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“Wipe Israel Off the Map”: Neo-Con Propoganda Requires More than Ad Hoc Answers

Dr. Robert Dickson Crane

Posted May 26, 2006


"Wipe Israel Off the Map”: Neo-Con Propaganda Requires More than Ad Hoc Answers

by Dr. Robert Dickson Crane

President Bush is right that we are in a war against evil, but the battle front consists in defining what evil is and in identifying its perpetrators.

The propaganda run-up toward a possible attack on Iran, is a good case in point. The “warners” against such a venture lack both overall perspective and readily available factual analysis. For example, Abdallah Schleifer has a simple request as Washington Bureau Chief of the leading Arabic news medium, Al Arabiya. He wants to consult a literate Persian capable of authoritatively exposing the malicious distortion of President Ahmadinejad’s statement about the need for internal change in Israeli and American politics. A correct translation was widely available on the internet almost immediately before MEMRI established the official American version, so most Muslims dismissed this “Wipe Israel off the map” bit as simply “more of the same.”

In retrospect, however, it would be good to get an analysis by an objective Persian scholar. Unfortunately, the most objective, like Syed Hossein Nasr, might not lower himself to get involved in such a stupid affair. It is understandable that Muslims think it is beneath their dignity to defend themselves against professional Muslim baiters. Under normal circumstances it would be at best a waste of time to lower oneself to their level. At worst, at least in most of the cultures of the world, the mere act of defending oneself at this level implies guilt and therefore is an act of injustice to oneself and others.

Muslims are advised by the Qur’an to reply to attacks by simplistic distorters of the truth with a simple phrase, “Peace be with you.” But, this, in my view, does not apply to political situations where the lives of millions of people may depend on exposing falsehoods.

We should distinguish between strategy and tactics. The major strategic effort should focus on exposing the evil nature of entire paradigms of thought, rather than merely on the mendacious attacks that ideologues mount against those who expose their lies. I follow the efforts of CAIR and others to debunk such attacks, but frankly I find this defensive mission quite boring. The sophisticated and diabolical reversal of fact and fiction at the paradigmatic level by such brilliant hate-mongers as the Neo-Con, Bishop John Neuhaus of First Things, is totally ignored by Muslims, and its rebuttal is beyond the competence of most non-Muslims, despite the fact that this is where evil gets its real leverage.

In order to reduce the vulnerability of American policy makers to their own propaganda, however, the tactical level should not be ignored. There is a clear need to counter such specific distortions of simple fact as we have seen in recent days by the disinformation about Ahmadinejad’s alleged genocidal policies and about a supportive Nazi mentality pervading both the Iranian parliament and by implication the entire Iranian people.

Actually, for those who could stomach the work, which would be like digging maggots out of a boil, it might be good to establish a little think-tank specifically to expose the malicious bias on which all U.S. policy is based by re-translating and annotating everything that MEMRI supplies on a daily basis to the U.S. government. An important criterion for objectivity would be an equal openness to expose the extremism that emanates both from fringe groups among Muslims and from official Muslim circles, since there is often more than a grain of truth in what MEMRI reports. Then those who want to find out what actually has been said and its background would have a ready source to distinguish fact from fiction.

Such a service might even be a useful project for a Global Center for Peace through Justice, though perhaps such a negative focus on injustice would merely distract attention from the much more important work of proactively promoting justice, which is the missing paradigmatic dimension in American foreign policy.

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