Stephen Colbert & Jeffrey Goldberg talk-up the existential threat to Israel from Iran
By: Brendan Patrick Keane | Published Thursday, August 26, 2010, 2:25 PM | Updated Sunday, August 4, 2013, 1:27 AM
The contradictions of Stephen Colbert's person/persona are as shifting as the perspective his character/self takes through the course of any show.
It's hard to say what "he" believes, because he can dart in and out of irony like a rabbit.
He (whoever) talked on the Tuesday August 24, 2010 show, with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic about the How & Why of Israel's "inevitable" strike on Iran.
If I may digress, Colbert also talked about Prince Alwaleed, whom he personally vetted when selling him his Dorian Gray for the troops. Colbert did not say anything about the problematic symbolism a Wahhabi mosque would mean if built on a building destroyed by a hijacked plane on 9/11. Organizers literally hide their Wahhabi backers while selling the whole dream in a Sufi dervish. It's not fair to ask people to rally behind an undefined project with hidden funding sources.
Colbert did talk about Israel's right to defend itself against a looming threat--a principle I also believe. To drive the message home, Colbert profiled a weak little Iranian rocket, that mischaracterizes the fight Iranians would put-up if attacked. Israel attacks Iran, and we're all at war. As Bill O'Reilly says, "it's World War III," if anyone strikes anyone.
The justification for Israel's striking an enemy state is grounded on self-defense. Crucial evidence then, that Iran's president said he wanted to "wipe Israel off the map," as was quoted by Colbert and lobbed to Goldberg. This is a very serious quote, and is invoked at every discussion of Iran's threat level. It's needed that we vet this quote for truthiness. It is the basis upon which coming sanctions and war are justified.
The Iranian president is a whack job, and a danger. Colbert and Goldberg discussed this fact, and casually described coming sanctions. The quote and the sanctions and the war are all entwined together.
Economic sanctions, Colbert might think to remember, are horribly inhumane, as Imam Feisal has said in defending his statements about terrorism's causes. To casually call for sanctions is to violently cut word from consequence.
It is also a great example of how a pundit like Colbert will create a compelling moral case for an undefined Saudi prince project on Ground Zero, but will give no examination to the meaning of this "sanctions" word "he" bandies about so freely.
As the Imam has said, citing UN statistics, the sanctions on Iraq caused the death of 500,000 children. That meant "children under five are dying at more than twice the rate" before sanctions, as UNICEF reported
. Creepy statistics are what I mean by consequences.
The casual invocation of sanctions for Iran, on a comedy show, is particularly horrifying. Sanctions are about starving children. Caring about Muslims does not mean kissing some rich oil barrons rear so he can build a trophy on symbolically significant ground. It means seeing war (sanctions) for what it is.
Israel does have every right to take-out an enemy threatening nuclear war and/or boasting on a world stage about blowing-up Jerusalem.
I offer one concern with this depiction of Iran, while acknowledging the evil of Ahm-you-won-an-emmy-for-warmongering?-ejad: Did he really say he intended to blow Jerusalem away? The New York Times leaves it an open question
. We can't take the threat casually, considering Iran's meddling in terrorist acts against Israel, but neither can we say matter-of-factly that he was calling to wipe Israel away with a bomb.
American tax-payers are existentially not so cavalier about backing up Israel's fears based on questionable evidence of existential threat. We the people who fund Israel's military option, and American troop back-up have an obligation to better understand what exactly is this threat the Iranian president is making against our ally.
Ahmadinejad said "I think that the Israeli government is a fabricated government, and I have talked about the solution, the solution is democracy." He goes on to describe a referendum and peace.
This guy stole his own election, so he's about as democratic and peaceful as a fascist banging his head against the wall. No question, this guy is a bad guy, and his views of Israel are at least as bad as anything said about him.
Was Ahmadenijad saying let's nuke Israel?, however, which is the impression you would get watching Goldberg and Colbert.
Israelis and Palestinians will be negotiating at the new peace talks with George Mitchell who moderated Ireland's IRA/British mess. The existential threat to Israel, like that to the UK's identity as inclusive of Irish territory, is bound-up in elections, demographics and the right of Palestinians chased off Israel to return home.
Britain conceded to a referendum, a real one, where if the people of occupied-Ireland vote to reunite with Ireland, they get to do so.
Ahma-what's-his-face-ejad believes Palestinians have a right to return to Israel, and vote alongside Israelis in Israel as citizens, on the fate of a new non-denominated Jewish state.
If Palestinians returned, and voted, Israel would be altered dramatically.
As an Irish diaspora person concerned about Ireland's survival, I understand why Jewish people would not like that at all. The "right of return" would "destroy" Israel as a democratic and
Jewish state. It would become a multi-cultural democracy, and cease to be a sanctuary for replenishing Jewish people post-Holocaust. The destruction would be democratic though, not nuclear.
I believe Jews want and have a right to land and a nation-state, which are survival tools that any people need to persist into modernity. Reparations might take care of that.
Why not Israelis pay Palestinians for all the appropriated real estate in exchange for signing away right of return? It would be cheaper than war. No?
Has Iran said enough to justify the sense of looming existential threat?
Maybe, but it is unreasonable and dishonest to characterize the "right of return" in the same sense as would be characterized "dropping bombs on Jerusalem."
Has Iran said enough to justify World War III?
Maybe Colbert and Goldberg are not the best people to hash that one out.