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A short comment about Ahmdinajad


“If the Zionists repeat their past mistakes, all the nations in the region will stand up against them and uproot them,” said Ahmadinajad on a visit to Damascus.

I hardly write in my blog (or anywhere else) about political matters. It’s hard to write about politics without writing clichés or repeating oneself.

Publicist writing on politics, as opposed to writing about literature, is writing with an extremely poor resolution, and is therefore particularly uninteresting.

Ambivalence, which is a literary attribute and also an attribute of literary criticism, is an obstacle in publicist-political writing. A good publicist should seek to get to the last line. He is, in fact, a politician using other means. Instead of transporting people, money and objects, he transports ideas and words that in turn transport people, money, and objects. Therefore, statements such as “on the one hand and on the other hand” are not attributes of the publicist profession. The publicist is an “achiever.”

In addition, I also have a sense that I am cheating and lack authenticity when I write about politics. It is my subjective feeling, and there’s no question that it cannot meet Kant’s moral imperative and become a general rule (because publicist writing should be written, and it’s important that it’s written): but any involvement in issues that divert from the fate of specific individuals feels unauthentic to me.

But with your permission I would like to deviate from my routine behavior.

A bad feeling has been hanging in the air these past weeks. A sense of great danger, a feeling of an impending war, a great war. Someone – them or us – is preparing something, and someone else – them or us – is preparing a response. In the Palestinian arena, in the Syrian-Lebanese arena, and in the Iranian arena.

And I feel unrest, not sure whether our current leadership (the words of a publicist) is sophisticated enough to remove us from this dangerous corner into which history has pushed us. After all, it may well be that neither us nor them want a confrontation, but history is replete with conflicts that erupted while neither of the parties wanted them, but as a result of a kind of political clumsiness or misunderstanding of the intentions of the adversary. One needs the skills of a political genius (the comprise the analytic skills of a great literary critic, and the sublime sensitivity of a great psychologist) to decipher all the ironies and ambiguities incorporated in the declarations and deeds of the heads of states, to break down all the psychological-national-religious sensitivities and pathologies that envelope the current political reality, like the entangled wires of a bomb. And I’m not at all sure that the outstanding political talent currently needed can be found in our current Israeli leadership.

And while we’re on the same subject.

Look, I loathe, physically loathe, that part of the Israeli preoccupation with the Holocaust that (a) due to emotional bluntness and the inability to deal with daily emotional life, the nuances and sometimes gray elements – causes us to adhere to the Holocaust as a means of feeling something; this preoccupation with the Holocaust as Israel’s unique response to the South American soap opera; (b) adheres to the Holocaust in order to preserve what we can call “the fantasy of impotence” (as opposed to the “fantasy of omnipotence”); the denial of strength, the inability to cope with strength and its implications, denial and inability that lead to moral imperviousness towards others since we, and only we are the exclusive victims.

(By the way, I think that we are not as weak as we at time fantasize, but I do not think, like parts of the Israeli left, that we are the powerful ones in this story. Reality is dialectical, ironical and multi-layered. We are strong in comparison with the Palestinians. Weak in the general Arab world. Strong because the United States is on our side. Weak because we are dealt all the animosity that the entire world has for the United States. This dialectical process could go on and one).

Despite this introduction and my aversion to the childish return to the Holocaust in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict (which by a strange twist of history turned into the Israeli-Persian conflict) a shiver went down my back as I was listening yesterday to Ahmadinejad speaking on his visit to Damascus:

“The Zionists and their defenders have reached a dead end. The Zionist entity is heading for disappearance. The philosophy of its existence is over. The Zionist occupiers have reached a dead end and all their threats towards the Palestinians derive from their weakness. If the Zionist entity repeats the mistakes of the past, all the countries of the region will stand up against them and uproot them.“

To anyone conversant in Jewish history, and in fact, world history, this is reminiscent of the famous and extremely familiar words - familiar to the extent of making you shudder - of Hitler speaking at the German Reichstag in January 1939; this was one of the most famous and candid expressions Hitler made regarding his plans for European Jewry.

“I would like to say one thing today (…) during my life I often prophesized and people mocked me. When I was struggling to gain power, it was first and foremost the Jewish People that laughed at my prophecy, when I said that one day I would lead this country and the German People, and I would then resolve, among other things, the Jewish problem. I believe that the Jews are now chocking on those gales of laughter. Today I would like to prophesize once more: if the Jewish international capital in Europe and outside Europe manage to once again undermine the world, inciting a world war – the result will not be the Bolshevism of the world and a Jewish victory, but rather the eradication of the Jewish race in Europe…”

The similarity is extremely worrisome, to the extent that one can suspect that it is a conscious paraphrase which Ahmadinajad made (here is an example of the kind of literary sensitivity which is imperative for our leaders). The same syntactical style (conditional sentences), content (preparing public opinion for another round, apocalyptic, that will settle the accounts left open in the first round), and psychological (if they start and will again be the aggressors, we, the victims, in an act of self -defense, will destroy them).

Dangerous times.

From the blog of Arik Glasner, literary critic, published in Over Vashav, February 26, 2010

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