Interesting piece by Raymond Tanter in the Jerusalem Post (via Sullivan), but its contention that the shift of power in Iran away from the Supreme Leader and towards the President will make Iran less anti-Israel seem pretty equivocal to me. It rather depends on who’s President, doesn’t it? Taking real foreign policy away from the stable Supreme Leader and putting it into the hands of politicians who are driven by demagogic political incentives could result in a political opening to Israel — or it could mean that the anti-Israel populism of Ahmadinejad, previously ineffectual, starts to have some real-world consequences. Meanwhile, this seems a rather weird observation:
The Iranian regime’s antipathy toward the MeK [Mujahedin-e-Khalq, the longstanding Marxist Iranian political/guerrilla exile group] is not only because this organization has potential for threatening the regime; the MeK as a member of the NCRI – a coalition of religious and secular groups – is also an ideological challenge to the regime in the same manner that Israel is threat. Iranian clerics saw themselves locked in an ideological battle against encroaching forces of modernization, secularization and democratization. Because Israel also personified these factors, it was bound to come in conflict with an Islamist Iran.
Research of the IPC finds that the NCRI positions itself as a modern, secular, democratic force that allows for religious diversity among its adherents, which Israel also represents; thus, the NCRI is an ideological threat to the regime of Khamenei.
I really don’t think Iranian hostility towards Israel stems from the secular, democratic aspects of Israeli society. Let’s put it this way: if The Jewish Home, Moledet, United Torah Judaism, and other right-wing religious parties were running Israel, restricting Muslim and Christian religious practice, and generally making the country even less of a secular democracy, would that make Iran and its government less hostile towards Israel? The idea that Iranian goverment antipathy to Israel stems from its secular democratic character seems to me a self-excusing dodge of the same kind the “they hate us for our values” crowd used to employ in the US.
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