The meaning of Iran’s rhetoric

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and other officials of the Iranian regime regularly direct blood-curdling rhetoric of hate and extermination toward the state of Israel. Is this rhetoric to be taken seriously? Bar-Ilan University senior lecturer Ze’ev Maghen thinks that it is. In the lead essay of Commentary’s forthcoming issue, he argues:

The Iranians and their allies throughout the Muslim world are bent on making the abandonment of Israel the price of “peace in our time.” In a scenario that should ring frighteningly familiar, a charismatic leader of an ideological, totalitarian state is building upon an endemic anti-Semitism inculcated by centuries of religious indoctrination to create an atmosphere in which the massacre of large numbers of Jews and the destruction of their independent polity will be considered a tolerable if not indeed a legitimate eventuality.

That is ominous enough. Even more ominous is the apparent willingness of any number of leaders of the Western world, under the banner of a hoped-for “reconciliation” with a major Middle Eastern power and a world religion, to tilt dangerously toward appeasement, ignoring the requirements of rational decision-making and putting at risk the West’s own abiding interests and deepest values.

As for Israel, if it takes today’s challenges seriously and prepares to meet them with the requisite strength and creativity, this may yet turn out to be its finest hour. If not, we may be witnessing the prelude to its last.

Commentary has posted Maghen’s essay to preview its January issue. The essay — “Eradicating the ‘Little Satan'” — is must reading.

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