A Prophyfactic Look At Our Enemies
March 8, 2015 § 3 Comments
Prophyfactic is not a word. I made it up. Prophylactics protect from harmful physical sex. Prophyfactics protect from harmful mind-sex, not imaginary sexual fantasies, but rapes of the mind – lies, half-truths and rhetoric designed to generate fear and hate. The motives for both kinds of sex are various, limited only by the range of human imagination. The patterns and techniques of mind-sex are, instead, well known, lacking in originality and generally repackaged tools borrowed from previous events.
Mind-rapes are usually based on false equivalencies and exaggerated fears . In the following essay I will offer some prophyfactic protection from mind-rape.
How To Start a War
One example of mind-rape is a time-tested solution to an age-old problem: How can a nation be goaded into a war? America has experienced several examples of this process.
The Spanish-American War was cleverly engineered by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, proprietors of the New York World and the New York Journal, who published sensational stories; based on questionable facts, about the sinking of the U.S battleship Maine in Havana harbor.
Our entry into WWI was preceded by lurid newspaper accounts of rapes by ruthless Huns; slaughter of Belgian babies; expressions of outrage at the U-boat sinking of the Lusitania, an ocean liner carrying American passengers; and portrayals of the Kaiser as a power mad international predator.
WWII was our only war requiring no manipulation. The Japanese took care of that at Pearl Harbor.
We went to war with Vietnam based on a phony account of Vietnamese torpedo boats attacking the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin and an elaborate metaphor about falling dominoes.
Our last war, an invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, was contrived by fanciful stories of sinister meetings with an Iraqi spy known as (I’m not making this up!) Curveball; false claims of “weapons of mass destruction”‘ hidden in Iraq; scary tales of mushroom clouds; and the cynical abuse of Colin Powell’s reputation for integrity.
All of these wars except WWII have been followed by bitter reactions, like hangovers after a bender, when the deceptions and manipulations become known and understood. Every time we swear that never again will we be so stupid and naive as to sacrifice innocent lives based on faulty reasoning and false claims.
We are presently, in my estimation, in the midst of a new test: Will these mind-rapes prove again that we have not learned the value of prophyfactics?
Here is Iran as described by Israeli Prime Minister candidate Bibi Netanyahu, speaking two weeks before election day in Israel: Iran’s Persian history and culture includes efforts to kill Jews, citing Haman, an Iranian official from Persian history. Iran is like Nazi Germany and its drive to develop nuclear weapons is motivated by its intention to destroy Israel with a nuclear Holocaust. Ayatollah Khomeini is committed to the same kind of anti-Semitism that shaped the policies of Nazi Germany. Iran has sponsored terrorist activity directed against both Israel and the United States.
President Obama is like Neville Chamberlain, the naive British leader who foolishly believed he could make peace with Hitler. In fact, there are some who believe that Obama may harbor unexpressed, but nevertheless present, anti-Semitic views. This accusation has appeared in an Israeli press article supporting candidate Netanyahu.
Given these facts, the only rational policy toward Iran must be a demand that it change its policies and abandon its nuclear program. [Which will happen when pigs fly.]
Some Iranian Prophyfactics
Last Wednesday and Thursday Jews all over the world celebrated Purim, a holiday commemorating the thwarting of a plot to kill all Persian Jews. The Biblical story of how Esther, the queen, adopted daughter and cousin of Mordecai, both Jews, warned Ahsuerus, the King, of his vizier Haman’s plot to kill him. Haman was hanged. Persian Jews were forewarned of Haman’s plot to kill then. They responded by overpowering the killers. Mordecai was rewarded by becoming the Prime Minister of Persia. [This brief summary is not even close to an adequate summary. The Biblical story has everything: Sex, violence, deceit, intrigue, heroism and the ultimate triumph of right and justice. It is a marvelous story.]
Netanyahu, speaking to Congress the day before Purim, referred to this story as evidence of the anti-Semitism of Persian history and culture. He mentioned Haman, but neglected to mention that the Persian King had Haman hung, was married to a Jew, Esther, and appointed her Jewish adopted father Prime Minister of his Kingdom.
He also might have mentioned that Mordecai and Esther are buried in elaborate tombs, maintained as revered shrines, in Iran. Here is a link to pictures of the tombs.
