Sunday, March 22, 2009

A call to join the 'Enlightened' ones. Part 1: Chosen? Who knows. Arrogant? Absolutely

The Israeli President Shimon Peres for a casual looker may look like a nice grandfatherly figure. He is soft spoken and has a way with words. But do not let appearances fool you. He suffers from the same flaws like most, if not all of Israel's leadership. Whether explicitly spoken or not, the sense of 'chosenness' and supremacy that entitles them to give advice and tell everyone else that they, Israelis, know what is best for the rest of all of us.

A couple of days ago, and on the occasion of the Persian new year, Peres decided to be nice to Iranians and sent them an open happy new year. It started on a friendly note offering blessings etcetera. Then came the usual 'but' - and when Peres says something nice there is always a 'but' soon to follow.

Peres goes on to suggest to the Iranian people that their leadership is leading them to on wrong path, and he 'informs' them that in their own country there is "There is great unemployment, corruption, a lot of drugs and a general discontent?".
Then the father of the Israeli atomic bomb opens their eyes to the fact that they "cannot feed their children enriched uranium."
".. [your children] need a real breakfast. It cannot be that the money is invested in enriched uranium and the children are told to remain a little hungry, a little ignorant."
I do not swear obscenities, but for those who would like to swear, permission to swear is granted.

This is supposed to be a message of friendship to the Iranian people. But for the arrogant Israeli politicians, such an insult to one of the proudest people on the planet is meant as a nice thing to say. That does not surprise me thought. Israel has always been an arrogant nation. And arrogance has always run deep into the behavior of its institutions: religious, diplomatic, political and military.

And it is easy to be arrogant when you succeed quickly. But it is important not to forget that while, establishing yourself as a country, your back side was covered at all times by one or two superpowers that provided you with money, weapons, veto power on regular basis in the UN and other world communities (not to mention nuclear expertise, heavy water to start your nuclear weapons program, and turned a blind eye to your nuclear activities). I guess an adolescent that gets that kind of blind support while growing up ends up being an arrogant spoilt brat.

And what is more aggravating is that while Peres was preaching civility to Persia, and advising Iranians to 'reclaim their place among the enlightened nations his own country was facing the uncovering of some not-so-enlightened things itself.

And I am not talking about occupying parts of several countries around it, oppressing whole people under inhumane and demeaning occupation, confiscating Arab land, 'administratively' detaining Palestinians for years with no charges, and demolishing homes in East Jerusalem as well as in the west bank.

I am talking about the 'enlightened' military policy that Israel's army - famously claimed as the 'most moral army on Earth' - has freely exercised in Gaza while punishing Gaza people and Hamas fighters. The same day Peres was pouring his wisdom into the ears of Iranian people, some of his military personnel; were pouring their hearts out trying to relief their conscience of the guilt that Israel government has burdened them with.

In part Two of this posting, I included few paragraphs and photos taken verbatim from the Israeli Daily Haaretz (by various authors), from New York Times article by NYT Jerusalem Bureau chief Ethan Bronner, and Richard Silverstein's blog Tikun Olam. They include some opinions but are mostly quotations from Israeli military individuals who were fed up, to their credit, with the hypocrisy they were forced to live through : claiming moral high grounds, and behaving like criminals. So, let us hear it from horse's mouth.
See Part Two: : Institutional Immorality of Gaza War 2009
Then, my final note:

Peres concluded his speech, at least as per what Haaretz published, with some rant about Ahmadinejad and his silly stance towards the Holocaust with this:
They are destroying their people, but they won't destroy us so fast. We've heard, over the 4,000 years of our existence, many speeches, many anti-Semites, many people who wanted to destroy us - we survived and they didn't.
President Peres: After close to 40 centuries, most of it in diaspora, you should have learned that arrogance and condescension may not the best foundation to a long lasting survival as a people and a nation. Jews worked hard for their national revival, but that revival occurred over the shoulder of world superpowers. It is not a reflection of your will alone, but also of how the powerful ones in the world deemed your existence 'acceptable' (or even necessary) at this moment of history.

Do not forget that many of the powers that helped you exist today, were the powers that lead to your people's demise and your near extermination in the past, so do not count on their eternal commitment. And when you brag about the
survival of your nation that barely cerebrated its 60th birthday, have some humility when you speak to a nation, like Iran, that has some 50 centuries of lasting and significant existence in the world.

And given your own people's painful history, and the shakable racial and ethnic foundations of your modern country, if one has to bet on which country will be around in another century or two: Iran or Israel in its current shape, which one you would put your money on?

And remember this:

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:17-18)


  1. I'm not sure what the purpose of this post is. Peres on the other hand has a point. You can't feed your children enriched uranium. Why is the Israeli President telling them? Because the Iranian leadership is spending resources to harm Israel (Hezbollah) at the Iranian people's expense. Iran is a beautiful country led by a man who can't be moved from office because he claims to talk to God.

    Perhaps if you cared more about the Persians' well being and less about some Israeli soldiers' bad taste in fashion, we'll get somewhere. Every Arab and Persian nation has chanted for the cause of Palestine while turning their people blind to their own problems with dictatorships etc.

    At least Peres is willing to be warm with the Iranians. "Death to Israel". "Happy new year." Who's the jerk?

    And what's the deal with "Chosen" in the title? You don't even understand what it means so why are you mocking it?

    First Israel is ignorant. Then it is arrogant. What would it be next? Racist? Oh right, it's not April 20th yet.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran has only existed since 1979. And Israel was only fully supported by the US after '67. And I wouldn't put much weight on a piece of paper with hand written notes on them discovered two months after the war and is dated to January of 2008.

  2. I think Mr. Hamid blog is a breath of fresh air. He brings insight to complex problem with factual and realistic approach. I am tired of repeat of same pro-Isreli stories from media which distort and mold all the truths and facts into pro-Israeli agenda. Justice and human dignity is lost. Mr. Hamid effort is commendable and a great service for America and the whole world. Mr. Hamid, thank you for the service to Human beings and this world by trying to make this world a better place for all of us.

  3. For various views and interpretation on 'chosen people' see:
    Some Jews believe it one way, and some don't. I am not generalizing,

    As for my use of the word; I used it because I see most Israeli leaders behave as if they subscribe to the Orthodox use of the term (see link above).

    It is the same way Avraham Burg, ex-Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and speaker of the Knesset, felt right wing Israeli's adopt it.
    See "The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes" reviewed in The Diplomatic World" here
    by Eric Rouleau.
    "Throughout the book Burg contrasts the “Judaism of the ghetto”, whose racism he deplores, with “universal Judaism”, whose humanism he supports. He rejects the Old Testament notion that the Jews are God’s chosen people, as that amounts to a claim of racial superiority. “The cancer of racism is eating away at us,” he told the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth in 2003."

    It is this understanding on the term "Chosen People" that Burg saw in some his fellow Israelis, and that I see in the behavior of many Israeli leadership figures.

    As for the rest if issues you raised, a re-read from someone else's eyes may show you a different angle to it.