even longer history of tolerance vis-à-vis the Jewish people. To this day, the Jewish community in Iran is the largest in the Middle East outside of Israel.

Beset by practical concerns such as double-digit inflation and unemployment, Iran’s youthful population is well aware of the fact that the ideological hubris of their parents’ generation — often a half-baked hodgepodge of anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism, Islamism, and Marxism — has borne the country little fruit apart from a soiled international reputation and political and economic isolation. During the 2003 summer student protests, one popular slogan, delivered in lilting Persian, was ”forget about Palestine, think about us!"

Increasingly isolated abroad and beleaguered at home, Ahmadinejad would be wise to remember that his electoral mandate was not to fight Israel, but rather to alleviate an economic situation that, for many Iranians, teeters between subsistence and poverty. In making blusterous statements that only increase Iran’s isolation, however, Ahmadinejad’s impact will likely tip that balance toward greater poverty. In their relentless calls for justice and democracy in the holy land, Iran’s leaders incorrectly assume that the Iranian population wants more for the Palestinians than they want for themselves.

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