The Jewish question 2.0 and the death of western Democracies -opinion

Insidiously and covertly, the Islamic Republic has weaved its perverse carpet, trapping Western capitals in its knots.

 IRANIANS WALK on a street in Tehran. Iranians do not share in the antisemitism of the Islamic Republic, they are its hostages, says the writer (photo credit: REUTERS)
IRANIANS WALK on a street in Tehran. Iranians do not share in the antisemitism of the Islamic Republic, they are its hostages, says the writer
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran’s perverse ideological footprint was made visible, last week, in the arm that drove Hadi Matar to strike Salman Rushdie to what he intended would be his death.

If the renowned writer survived such a vicious attack, his body will forever bear the marks of intolerance... Western capitals have yet to recognize the madness of such an act of terror, the implacable will of a regime that has plotted our democracies’ demise long ago.

If my travels to the Islamic Republic of Iran have taught me anything, it is that the regime, and by that, I mean those institutions which stand today as the brainchild of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the very architect of what we ought to call Shia Islamic radicalism or better yet theo-fascism, exists in the absolute negation of not only Israel but that of the World Jewry.

Khomeini knew instinctively that although the republic was not initially conceptualized as a vehicle for Jewish hatred, political pragmatism or rather the need to rally Arab favors to his revolutionary project, as well as the ambition to rule unchallenged over the majority Sunni Islamic World, he had to support a cause so righteous and worthy that it would suffer no contention and allow even the Shia apostate to find favors among the most fervent adherents of Sunni Islam.

Thus, Iran’s support of Palestine was born

From that pedestal was raised the system we see today: a sprawling dragon that has worked for decades to claim more capitals to its ideology so that it would suffocate its enemies, forever gaining more ground and thus geopolitical leverage against those who would dare to challenge its legions. Insidiously and covertly, the Islamic Republic has weaved its perverse carpet, trapping Western capitals in its knots.

Iran cannot stop, neither can it reform nor renege on its fascism. We would be fools to expect it ever could or even would want to. As we sit at the very edge of the proverbial precipice, self-preservation should take precedent over blind optimism. There are tragedies we cannot come back from and I fear that our miscalculation on all things Iranian may have led us beyond the point of no return.

Readers, I hope, will take stock of my warnings, which I have taken great pains in repeating at the risk of sounding like a broken record, as what follows must be understood within its proper context.

If Iran has often played rhetorical war games with Israel, always threatening to exact revenge against its perceived infractions, the leadership has spent much time, effort and resources conjuring up an action plan against both Israel and the world Jewry – the latter being, in its eyes, the expression of the former’s ability to exert influence outside its territories.

You will recall, I’m sure, the recent coverage of Iran’s plot to target Israeli interests in the Middle East and Tehran’s appetite for media exposure, when it leaked its hit-list to the press, taunting, as it were, Jerusalem.

As part of its long-term nuclear development strategy and risk mitigation, Iran devised a containment plan against both Israeli and Western interests several years ago, with a view of buying itself a space from which to guarantee the continuity of its military pursuits and thus guarantee its continuation.

To put it simply, Iran decided to resort to unsavory tactics against its appointed enemies long ago, as it goes about becoming a nuclear power, knowing full-well that once it acquires such technology, countries would have no other choice but to contend with a new reality.

If the plan baffles the mind by the implacability of the hatred underwriting it, it also serves as a powerful reminder of the threat Iran poses to our collective security, by virtue of its pursuit for a global war.

And although many capitals still hope to placate the Iranian dragon by arguing peace and normalization, it stands evident in the face of such information that the Islamic Republic seeks not redemption but expansionism by every mean necessary.

Locked in a war it deems theological against Israel, Iran wants to paint the region and the world to the colors of its Islamic ideology, and in doing so bring about the return of its awaited messiah: Imam Mahdi.

Since its very inception, Iran, through Sepah, another name for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has resorted to blackmail, kidnapping, and assassination as useful tools to exert influence both within and without its borders. Established to protect the Islamic Republic’s political doctrine and system, the IRGC operates a state within the state, at the behest of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Iran’s campaign against Israel’s interests in the Middle East ought to be looked at within this optic of containment.