There are an estimated 20,000 Jews living in Iran. Here is an excerpt from a Wikipedia account of current Jewish Persian culture: “Today Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools. It has two kosher restaurants, an old-age home and cemetery. There is a Jewish library with 20,000 titles. Iranian Jews have their own newspaper (called ‘Ofogh-e-Bina’) with Jewish scholars performing Judaic research at Tehran’s ‘Central Library of Jewish Association’. The ‘Dr. Sapir Jewish Hospital’ is Iran’s largest charity hospital of any religious minority community in the country; however, most of its patients and staff are Muslim.” Here is link: Persian Jews
Although Persian Jews are not numerous enough to be entitled to a member of the Iranian parliament, the Iranian government, based on a policy toward minority populations, accords one seat in parliament to a Jew as well as a seat in parliament to a Christian, the other principal minority group in Iran.
So far as concerns the Iranian attitude and policy toward the Jews, there is complete difference between the ethnic/religious body of world Jewry and the nation of Israel.
In 1979, the Islamic Revolution deposed the Shah and established the present government of Iran.The Imam, Ayatollah Khomeini, returned from exile in Paris. He met with representatives of Iranian Jews at a conference at Qom. At one point during that conference, he is reported to have said, “In the holy Quran, Moses, salutations upon him and all his kin, has been mentioned more than any other prophet. Prophet Moses was a mere shepherd when he stood up to the might of pharaoh and destroyed him. Moses, the Speaker-to-Allah, represented pharaoh’s slaves, the downtrodden, the mostazafeen [the poor people] of his time.” At the end of the conference, he said, “We recognize our Jews as separate from those godless, bloodsucking Zionists.’ and issued a fatwa decreeing that the Jews were to be protected.” This is from the earlier link to a Wikipedia entry.
Here is a link to a website subpart entitled “minorities” from a pro-Iran website entitled “The Other Iran”. This site includes items related to Christian/ Iranian friendship as well as Jewish/Iranian friendship. If you scroll through the Christian items, you will find information about the tomb of Daniel located and honored in Iran; a memorial dedicated to the Iranian Jews who lost their lives during the Iran/Iraq War; a tribute to a Jewish lexicographer and other items concerning Iranian Jews.
Jews and Israel: A Prophyfactic Comment
Prime Minister Netanyahu and many of his political agents and lobbyists in America claim there is no daylight between the world’s Jewish community and the nation of Israel. So, if one opposes an Israeli policy or action, that amounts to anti-Semitism. When he spoke to the U.S. Congress, he spoke, as he put it, for “the Jews”.
This is stunningly bombastic arrogance. Here is a link to an op/ed article that thoughtfully considers the problems with this idea. Haaretz Israel is a Middle East nation, not a commune inhabited by the world’s Jewish population or their proxies. Like any democratic nation, its policies shift and change, not only in response to the acts and policies of its neighbors, but also in response to the ebb and flow of its domestic politics.
I discussed this process in 2009, when I posted my reaction to Ari Shavit’s book, “My Promised Land”. See my blog post entitled “The Broken Promised Land”. In the last two paragraphs of that essay I compared Israel’s progress from colony to national status with American progress from east coast colonies westward through Indian country. Both expansions involved and, in the case of Israel, are still involving some violent and morally questionable policies and actions. It is unreasonable and unrealistic to assume that all Jews would agree with all of the policies and actions of any nation undergoing those kinds of changes.
There are serious and real differences between the United States and Israel and Iran. Iran did not join other Arab nations in the three wars following the establishment of that nation. Iran has, however, supported opposition to U.S. policies and Israeli policies in various parts of the Middle East, notably Lebanon as well as other places. Asymmetric warfare has raged in the form of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Buenos Aires and other locations. The “Hostage Crisis” that plagued the Carter administration was part of that conflict.
These conflicts were not trivial nor can they be forgotten. But they were not based on anti-Semitism. They were based on national rivalries, economic issues, territorial disputes – the usual issues that ignite conflicts between nations. Such conflicts are rarely, if ever, based on pure virtue versus pure evil. The Nazis and the current groups called ISIS come close to pure evil, according to my standards. But the German nation is now populated with the survivors and offspring of many who surely supported Nazi leaders. They no longer embrace Nazi ideas. So even evil people can change their minds or, at least, their behavior and thus qualify for peaceful coexistence with others.
The United States and five other nations are trying to make peace with Iran based on assurance that it will not start a nuclear proliferation contest in the Middle East. We should not allow ourselves to view Iran as a nation of evil people with whom we cannot conduct reasonable negotiations. I believe a necessary step toward that goal is to regard them as people much like ourselves: Flawed, biased, impatient, judgmental, but more interested in living normal lives among families and friends than engaging in conduct that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.
We need prophyfactic protection from words designed to convince us that Iranians are different from us — evil fanatics with whom neither negotiated promises nor reasoned relationships are possible.