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Thursday, November 30, 2006
A long time ago, we used to be friends:
So about Ahmadinejad's letter to you and me. On first read, it reminded me of the full-page ads taken out in the Times to promote the ever-lasting vision and life lessons of Indian nuclear physicists and South Korean fringe preachers. Then it got me thinking: what's his game here?
There will be, surely, an effort to attribute some nefarious purpose here -- the weakening of American will against the Iranian nuclear program or some such. You know, maybe. But I wonder if Ahmadinejad is so dense as to believe sending a sensible-sounding message ("Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperousness and the happiness of peoples through a committment to justice and the respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?") will be received by someone we tend to view as a loon? It's like the Guardian's letter-writing campaign to Ohio voters ahead of the 2004 election: the messenger is suspect, and so the message is lost. Maybe he is that zealous -- it would seem to fit, but I really don't know what I'm talking about here.
Then there's the Jewish Question, which lends itself to a certain interpretation. He writes:
What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?Now that's some old school anti-semetism! And like all old-school anti-semetism, there's some surface-level truth here: we are overrepresented in these "sectors." But only a conspiracy theorists can believe that so many Americans can be fooled for 60 years. Simply put, Americans support Israel because they see Israel surrounded by crazies like... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and feel far more affinity to Jews than Muslims. It helps that we control the media and impose our nefarious usury on the country, but as concerns Israel, that's the whipped cream, not the sundae.
If I were inclined to give Ahmadinejad the benefit of the doubt, I'd say he looks at the American alliance with Israel and says: WTF? How can this make any sense from an American perspective? And if one doesn't exactly harbor warm feelings for Jews, conspiracies are much more appealing than easier explanations -- especially if one actually believes that Americans are "God-fearing, truth-loving and justice seeking." Because if those people like Israel, one must do some re-thinking of the Jewish Question.
Not that anyone should let facts interfer with their bigotry or antisemitism, but, just for the record, despite the prominence of Jews in New York financial institutions (big surprise, it is the local industry in a city with a large Jewish population), overall, Jews are, if anything, underrepresented in American banking. Lots of lawyers and doctors, and movie execs, but bankers? not so much.