BACK IN 2017, I was made privy to an ongoing conversation Sepah had been hosting for well over a decade, so that it could better isolate Jewish communities throughout the diaspora and force Israel off its axis. Allow me to elaborate.

No distinction between Jews and Israel

The Islamic Republic makes no distinction between Jews and Israel, and within this logic harming one equates to harming the other.

If the rationale may seem crude, it is not without merit. Indeed, while not all Jews are Israelis, it is also true that Israel feels somewhat responsible for the welfare of the Jewish Diaspora, and would, if need be, intervene. From the regime’s perspective, an attack on either or both matters little as long as it translates its core message: that all are a target in Tehran’s eyes and that safety is never to be found.

In twisted genocidal logic, the regime’s men long for a return of the Diaspora back to Israel. As one now deceased general told me rather abruptly, “Having all Jews in one country makes it a lot easier! The cancer must be eradicated, never to be allowed to return.” I don’t believe such words need subtitles. The inference was as clear as it was chilling.

What struck me most at this moment was not the desire to cause harm to an entire community of people by virtue of both their faith and ethnicity, it was the nonchalance with which such ideas were expressed: Mass murder rolled off the tongue of Iran’s ideologues with spectacular ease.

I would like to make clear here that there is an important distinction to be made between the regime and Iranians. Iranians do not share in the antisemitism of the Islamic Republic, they are its hostages. It would be a grave injustice to imagine even for a second that Iranians as a whole exist in hatred of Israel and the Jews.

They do not. And if one was to walk the streets of Isfahan, one would recognize in the architecture of this splendid city the mark of Judaism. Indeed, it was Jewish merchants who long ago gave the city its unique identity, vibrance and tradition.

The 2017 Conference allowed for many conversations to take place. Even if only for a few days, Iran’s Axis of Resistance came together under one roof – a meeting of minds the regime was quite keen to capitalize on and, as I discovered, advance.

Tehran seldom acts randomly

I have learned that even if decisions may feel disjointed, they almost always fit within a precise narrative. It is really a question of figuring out how the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Arrogantly assuming that the regime’s men are incompetent would be a mistake. Although most experts would be hard-pressed to predict what Tehran may be up to, I believe that certain recurring patterns speak loudly enough for us to infer direction, if only we choose to look closely enough.

But back to the subject at hand: Iran’s agenda to cause harm to the Jewish Diaspora so it could better twist Israel’s arms and make it costly for Western capitals to entertain a friendship with the Jewish state.

The Islamic Republic believes that if it can create an adverse diplomatic and political landscape, the West will turn away from Jerusalem and cater to others’ interests instead – mainly that of the Axis of Resistance.

As it were, Tehran has studied Western opportunism and the ease with which Washington and London, for example, may choose to do away with certain strategies, should the going get too tough, such as in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq – there are many examples.

While such assessment is superficial, it remains true that Western powers have often opted for collaboration, even if with unsavory characters, to cater to a certain penchant for pragmatism.

It is to such pragmatism the Islamic Republic hopes to appeal to by making it too costly to maintain ties with World Jewry, thus isolating Israel as a whole.

Needless to say, the Left’s tolerance, if not to say acceptance, of Iran’s antisemitic narrative and rationale stands as proof of the ayatollahs’ ideological advances within our midst.

To put it plainly: Iran has the Jewish Diaspora mapped out: its financial interests, influencers and religious figures. From schools, NGOs, interest groups and businesses, Tehran has invested tremendous resources toward that project over the years.

We missed, I’m afraid, the smoking gun, as only a month ago (June) a scandal broke out in the United States over news activists, who had drawn lists identifying potential targets in relation to the Jewish community for the BDS movement.

The threat is real and we have thoroughly ignored it. We cannot afford to wait or worse, imagine that our security apparatus will contain any oncoming threat. Our lack of visibility coupled with grave naivety as to Iran’s ultimate agenda has left us exposed.

And when I tell of us, I mean all of us. If the Jewish community stands in the line of fire, it is inevitable that other demographics will fall prey to Iran’s self-righteous ire.

The threat posed by Islamic radicalism has many iterations and unless we wake up to them, we may soon realize that any efforts to combat it will require immense sacrifices – notwithstanding the damage it would cause to the integrity of our democracies and the potency of our capitals to push back against totalitarianism.

The writer is a research fellow at the London-based Henry Jackson Society.