Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Why Iran's Anti-Semitism is actually Good Public Relations
On the surface it would seem that the President of Iran's behavior in attacking Israel, Jews and ridiculing the Holocaust at the time the question of Iran's nuclear weapons is being seriously talked about in the international circles is self-destructive. After all it creates a negative picture of Iran and displays its leader as a bigot who hates Jews and wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
It's however completely naive to think so.
Consider two other world leaders who responded to mounting international pressure over their military buildup and territorial invasions of their neighbors with persecutions of the Jews and attacks on Israel. Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.
While on the surface this seems unrelated, targeting the Jews while you are engaging in territorial invasions is good public relations. Let us consider a few things.
First the world holds a lot more people who hate Jews than who like Jews by a factor of a 1000 to 1. Attacking the Jews win a leader all sorts of sympathy and admiration around the world no matter how the media may officially criticize him. By attacking the Jews Hitler and Saddam distracted attention from their ambitions to conquer and occupy their neighbors. (Similarly after 9/11 Osama suddenly began delivering speeches about Palestine and the Jews and when Russia was undergoing revolutionary turmoil the Czar intensified the persecutions of the Jews.) As a result both WW2 and the Gulf War were tagged with the stigma of 'Wars for the Jews.' (As well as the War on Terror and the Russian Revolution.) This made it difficult to gather support for international campaigns against Hitler and Saddam.
Secondly by attacking the Jews, a leader reassures the international community that he is not planning to attack them but only the Jews. While on the surface Iran's comments are bad public relations, under the surface Iran is telling the world that it will only use nuclear weapons against Israel... and not against Europe or Russia. This reassures countries vital to Iran's nuclear program who have a UN veto that the only ones in danger from Iran's nuclear program are the Jews. Similarly Hitler's and Saddam's campaigns against the Jews was meant to reassure the international community that they were a threat to the Jews rather than the world. Even those countries which are not overtly anti-semitic prefer a regime that has hostile intentions towards the Jews rather than one which has territorial and expansionistic ambitions.
Thirdly by attacking the Jews, the President of Iran makes the issue about the Jews rather than about his nuclear weapons. In the movie, 'The Manchurian Candidate,' Angela Lansbury's character proclaims;
"Who are they writing about all over this country and what are they saying? Are they saying: "Are there any Communists in the Defense Department?" No, of course not, they're saying: "How many Communists are there in the Defense Department?"
So too the Iranian President has shifted the discussion from 'Is Iran developing nuclear weapons?' to 'Did the Holocaust happen?' This opens up a separate area of debate that moves from debating Iran's policies to debating the merits of the Jews. Though it is Iran which is developing nuclear weapons the burden shifts somehow to the Jews. Suddenly the discussion is not about the threat posed by Iran to the world but whether the Jews have a right to exist.
This is the classic strategy. While the world argued over whether the Jews were worth saving Hitler moved to conquer Europe. While Russians argued over whether any opposition to the Czar was inherently Jewish, the Czar cracked down on the opposition. While Saddam hurled Scuds at Israel he was fighting American troops. While Iran's President rants about the Jews, he prepares the nuclear weapons that the religious fanatics of Tehran will use not only against Israel but to blackmail the world and to pave the way for an Iranian caliphate encompassing much of the Middle East.
The 'Jews' are trigger words that get the world's attention and tyrants and terrorists have used that to great effect. Arab Terrorism and Islamic extremism have been all blamed on the Jews rather on Arabs and Muslims. In the United States Charles Lindbergh ranted that it was the Jews who wanted America to fight Hitler. When the Gulf War came around Pat Buchanan took up the cry that it was a war for the Jews. Now Iran threatens the world and the world ignores the threat in favor of debating the Jews.