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Iranian Book “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet” No Different than Israeli Publications

The anti-Muslim blogosphere operates as an echo-chamber: one Islamophobic site publishes a story and then the other ones quickly reproduce it.  The latest story to get the Islamophobic juices flowing was with regard to a book that was supposedly published by religious students in Iran.  I wrote about it earlier:

Iran: Yet Another Case Study in Robert Spencer’s Hypocrisy and Double Standards

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer just posted an article with the following title:

How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet: Iran promotes genocidal book by Muslim seminarians, published by Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance

He’s taking exception to an anti-Israeli book supposedly written by some religious students in Iran, called “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet.”  Spencer calls this a “genocidal book.”

This is why LoonWatch exists.  We’ve been documenting what loons like Robert Spencer say so that we can pull Jon Stewart moves like the one I am going to pull now…

The reader is referred to Robert Spencer’s post in March 2010 wherein he promoted a “genocidal video” calling for “wiping Pakistan off the map” and nuclear annihilation of Pakistan:

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

And my article on the topic back then:

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Promote Video by Militant and Genocidal Group

When Iranians/Muslims call to “wipe Israel off the map” or “eliminate Israel from the planet”, then it is a “genocidal book” and all freedom-loving people must be outraged by this.  When anti-Muslim extremists call for the same against Muslims, then that’s a “genocidal freedom-loving video” that all freedom-loving people must support.  As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

Robert Spencer’s hypocrisy and double standards are of course shared across the Islamophobic spectrum, from the mild-mannered Jeffrey Goldberg to the foaming-at-the-mouth website BareNakedIslam.

For now, I am assuming that Robert Spencer et al. are accurately reporting the story–a huge assumption considering: (1) I have not found the story reported by any reputable sources; (2)  Loons like Robert Spencer aren’t exactly known for accurately and truthfully reporting anything about Islam or Muslims. (3) Spencer cited Pajamas Media as his source (note: Remember how Robert Spencer and his minions scoff at using a source with silly names like “LoonWatch” or “Danios”…)

Leaving aside for now matters of accuracy, I’d like to expose even more hypocrisy and double standards from not just Robert Spencer but by the Islamophobes in general who are reporting this story in an effort to warmonger against Iran on Israel’s behalf.  They are trying to argue that the anti-Israeli book was not just written by a couple random students, but was in fact endorsed by the Iranian government; their evidence for this is the claim that the “book has been published by the Khorasan branch of the Ministry of Islamic culture and guidance.”

If this is proof of how evil Iran and Islam are, then what about this:

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is a part of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and “is recognized by law as the supreme halakhic and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in the State of Israel.”  During the Gaza War (Massacre) in 2009, the Chief Rabbinate “gave soldiers fighting in Gaza pamphlets urging them to show no mercy.”  Other pamphlets elaborated on the Chief Rabbinate’s orders, spelling it out in no uncertain terms: kill the civilian population because “it is not innocent.”

Haaretz, the oldest and one of the most established of Israeli newspapers, reported:

An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians.

Robert Spencer wrote that the Iranian book was a “book filled with genocidal hate, rooted in the Qur’an”; he bolded the parts of the passage that mentioned the Islamic holy book.  His purpose in doing so is obvious: to smear the entire faith of Islam.

It should be pointed out to Spencer that in the case of the military rabbinate’s violent, racist, and genocidal publications, it was none other than the Bible and traditional Jewish law that was cited.  Haaretz noted:

Following are quotations from this material:

“[There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.” This is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF rabbinate. The text is from “Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner,” who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

The following questions are posed in one publication: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David?” Rabbi Aviner is again quoted as saying: “A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land … They invaded the Land of Israel, a land that did not belong to them and claimed political ownership over our country … Today the problem is the same. The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country. Moreover, most of them are new and came here close to the time of the War of Independence.”

The IDF rabbinate, also quoting Rabbi Aviner, describes the appropriate code of conduct in the field: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers. ‘A la guerre comme a la guerre.'”

To be perfectly clear, if it is true that an Iranian book was published with such offensive material in it, we should condemn it wholeheartedly–just as we should condemn the Israeli publications I mentioned above.  But we shouldn’t vilify Islam as a whole, just as we shouldn’t vilify Judaism as a whole.  Neither should we beat the drums of war against Iran, just as no rational person would use the Israeli publications as a valid justification to attack Israel.

I would, however, point out that there is one major difference between the case in Iran and Israel.  If it is argued that the Iranian book endorses ethnic cleansing as our opponents claim, it should be pointed out that Iranians are not actively carrying out such a thing.  The belligerence is limited to mere words and rhetoric.

