Sunday, April 5, 2009

Iranians and Fools

Jefferey Goldberg has helpfully posted 19 (nineteen) quotes from Iran's president Ahmedinejad in less than four years in which he talks about Israel disappearing. His reason for doing so is that his fellow Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan is casting doubt.

Andrew has made an interesting personal journey over the past few years, from an unusual and interesting conservative blogger to boring and predictable left-wing one. Which is fine: many people don't have the intellectual courage to re-examine their fundamental positions anytime after age 22. I personally stopped reading Andrew's blog quite a while ago. Anyone who regards Juan Cole as an authoritative source for information can't be very serious himself. (On which topic, I recommend the comment left here by someone who took the time to listen to some Cole lectures. If Sullivan can't see the dynamic, it's only because he chooses not to). A. Jay Adler, however, has some more informed comments about Andrew, and the sad direction he is now conforming to. He tells that after Goldberg did his research and posted his findings, Andrew read them and pronounced that

Reading them all, it becomes quite clear to me that Ahmadinejad does indeed want Israel to cease to exist, but equally clear that he is not speaking of dropping a nuke on it.

Well, that's certainly comforting, isn't it? Andrew knows the Iranian fellow is merely talking through his hat, and we have nothing to worry about.

I hope no national leaders, in any country, glean their information from the blogosphere. I write this as a (part-time) blogger.


4infidels said...

Weren't were told during the Oslo 1990s, over and over again, that the PA and Arafat statements calling for Israel's destruction, denying the Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and referencing anti-Jewish Islamic texts was all just about the PA/Arafat "maintaining street credibility" in the Arab world or issued for "domestic consumption"???

Just as we were told that Arafat couldn't change the PLO charter, as he had promised, because of political considerations or perhaps he did change the charter, but it is a disagreement over the translation?

Anyway, it turned out that Arafat meant what he said about destroying Israel.

4infidels said...

A current example of the translation game:

With regard to the Afghan law that requires wives to meet the sexual needs of their husbands. ABC News quotes the law: “Unless the wife is ill, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband,” the law states, which critics say would legalize marital rape.

More from ABC News: On Saturday, Karzai suggested that “the Western media have either mistranslated or taken incorrect information and then published it. If there is anything in contradiction with our Constitution or sharia, or freedoms granted by the Constitution, we will take action in close consultation with the clerics of the country.” He said he would review the law.

But experts suggest no one is mistranslating anything.

4infidels said...

Re: Karzai above...

It is worth noting his deception in this regard as well: When he says that he will see if there is anything that contradicts the Afghan constitution or Sharia, he is essentially saying that the law is legitimate as he must know the law is consistent with mainstream Islamic jurisprudence. Furthermore, the Afghan constitution states that no laws can contradict sharia. So it is irrelevant what the constitution says if the law is legitimate in Islam.

Sorry if the above explanation is a bit tedious, but most non-Muslims fall for this pattern of deception that is repeated regularly in Muslim-infidel interactions.

Whenever non-Muslims discover something uncomfortable about Islam in law or practice, Muslim apologists first deny it exists. When evidence is cited, they then claim that there is a mistranslation. And if you don't buy that, then they say that "rape" or "killing innocent civilians" is against Islam. What they don't tell you--but is clearly understood by an Islamic audience--is what Westerners call "marital rape" isn't considered rape in Islam while "infidels" are never innocent if they refuse to submit to Islam, so it isn't a crime to attack the women and children who "are of them" as Muhammad said.

It may not be politically correct to write what I just did, but it is crucial that American and Israeli leaders consider the role of deception and the different interpretations of language in Islamic and non-Muslim understanding when making policies that put the lives of their people in grave danger and rely on the good will of their Muslim interlocutors for their security.

Besides, if I can't believe, or should disregard what I hear and read when it is hostile toward non-Muslims or Western values, then why should I believe Muslim leaders when they say they want peace? And is that "peace" one of equals living in harmony--or at least non-violence--or is it the peace that comes when the non-Muslims submit (as dhimmis or converts) to the rule of Islam?

Anonymous said...

Yaacov, I just wanted to say that I stopped reading Andrew Sullivan quiet some time ago too and I agree with you. He used to be interesting but seems to have (expacially after the recent Gaza war) gone off the deep end in attacking Israel. Not even-handed anymore, and quite predictable.
I switched to your blog :)