Is this the most stupid article of the year ? Yes, by far (& Hillary’s birthday wishes)

November 01, 2010


(1) British MP stabbed “in revenge for Iraq war”

More “peace activists” at work?


(2) Hillary Clinton wishes Ahmadinejad happy birthday

This is the idea of a foreign policy to counter one of the modern world’s most dangerous despots?


(3) While Ali Abdulemam is in jail, Clinton Hails Bahrain “election”

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton also “congratulated the Government and the people of Bahrain on the successful legislative and municipal elections” that finished two days ago.

The “election” was held at the same time that a prominent Bahraini blogger, whose friends subscribe to this list (and made this video calling for his release which they asked me to post), was put on “show trial” together with other pro-democracy activists in Bahrain last Friday. Abduleman has reportedly been tortured in recent weeks.


(4) Meridor cancels UK visit for fear of arrest

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor – the most moderate minister in the Israeli government – today became the latest Israeli politician to call off a trip to Britain, where he had been due to give a lecture later this week, after he was warned that he may be detained because the UK has yet to pass legislation preventing the arrest of senior Israeli officials.

Last week, a senior politician in the Israeli center-left Kadima party also called off a trip to Madrid for a similar reason, and the Kadima leader Tzipi Livni still can’t enter the UK. (Items 3 and 4 here.) Meanwhile, last week Queen Elizabeth II gave a lavish state banquet for the dictator of Qatar (and his three wives) at Windsor Castle, attended by the British Prime Minister and others.


(5) Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for 2011

Released today. Tel Aviv at Number 3.

(You may also wish to see this article on Tel Aviv’s 100th birthday, and scroll down for film footage of Tel Aviv in 1913 and 1951.)


(6) I attach one item of mine below.

-- Tom Gross


Is this the most stupid article of the year ? Yes, by far
By Tom Gross
October 31, 2010

At the fringes of the academic Israeli and American Jewish far Left, one is likely to find some unbelievably ridiculous notions dressed up as serious scholarly work. One saw this in the days of Stalin and now ones sees this in the days of Ahmadinejad.

But this new article -- by a University of Colorado professor in Rabbi Michael Lerner’s determinedly left-wing Jewish magazine Tikkun -- must qualify as one of the most bizarre articles I’ve read for a long time.

Here are the opening paragraphs from this article, in the newly-released November/December 2010 edition...

Iranophobia: The Panic of the Hegemons
by Ira Chernus

Iranophobia (noun): an excessive, irrational fear of Iran, almost always expressed as fear of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Israel’s Iranophobia may in part be traced back to domestic tensions between secular Ashkenazi (European-rooted) and the Orthodox and Mizrahi (Middle Eastern and North African-rooted) communities, according to Haggai Ram, an Israeli expert on Iran. As the Ashkenazim have gradually lost their power and privilege, he argues, they’ve been stricken with a “moral panic” and have looked for a scapegoat to blame.

Back in 1979, elite Ashkenazi voices condemned the Iranian revolution for the same reasons they condemned and feared the Orthodox and Mizrahim: for promoting traditional religious and cultural values that the Ashkenazim saw as barriers to the advance of Western modernity. They saw in Iran’s present a vision of Israel’s future. They still do; hence their fear.

Prof. Chernus continues:

We face the same paradox in the United States, where Iranophobia is also rampant… In some liberal circles, the attack on Iranian theocracy echoes fears of America’s own religious Right, which may well heighten Iranophobia…

Ram notes that Iranophobia first appeared during the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. [Tom Gross adds: Professor Ram, might this possibly have anything to do with the Khomeinist revolution in Iran, which gave rise to the phenomenon of mass suicide bombing, and whose slogan was “Death to Israel”?]

“To convince Israelis that peace could be made with the Arabs it was, at the same time, also ‘necessary’ to construct the image of threat from elsewhere,” he writes. “Israel needs an existential threat.” …

The same kind of narrative frame that shapes Israeli Iranophobia has also shaped U.S. foreign policy for at least seven decades. Although these seven decades have been dubbed the era of the “national security state,” it would be more accurate to call them the era of the “national insecurity state.”

… Any real cure for Iranophobia must include a more equitable sharing of economic resources, both in the United States and around the world. If we did not have so many Americans struggling with or worrying about unemployment and all its attendant ills, fear of a nuclear-armed Iran would find a less fertile breeding ground in public opinion. And at the elite level, the American project of globalization -- leading the world toward a single, integrated, democratic, capitalist system -- has been shadowed since FDR’s day by a persistent fear of foreign enemies who might thwart that project. If U.S. policymakers were willing to undertake a global Marshall Plan and share the earth’s riches with other nations, they would have less reason to spread fear of Iran or any other nation…


Tom Gross adds: The author of the article, Prof. Ira Chernus, teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the seat of scholarship that hosted Ward Churchill, infamous for comparing the victims of the 9/11 attacks with Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann.


Also from the current edition of Tikkun:

From Michael Lerner’s peace plan...

“Reparations for Palestinian refugees and their descendents at a sufficient level to bring Palestinians within a ten-year period to an economic well-being equivalent to that enjoyed by those with a median Israeli-level income.”

“… Israel must agree to let 20,000 Palestinian refugees return each year for the next thirty years to the pre-1967 borders of Israel and provide them with housing.”

And J-Street director Jeremy Ben Ami adds in his article in Tikkun:

“I’m really pleased that I’ve gotten the chance to know Michael Lerner over the past few months and to discover that we share a very deep and personal bond in our goals related to Israel ... I’ve told Michael that I’d like very much for the Tikkun Community and for him personally to participate in our next conference in February 2011.”

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.