Meanwhile, the publications in Israel were handed out to soldiers deployed in a brutal war against Palestinians/Muslims, part of a long campaign of ethnic cleansing that first began in 1948.  Those instructions to show no mercy to the enemy population were actively executed and acted upon by Israeli soldiers.

Leading international human rights organizations condemned “Operation Cast Lead” (as it was called by the Israelis).  Amnesty International, for example, titled their report: “Operation Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction”.  The report noted that Israeli forces committed “wanton destruction” and killed “[h]undreds of Palestinian civilians” (whereas Palestinian rocket attacks “only rarely caused civilian casualties”).

Meanwhile, no Iranian publication can be linked to actual Jewish or Israeli fatalities.

Iran cannot realistically go beyond anything more than mere words or rhetoric, because actual acts of violence will be met with overwhelming force and massive retaliation from Israel and/or the United States.  This is so much so that it is being reported, by the likes of none other than Jeffrey Goldberg, that Iran is already under attack by Israel and the United States, and yet the Iranians have not retaliated or declared war.

If bombing Iranian facilities, killing their scientists, and using drones in their territory cannot evoke a military response, then why would anyone assume that they would have the audacity to initiate an attack on Israel?  The reason Iran hasn’t responded to these acts of war against it are that it wants to avoid being “bombed into the stone ages” like Iraq was.  In other words, the last thing Iran would want to do is give Israel or the United States a smoking gun.  Angry but empty rhetoric earns Tehran popular support, whereas action would jeopardize the regime’s very existence.

The Iranian leadership is no doubt despotic, oppressive, and illegitimate; but it is also, like many dictatorships, tenaciously pragmatic when it comes to holding onto the reigns of power.  The desire for self-preservation is an amazing thing.

Meanwhile, Israel can afford to act unilaterally, and it does so quite regularly and with a great deal of impunity, thanks to Uncle Sam, who acts as a shield to any international response.

This is why dwelling on Iran’s rhetoric as opposed to Israeli action is misleading, but that of course is the essence of war propaganda.

Update I:

Prof. Juan Cole worded it best (h/t Believing Atheist):

Moreover, Iran cannot fight Israel. It would be defeated in 72 hours, even if the US didn’t come in, which it would (and rightly so if Israel were attacked). Iran is separated by several other countries from Israel. It has not attacked aggressively any other country militarily for over a century (can Americans say that of their own record?) It has only a weak, ineffective air force. So why worry about it?

What is really going on here is an old trick of the warmongers. Which is that you equate hurtful statements of your enemy with an actual military threat, and make a weak and vulnerable enemy look like a strong, menacing foe. Then no one can complain when you pounce on the enemy and reduce his country to flames and rubble.

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  • corey

    @mustafa
    I myself will just call myself a scholar as well without having to take any of that pesky education, formal training and peer reviewed work and spread bullcrap about entire people while hypocriticly using words like human rights and freedom so I will get supporters and lots of money, hey if it worked for spencer and geller it could probably work for anyone.

  • Sir David ( Illuminati membership number 5:32) Warning Contains Irony

    Mustafa
    OOOO can I be a scholar 😉 It seems you get lots of $$$$$$$$ and you get to meet tht nice Miss Geller.
    As a swap for my eturnal soul it seems better than playing the guitar .

    ( am feeling ill after saying that about Mrs MacBeth even as a joke )

  • Mustafa H.E.

    “There was no Iran at that time, There was the Sassanian Empire, the biggest rivals to the Byzantines before the Muslims arrived”

    Well, Persia is the civilization of Iranian people. So calling Persians, Sassanids, Safavids, Timurids, etc “Iranians” does make sense from a anthropological standpoint. In fact, most Iranians nowadays prefer to be called “Iranians” rather than Persians.

  • Mustafa H.E.

    Ali, everyone can be an Islamic “scholar” nowadays. You just have to know a few Muslims, or read a few books (not necessarily the Qur’an, any of the Hadiths or any books written by legit Sunni and Shi’a scholars) And that poses a problem. Many of these Islamophobes do not really care for the truth, all they really want is money and fame from down-on-their-luck people who scapegoat Islam because it’s easier to scapegoat Muslims (or even Jews, Asians and immigrants for that matter) than crooked corporate execs, foreign policy lobbies that got the US into expensive and unpopular wars or currency investors that have crashed markets and play a part in the recession.

  • Dehnus

    JD first of all it was the right wing that gave the big companies tax breaks not the left wing.

