They’re just not that into us

Israelis are convinced that the Iranians are out to destroy them. That’s a bit egocentric, isn’t it?

When Israelis say Iran is eager to destroy Israel even at the cost of its own destruction, I think that says more about Israelis than it does about Iranians.
Civilizations don’t resolve to commit suicide. It goes against the laws of nature, against evolution.
There have been crazy civilizations, crazy religions, crazy leaders, but to decide on a move that guarantees the annihilation of your country, your people – nobody’s ever done that. I can’t imagine anybody would, certainly not the leaders of a country of 75 million people, of one of the oldest, proudest civilizations on earth.
I agree – Ahmadinejad, the mullahs and many millions of Iranians hate Israel, they’d love to see it disappear, and they are fanatic ideologues. But so fanatic that they will cause Iran and its 5,000-year-old culture to be wiped out in return for the privilege of wiping Israel out? This is the goal they’re working towards, this is what’s in the front of their minds as they go through the day, this is what looms ahead of all their little plans for tomorrow, for the weekend, for the holidays – auto-genocide?
Uh-uh. It’s an irrational understanding of the Iranians, of any nation. But this is the understanding that’s shared probably by most Israelis, and it seems to be the view that’s driving our reaction to Iran’s nuclear program.
It’s crazy. And this craziness, if it leads us to start a war with Iran, will have devastating consequences.
WHATEVER AHMADINEJAD once said or didn’t say, whatever weird Shi’ite doctrine might have been written down by someone over 1,000 years ago, why do Israelis believe the Iranians don’t just hate us, but hate us so much that they’re eager to become extinct just so they can make us extinct, too?
One reason – nothing new here – is the sense of eternal victimhood at the core of Israeli identity; if we stop believing that our enemies are committed to our destruction, no matter the cost, we won’t know who we are, and then we’ll have to find a new identity.
Another reason for this hysterical reading of Iran’s intentions is that it leaves us only one option – attack – which removes the stress of uncertainty, and the inability to handle the stress of uncertainty, I figure, lies behind countless wars.
But there’s one more reason that I don’t think has been discussed – Israeli egocentrism, especially in relation to our Muslim enemies.
When we say the Iranians value our nation’s death more than they value their own nation’s life – boy, we must really be something! Love us or hate us, they sure think about us, don’t they? Positive or negative, we are one hell of a “significant other” to these people, aren’t we?
Has any nation ever paid a compliment to another nation like the Iranians, with their designs for doomsday, are paying us? Never. Iran is obsessed with Israel like no country has ever been obsessed with any other country in world history.
How cool is that?
But then we shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, what else do they have in their lives? What do they have to compare with Israel for stimulation? What could they possibly care about more than they care about us?
Most Israelis see the 1.5 billion Muslims of the world as one giant, seething mob. They don’t love their children, they’re incapable of creating anything, all they do from morning til night is plot maniacally against the Jews.
We don’t think of them as people like us. We think of them as scorpions.
I’m not saying they’re wonderful – not Iranian society, not Muslim society at large. In fact, I’m not wild about Muslim society. I’ve never wished I’d been born an Arab in Saudi Arabia, I’ve never dreamed of being able to emigrate to Libya. I understand very well that that the Muslim world is beset by severe pathologies – violence, fanaticism and tyranny – and I know Iran is a particularly terrible, dangerous part of it.
But as bad as they may be, the Iranians, finally, are a human society, too, and as such they are guided by the collective instinct to survive, which is why I don’t believe they’re planning to nuke this country. If we didn’t have nuclear weapons, that might be a different story, but we have them, and this makes all the difference in the world.
It’s fair to say that all Muslim countries have a deep antipathy to Israel, all would like to see the Jewish state dismantled, and some might even like to physically wipe us out. And yes, we take up a disproportionate amount of their thoughts. But not all of their thoughts.
Muslims, including Iranians, actually think about things besides how much they hate Israel. They think about their health, their families, their livelihood, their future. They’re not going to throw all that away forever, even to get rid of their worst enemy. That’s not how human societies behave.
Like Israelis, the Iranians have their own lives, their own civilization, to get on with. Auto-genocide isn’t worth it to them. Sorry, but they’re just not that into us.