Thursday, November 01, 2007

Iranians, Israelis, and Palestinians on the Left

Karl Marx said that the vice he hated most was servility and the vice he excused most was gullibility ("Confession," 1 April 1865). If you live in the USA or Israel, you might want to think like Marx, or else you will begin to give up on your fellow Americans or Israelis. Between them, Israelis apparently outperform Americans in the world gullibility contest, or so suggests the Anti-Defamation League: "A majority of Israelis (59%) believe that in retrospect the US was correct in going to war in Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, in contrast to the majority of Americans (including American Jews)" ("Poll Shows That Israel Is a Staunch American Ally," 18 May 2007). Another poll corroborates it:
Approximately 72 percent of Israelis support the use of nuclear weapons in certain circumstances, according to a Canadian survey released recently. The survey -- conducted jointly at the end of July by the Simons Foundation and Angus Reid Strategies -- was answered by adults in six countries and showed that 37% of Israelis believed the use of nuclear weapons to prevent a war would be justified, while 35% believed the weapons could be justifiably used during a war.

In addition, the survey found that Israel had the lowest public support for destroying nuclear weapons out of all the countries questioned.

Israel also had the highest percentage in favor of the country using its "power and influence in a way that serves its own interests" -- approximately 55% -- as opposed to "coordinat[ing] with other countries to do what's best for the world as a whole."

Nearly 72% also agreed that "nuclear weapons place Israel in a unique position, so it is not in our interest to participate in treaties that would reduce or eliminate our purported nuclear arsenal."("Poll: Most Israelis Support Using Nukes," Jerusalem Post, 1 October 2007)
And yet there are many Israeli organizations on the Left, such as the Alternative Information Center, B'Tselem, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, that are doing great work, side by side with such organizations as Adalah, the Arab Association for Human Rights, the Association of Forty, Aswat, and Ittijah that represent Palestinians in Israel. These are the hardiest leftists in the world, given what they are up against.

Leftists in the Iranian diaspora, as well as Iran itself, ought to contact these courageous leftists in Israel and coordinate their activist work. If done well, a common front of Iranians, Israelis, and Palestinians on the Left against war and occupation will be a great publicity coup against those in the USA as well as Israel who are itching for a military strike against Iran.


Since I first posted the above, the Israeli opinion has improved: "Two-Thirds of Israelis Oppose Attack on Iran: Poll" (Agence France Presse, 6 December 2007). Thank God for Israeli leftists!


Naj said...

Well this would be great, but connection to Israel, in whatever shape and form, can become troublesome.

It is not like the Iranian left is in any less peril and up against a lesser monster than the Israeli left is!

Yoshie said...

Iranian leftists might begin by talking with Israeli leftists whose politics is compatible with the ideal of Palestinians and Iranians: equal rights for Palestinians, Jews, and others in one state from the sea to the river. Believe it or not, there are Israelis who actually want it and working for it.

Naj said...

Sure, what I was suggesting was that the inside-Iran intellectuals are limited in their ability to reach out to Israelis.

I know that the general public in Israel is anti-Iran. But I also know that the general public in Iran is not anti-Israel. So the majority of Iranians have the hurdle of convincing the minority of fanatics to change their attitude. The minority of Israelis have the hurdle of convincing the majority of paranoid Israelis to change their attitude.

In either case, peace is very achievable able, once people start realizing who are the people who make "money" out of this.

In Iran, the sorrow now is that Caspian is being handed over to Russia for nothing ...