    Second what is DNJ? Sorry not from the USA so maybe that is the reason I don’t recognize it. Furthermore that town you listed what is wrong there? They have been holding a celebration each year for years. It wasn’t until some people decided to crash that party that the shit started to happen. Everybody was welcome and it wasn’t about religion as there are also quite a few Lebanese Christians there? And why did the Catholics also need to be insulted on the signs? I really don’t get why you need to ruin other people’s fun. You don’t see me as an Atheist ruining your Hour of Power celebrations each week.

  • Jd

    Only place I can find this quote “According to this study, 90 percent of honor murders in the West are committed by Muslims against Muslims.” Is on

    Middle East Quarterly run by one of our Favorite muslimphobe Daniel

    “Oklahoma City bombing bore a “Middle Eastern trait. ”

    and

    “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

    Pipes. Really If your going to start some website about the ME you should at least be from there and not Boston or a agenda driven Pro Israel First-er Zionist.

  • SKhan

    @ JD:
    I AGREE! We need to discriminate against religious groups based on the actions of a few individuals. Ban Christians from the military because of Chuck Graner (Christian fundie responsible for Abu Ghraib)! Ban Jews from the military because of that random American Jewish guy who killed 60 Palestinians praying at a Hebron mosque! We’re not fighting members of other religions? Right, because the LRA are obviously closet Muslims, not an apocalyptic Protestant-cultish rebel group seeking to overthrow the Ugandan government via genocide, rape, and enslavement of children. Muslims kill those who do not convert to their religion? *cough* Surah Al Kaffirun! *cough* *cough* Qur’an 2:256! Think about it, if you wouldn’t ban Christians and Jews from the military, then you wouldn’t ban Muslims either. Womick is an extremist.

    @ ali: “WTF is this?”
    This…is…SPARTA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seriously though, what better way to give our politicians more power than with some good ol’ war-time propaganda. Blaming honor killings on Islam? Seriously? I guess they’ve never heard of Christian, Jewish, and Yazidi honor killings either. Calling Robert Spencer an Islamic scholar? A guy who can’t even quote the Qur’an/hadiths properly and encourages/inspires violence against Muslims is somehow an Islamic…scholar? That’s not as bad as Faux “News”, that’s even worse!

    @Black Venge: I used to be like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • Danios,

    Speaking of the hypocrisy of anti Muslim bigots, in particular Christian anti Muslim bigots, like Spencer, may I present to you,

    Klingschor’s Hypocritical Christian Critics of Islam
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMGG-rJUcKw&feature=channel_video_title

    Enjoy!

    By the way, Spencer is included at the end.

  • Nur Alia

    I am going to disagree with ‘why the Iranians havent attacked those how have been covertly trying to provoke them’

    I am going to anger some of you as well.

    I want you to know that my personal opinion about Iran, and the west’s ‘concern’ with them supposedly getting nuclear devices is legitmate. However I feel concern about anyone who has them, used them, hides them from oversite, or condones thier use.

    There is no civilized way to justify these kinds of weapons…none at all. I am sure that they are haram to even have, since thier ONLY use is to terrorise.

    …but, getting back to what I disagree with.

    On Septembre 11, 2001, an atrocity occurred. It had the intention of putting fear into the good people of America. It’s intention was to make Americans react irrationally…crying for revenge, rather than justice.

    Ten years later, Americans are living the nightmare that was intended for them by those who planned, (whether covertly or overtly) condoned, committed and benefitted from that day. The fruits are more enemies, Americans dying, and the treasury of Americans being sucked dry by political and ideological interests. Americans not trusting other Americans, and deciding that ‘patriotism’ is an ideology that should never be debated…as it is dissimnated by the media.

    Please notice that although Muslims are blamed for the voluntary giving up of freedoms and privacy, the loss of good morals and ethical standards, and the industry of fear that has flurished as a result…no Muslim has actually passed a law, violated the rights of citizens, spied or searched without cause, or held people with no charges for an indefinate amout of time in the guise of ‘democracy, safety, or security’

    Even ‘western’ born Muslims dont understand that not everyone reacts in the same way. Not everyone reacts to fear, or incitement. In fact, most of the world gives a ‘measured response’ to intentional incitement.

    Iran is acting exactly how most of old cultures act. They know the difference between justice and revenge. I dont think it is fear of the US that Iran is acting the way they do…it is thier maturity as a culture…understanding that a weapon that costs nothing comes from anticipation, more than anything else.

    Look at America…all of the laws that have affected your freedoms and privacy were in anticipation of what might happen.

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