By Kam Zarrabi
Mr. Netanyahu’s speech at the joint meeting of the United States Congress was nauseating enough. But what was far more disgusting to me was watching the American people’s representatives so enthusiastically cheering this well-known liar and charlatan like a herd of obedient sheep. And, equally disheartening is the fact that a good majority of people watching the proceedings on TV, whether they like him or not, tend to believe his rants against Iran; after all, what other source of information does the average American have to make an educated judgment? Also, the always present, all-knowing political analysts who crawl out of the woodworks to offer commentaries on such occasions quite predictably agree on the danger that Iran supposedly poses to the security of the region and the world, again whether they are in favor of Mr. Netanyahu or of his rival in the upcoming Israeli elections.
Interestingly, the main subject of most televised discussions has been about whether and by how much Netanyahu’s address would help or exacerbate the already strained Israeli-American relations, rather than how it might affect the prospects of war or peace in the Middle East. That’s no surprise, either, considering the main sources of money behind our news and information media - it’s all about what would serve Israel’s interests above all else!
The contents of Netanyahu’s fear-mongering speech were, as to be expected, a string of well-crafted lies and distortions so characteristic of this fellow. He knew he would not have to substantiate any of his claims before such an enthusiastic audience; watching so many applauding and nodding with approval was convincing enough.
Among his many half-truths and purely fictitious comments was his claim that Iran’s Ayatollah Khameneh’i had used the “tweeter” to declare that Israel should be annihilated. However, by checking out the contents of the Ayatollah’s “tweet”, an entirely different picture emerges:
A quick survey of Khamenei’s tweets reveal, by contrast, that his tweets on Israel included: calling on all Christians, Jews, and Muslims to unite in criticizing Israeli war crimes, quoting Nelson Mandela calling for Palestinian self-determination, and in a direct response to the question of how to “eliminate” Israel, calling for a referendum among all people of all religions living there to form a new government, while explicitly saying Iran opposes military action against Israel.
White House Backs Down as Hawks Praise Netanyahu Speech - Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com
It was so ironic and quite apropos that in his attempt to make his case against the “Persian” threat, he invoked the legend of Esther from the Old Testament where, as the story goes, the heroic Hadassah (Esther) had succeeded in averting the imminent genocide of the Jews by a Persian monarch. Here, this shrewd gangster was attempting to appear as a modern-day, male version of the old Hadassah, preventing another Jewish Holocaust, this time by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with celebrating joyous occasions or creating holidays to commemorate events such as the Purim, real or fictional, that bring a sense of happiness or pride in peoples’ hearts. But when someone’s celebration, woven out of fiction and not the reality is, very Netanyahu-like, at the expense of someone else’s demise, the case takes another color, altogether.
Historically, there never was an Esther (Esther is not the Hebrew Hadassah, but the Sumerian-Assyrian-Babylonian Ishtar/Astarte) or a man by the name of Mordekhay (Marduk, a Babylonian deity) in the court of Persia’s Hakhamaneshy emperors. The Biblical Akhashveres in the story more probably referred to Artakhashatra (Artaxerxes, Ardeshir) and not to Khashayarsha (Xerxes). And, there does not exist in historical record any mention of a Persian Queen “Vashti” who was, according to the story, banished for disobeying the emperor’s order and replaced by the new queen, Esther.
There does exist to this day (and well preserved - surprise, surprise - by the supposedly anti-Semitic Iranian authorities) a mausoleum generally thought to mark the graves of Esther and Mordekhay in Hamedan, about 170 miles west of Tehran, where a strong Jewish community has existed for over two millennia. However, the site is believed by historians to belong to the grave of the Jewish princess, Shushandokht, the consort of the Sassanian Emperor, Yazdgerd, around 400 AD.
The story itself was written sometime after the supposed events of 400-500 BC, but much closer to the Common Era, around 150 BC and embellished further to its final rendition perhaps by 200 AD, when the Jewish tribes were suffering under Roman occupation and felt the need to rejuvenate their pride through heroic tales.
Whether the Persian Emperor in the story was Xerxes or Artaxerxes, we are referring to two of the most powerful rulers of the ancient world, neither of them the weakling buffoon as depicted in the legend. As the story goes, an evil general named Haman decides to exterminate all the Jewish people in the Persian Empire because one man, Mordekhay, refused to bow to him. Haman was informed that the man was a Jew and Jews do not bow to men, but only to their God [*1].
Mordekhay’s niece, Esther, who had gained the king’s favor and become the Queen of Persia, hears about Haman’s genocidal plot and decides to risk her own life and preempt [*2] Haman’s scheme which he had plotted with the gullible Emperor’s blind approval using his official seal.
She throws a party at the royal castle in the pretext of honoring Haman. There, the Emperor having heard about Haman’s treachery from Esther, and also about Mordekhay’s exposure of the plot to assassinate him, orders the badly shaken Haman to honor Mordekhay by parading him through the city riding the imperial horse and wearing the imperial robe.
Humiliated and fearing for his life, Haman throws himself on top of Queen Esther’s couch begging for mercy just as the Emperor enters her chamber. Seeing Haman in such a compromising position, he misconstrues that Haman was attempting to molest the Queen [*3]. This infuriates the Emperor even more than before.
First, Haman is executed and all his belongings are given to Mordekhay as a reward for having saved the Emperor’s life by exposing a plot to assassinate him. Next, on Esther’s advice, the Emperor hands over the royal seal to Mordekhay and gives them the authority to not only cancel his previous decrees, but to issue new orders bearing his seal for the Jews the right to kill all their detractors in the Persian Empire.
