Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Lo Rotzei Lihiyot Iran"

When I lived in Israel FAR too long ago, there was a placard and a bumper sticker that I saw frequently that spoke of the peril of Iran. Not as we discuss Iran today, mind you; it wasn't a fear of Iran blowing Israel to bits. Rather, it was a different kind of existentialist crisis; that slowly but surely Israeli values were being undermined and metastasized into looking an awful lot like the Islamic republic. The bumper sticker said: "We don't want to become Iran". Bradley Burston's Op-Ed in Ha'aretz brings that point home again.

We are turning Iran. And every step we take toward that end, Iran wins.

Every time a bureaucrat in black - ostensibly, ostentatiously, a Rav, a rabbi, a man of greatness – can discriminate against women; every time he can deny them access to holy sites and relegate them to the backs of buses; every time he can prohibit the image of a woman's face in public advertising; every time he can decide when and where and if, as soldiers, as students, as worshippers, they may sing or dance or speak or stand or even be present in Jewish worship, Iran wins.
Every time a well-connected crackpot preacher holds up vital hospital construction, brandishing a voodoo ruling of his alone; every time he abrogates the religious rights of Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal and even fellow Orthodox Jews, even rabbis; every time he bars Ethiopian or Moroccan schoolgirls from studying with Ashkenazi schoolgirls, Iran wins.
Every time a self-styled pious Jew places an extremist holy man above the law and its commands; every time he desecrates a mosque, every time he destroys Palestinian-owned olive trees; every time he attacks Arabs with rocks; every time he threatens peace activists in their homes; and every time he gets away with it - which is every time - Iran wins.
Every time the cabinet and the Knesset advance anti-democratic bills meant to stifle dissent, suppress the Arabic language, demonize human rights workers, and curb freedoms of expression and the press, Iran wins.
I hope he's wrong, I hope there's still time. Because as afraid as I am of a madman with a ticking time-bomb with the names of Israel inscribed upon it, I'm even more afraid of what happens to an Israel that, in pursuit of existential security, undermines its very existence. 

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