Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ahmadinejad wears a $30 Chinese-made jacket purchased at a Tehran bazaar

At least according to Time magazine. I don't hate Ahmadinejad the way Gary Sick, Juan Cole and most of the US foreign policy establishment do. I guess liberal Iranians likely hate Ahmadinejad for the same reasons liberal Americans hate George Bush. There are a lot of disagreements on domestic issues and he presents an image that is not sophisticated or smooth which makes the differences in policy seem even more abrasive.

The US foreign policy establishment hates Ahmadinejad largely for a different reason. Ahmadinejad's stance is that the people of Palestine, including refugees should have the right and ability to vote the majority Jewish state for 5 million people in Palestine that is the embodiment of Zionism out of existence. Supporters of Israel hate that position, and hate Ahmadinejad for holding that position.

People who interact regularly with Jewish people who feel an emotional bond to Israel feel discomfort if their feelings toward a figure are out of alignment. So while Juan Cole's commitment to the existence and security of a Jewish state is not as profound as that of Israelis such as Netanyahu or Peres, or especially the US Jewish people who are disproportionately represented in the cadre of experts who concern themselves with Middle East matters, the fact that they hate Ahmadinejad so vehemently exerts a kind of pressure on Gary Sick and Juan Cole to harmonize their feelings, otherwise the feelings of hatred and anxiety associated with Ahmadinejad could be transferred to Cole or Sick which would be uncomfortable. I consider this a human, or even mammalian process more than an intellectual one. Yet it is a process that is fairly clear to see, and it is difficult to argue that the disdain Cole, Sick and other US analysts express for Ahmadinejad are the result of any rational evalution of Ahmadinejad, his statements or positions.

So if you look at Juan Cole's interpretation of a speech by Ahmadinejad that causes Cole to agree with supporters of Israel that Ahmadinejad is anti-Semitic, the logical stretches he is taking are immediately obvious.
Elsewhere he says, "My dear ones, the pretext used to establish the Zionist regime was a lie and a corrupt act. It was a lie based on a fabricated claim that cannot be proven. The occupation of the Palestinian land had no connection with the issue of holocaust. The claim, the pretext, [and the directors [dastandarkaran] and the patrons [hamiyan]] are all fraudulent and corrupt. They are all historical criminals. They are responsible for plundering and colonizing the world for the past 500 years."

I read the Persian phrase, which the government translators dropped, about dastandarkaran (masters, proprietors) and their protectors and patrons (hamiyan) to be a reference to Zionists and imperialists. He then says "all of them" (hamih-'i ishan) are responsible for colonizing and plundering the world for the past half-millennium. I've gone back and forth on this, since Ahmadinejad's speaking style is syntactically sloppy and his referents are not always clear, but I am leaning to thinking that he sees a Jewish/ imperial partnership as having stretched into the distant past.

In other words, he is saying, all of modern history (possibly from the Portuguese conquest of Goa) and certainly the British conquests during WW I, the Nazi persecution of Jews, and last year's American presidential race, has been the unfolding of a secret Jewish plot, wherein "Zionists" control everything that happens.
I read the statement attributed to Ahmadinejad, then read Cole's interpretation of it, then read the statement again, and ask where could that possibly come from? The idea of a Jewish plot appears nowhere in Ahmadinejad's statement. Cole's leaning back and forth reflects the tension between an a priori, or previously existing, disdain for Ahmadinejad that transfers from colleagues who hate Ahmadinejad because of Ahmadinejad's actual and reasonable position that Israel is illegitimate, and Cole's need to rationalize that disdain, against the fact that Ahmadinejad has never made an accusation or statement expressing bigotry against Jewish people - who he says he considers separate from Zionists.

Ahmadinejad has severely struck a nerve in those who strongly hold, as an unchallengable premise, that there must be a majority state for 5 million Jewish people in Palestine at any cost to the region or to the United States. The passion of the reaction against Ahmadinejad's anti-Zionist position has spread, in a way and to a degree that nearly all of its members are not consciously aware, through nearly the entire US foreign policy establishment. I just use Juan Cole as an example because he put his reasoning in public. So much so that a consensus is forming that the US should intervene directly in Iranian politics to assist parties opposed to Ahmadinejad.

Unfortunately, it is obviously clear to those not caught in the emotional anti-Ahmadinejad hysteria that US intervention and US advocacy for intervention only marginalizes Ahmadinejad's opponents more. And protests notwithstanding, they have been severely marginalized because of their behavior after the election results were announced. That is unfortunate because there are some valid points and issues that have to be resolved in a purely Iranian context, and the eagerness of Americans and Westerners to intervene disrupts that process which otherwise would ultimately strengthen Iran.

But for those who do not share the common Western hatred of Ahmadinejad, his modest jacket, made in China and purchased at a Tehran bazaar, has an endearing element to it.


b said...

With regards to Juan Cole I think it is less an attachment he might have for Israel but the fact that he is (or has been) a Bahai and dislikes the Iranian state for the suppression of that sect.

lidia said...

I do not know about Cole's faith, but he is a clear-cut imperialist and supporter of USA imperialist army (it could have something to do with his background, but I am sure it is not so important a reason)

Now, Bush IS a semi-literal spoiled scion of a powerful family, and he is a sadist and a very unplesant as a person. Nothing of this could be said about Ahmadinejad.

I suppose Iranian liberals hate him exactly because he is not from a well-to-do family and does not want to be an insider in such circles.

Mind you, I am an atheist and a Marxist, so I have no great reason to support Ahmadinejad, but I guess his Iranian supporters have their own reasons and I prefer their reasons to liberals' hate.

Atosa said...

"I suppose Iranian liberals hate him exactly because he is not from a well-to-do family and does not want to be an insider in such circles."

add to this racism. his face, high, beard, hair.... despite their claim, many of those so called Iranian liberals are racist at best.

apart from that, there are some Iranians who don't like him, not bc of the above reasons, but bc of his policies, speeches, guff, and generally his leadership style...