On that designated day which was to mark the genocidal killing of the Jews, the Jews manage to kill all those who were to kill them. At the end of the day, the Emperor asks Esther if she was satisfied with the day’s work. She asks for one more day to finish the job, and is granted her wish. By the end of the second day, she reports to the Emperor that her people had managed to kill 75000 Persians [*4], and asks the king to make that day a national holiday (the Purim) to be celebrated throughout Persia.
Finally, Mordekhay becomes only the second man only to the Persian Emperor in glory and might!
In this seemingly innocent and rather entertaining cinematic narrative, there are several symbolisms that should not be glossed over:
*1. Here we notice the plight of the Jewish people of the times under restrictive Roman command aspiring to uphold their religious pride and honor, and to defy Roman rule by refusing to bow to anything other than their own Divine authority, Yahweh. Whether they actually did this or not doesn’t detract from the psychological need to do so. This alone could well be the motivation of the scribes who penned the legend of Esther in the first place.
*2. The justification for “preemption” against imagined threats, a paranoia that could and has been used to justify aggression in the guise of self-defense, continues to this day. Examples in modern times are the war of 1967, the illegal targeting of the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear power facilities, as well as the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, and many, many more cases by the Israeli regime.
*3. This is an example of capitalizing on false or intentionally planted evidence, a kind of false-flag operation for which the Israeli regimes have long been known. Why didn’t Queen Esther intervene by telling her husband that Haman was not attempting to rape or harm her, and that he was just pleading for mercy?
*4. Now the tables are turned. So far not a drop of Jewish blood has been shed by those who were supposedly, according to the legend, out to massacre the Jews. Now the Jews have a chance to avenge crimes that have not been committed, but simply contemplated. But somehow a genocide in reverse seems to have become a rationale for annual celebrations for over two-thousand years! Doesn’t this explain the ruthless, barbaric genocidal behavior of the Israeli regimes against the Palestinian population suffering under illegal occupation?
Netanyahu’s current expressed concern over Iran as an existential threat is just as fictional as was the legend of Esther in the Old Testament.
Getting back to the issue of Iran and negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group headed by the United States, Mr. Netanyahu believes that any agreement with Iran would be bad, not just for Israel’s security, but bad for the entire international community. He believes, as do his unwaveringly loyal supporters in the United States Congress, that instead of any, and I mean any, rapprochement with Iran, more and far stiffer sanctions should be imposed on Iran by the United States, to a point that unless Iran totally capitulates, its economy would completely collapse and the country would simply disintegrates.
Well, Iran is not going to capitulate under any circumstances. It has weathered through over thirty years of undue, illegal and inhumane economic and diplomatic pressures by the world’s mightiest power, and has managed to remain a power to be reckoned with.
The Israeli Prime Minister made another unmeasured remark that drew a standing ovation from the Congress. He said that Iran needs a deal with the United States much more than does the United States with Iran. Wrong, Mr. Netanyahu, wrong again!
Ask yourself, why is the United States so insistent on reaching some agreement with Iran? Is it for honest humanitarian reasons seeing the suffering of the economically struggling Iranian people? If that’s not it, ask what is holding back the mighty United States from simply attacking Iran if the fear is that Iran with or without accepting the terms being negotiated, as Mr. Netanyahu maintains, would develop nuclear weapons and endanger the peace and security of the planet.
Isn’t it more logical to think that the superpower is seeing some advantage in reaching out to Iran for what Iran can do to help accomplish America’s true interests in the region? It is quite obvious that an honest rapprochement between the two countries would also benefit Iran. But unlike the Jewish state that would suffer almost immediate paralysis and collapse without American support, Iran has managed remarkably well under the severest sanctions by the superpower to this day.
The truth is that Israel is not afraid of being attacked by Iran, even a nuclear armed Iran. What Israel fears is an opening between Iran and the United States, which might diminish Israel’s heretofore unchallenged primacy as America’s most important partner in the Middle East. After all, what has Israel ever done for the United States to be credited as America’s most valuable ally in the region; what? This decades-long passionate attachment has cost the United States dearly ever since the establishment of the Jewish state. This parasitic relationship or one-sided love affair has resulted in the creation of a monster that thrives on creating mayhem and dragging its benefactor into one costly quagmire after another.
Iran could easily walk away from the current negotiations if the United States is forced by the Congress to take a more unbending stand against Iran. It is actually Iran that has nothing to lose by walking away, and not the United States. China, Russia, France, England and Germany will definitely not be willing to forego their own interests by standing by the United States should the negotiations fail.
At this juncture, it remains to be seen if the Obama administration can muster the resolve to overcome the power and influence of the pro-Israel lobbies. Unlike in the United States, there is a central authority in Iran in the person of the Supreme Leader who has remained favorable, at least thus far, toward achieving a workable agreement with the West regarding Iran’s nuclear projects. Iran has its own ultra conservative voices among its law makers in the Parliament who do not trust the West and regard the United States with a great deal of suspicion. However, this opposition ultimately yields to the authority of Ayatollah Khameneh’i, the Supreme Leader.
| Kam Zarrabi is the
author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs,
particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
To be quite frank, I will be surprised, should Iran’s minimum demands are not met by the P5+1 group in the course of negotiations, if Iran does not walk away and even quit its membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, like Israel, adopt the policy of ambiguity regarding its nuclear programs.
In a short interview by CNN, Diane Feinstein, the Jewish Senator from California and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, objecting to Mr. Netanyahu’s position, wondered what would happen if Israel were to attack Iran (as Netanyahu is implying it might), followed by Iran’s massive retaliation; what would follow next.....? She then walked away shaking her head in disgust.
... Payvand News - 03/25/16 ... --