From Gush Shalom
I HATE self-evident truths.
Ideals may be self-evident. Political statements are not. When I hear about a self-evident political truth, I immediately doubt it.
The most self-evident political truth at this moment concerns Iran. Iran is our deadly enemy. Iran wants to destroy us. We must destroy its capabilities first.
Since this is self-evident, the anti-nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the five Security Council members (plus Germany) is terrible. Just terrible. We should have ordered the Americans long ago to bomb Iran to smithereens. In the unlikely event that they would have disobeyed us, we should have nuclear-bombed Iran ourselves, before their crazy fanatical leaders have the opportunity to annihilate us first.
All these are self-evident truths. To my mind, all of them are utter nonsense. There is nothing self-evident about them. Indeed, they have no logical basis at all. They lack any geopolitical, historical or factual foundation.
NAPOLEON ONCE said that if one wants to understand the behavior of a country, one has to look at the map.
Geography is more important than ideology, however fanatical. Ideologies change with time. Geography doesn't. The most fanatically ideological country in the 20th century was the Soviet Union. It abhorred its predecessor, Czarist Russia. It would have abhorred its successor, Putin's Russia. But lo and behold -- the Czars, Stalin and Putin conduct more or less the same foreign policy. Karl Marx must be turning in his grave.
When the Biblical Israelite people were born, Persia was already a civilized country. King Cyrus of Persia sent the "Jews" to Jerusalem and founded what can be called the "Jewish people." He is remembered in Jewish history as a great benefactor.
When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, David Ben-Gurion saw in Iran a natural ally. It may now sound strange, but not so long ago Iran was indeed the most pro-Israeli country in the Middle East.
Ben-Gurion was an out-and-out realist. Since he had no intention whatsoever to make peace with the Arabs, a peace which would have prevented the original small State of Israel expanding without boundaries, he looked for allies beyond the Arab world.
Looking at the map (yes, he believed in the map) he saw that the Muslim Arabs were surrounded by a number of non-Arab or non-Muslim entities. There were the Maronite Christians in Lebanon (not Muslims), the Turks (Muslims, but not Arabs), the Kurds (Muslims but not Arabs), Iran (Muslim, but not Arab), Ethiopia (neither Muslim nor Arab) and more.
Seeing this, Ben-Gurion devised a grand plan: a "partnership of the periphery," an alliance of all these entities surrounding the Arab world and which felt threatened by the emerging pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdal-Nasser and other Sunni-Muslim-Arab states.
ONE OF the greatest enthusiasts for this idea was the Shah of Iran, who became Israel's most ardent friend.
The "King of Kings" was a brutal dictator, hated by most of his people. But for many Israelis, Iran became a second home. Tehran became a Mecca for Israeli businessmen, some of whom became very rich. Experts of the Israeli Security Service, called Shabak (Hebrew initials of General Security Service) trained the Shah's detested secret police, called Savak.
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