Get ready for an unbelievable din when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes to town next week.
For its part, the Jewish community is contributing its share to the political noise making with all the brouhaha over Sarah Palin’s invitation (and subsequent disinvitation) from a Jewish community protest against Iran on Monday. Tellingly, through all of the Jewish coverage of that incident, there has been precious little focus on the stance of the rally itself. For my part at least, I’m more than a little troubled that the extent of the Jewish community’s response to the Iran crisis continues to be “Ahmadinejad is a Nazi.”
We seem chronically unable to treat this issue with even a modicum of sanity. Somehow lost in the clamor are the disturbing signs that our nation’s current policy toward that country (i.e. zero tolerance of uranium enrichment, regime change and increased diplomatic isolation) has been a total non-starter. Not to mention that our overt saber rattling (the US now wants to sell 1,000 bunker buster bombs to Israel) is deepening an already unbearably poisonous diplomatic atmosphere.
While I have no illusions about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the odious nature of Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, count me as one American Jew that believes that simply spewing rhetoric right back is getting us nowhere – and that the prospect of a military attack on Iran is a disaster we must not even begin to contemplate. Would that Ahmadinejad’s visit to the US would give us that opportunity to engage his regime in a more meaningful conversation and not simply amplify an ever-escalating war of words.
For those of you looking for an preemptive antidote to what is surely to be a week of painful political posturing and diplomatic regression, I urge you to read this important piece by the Iranian-American political scientist Trita Parsi. Though it was written a year ago, I’m sorry to say it’s more relevant now than ever.