Thursday, September 9, 2010

Here's A Great Quiz for You: Who Just Condemned Antisemitism and Iran's Regime?

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By Barry Rubin

"I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything. [Jews] were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God....Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms. One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation. The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust."

Answer: Fidel Castro in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic. Castro was lecturing Iranian leaders to get real, largely in his view to avoid what he fears will be a US.-Iran war. He puts the main blame on Iran.

Fidel, Si; Tehran, No?

Now that's quite a surprise, isn't it, not only given Castro's Communist viewpoint but also because of his long anti-Israel and anti-American record? But why is this also not surprising? Because Castro is a man--as is generally true of Communists even, in a real sense, if they are Chinese--of Western civilization.

Western civilization is shaped by Christianity and the Bible and thus of a certain view of Jews. Western civilization is also shaped by the Enlightenment: rationalism, pragmatism, the enthronement of logic. Much of Middle Eastern society, at least the dominant ideologies of radical Arab nationalism and of Islamism, don't share that narrative. And, paradoxical as it may seem, it is those approaches which not only hold power generally in the Middle East but also increasingly in the West, where subjectivism has been deified in recent decades and history rewritten.

There's more. From Fidel's traditional Marxist viewpoint (which on this basically coincides with a traditional liberal standpoint that doesn't sugarcoat repressive right-wing dictatorships either), the dictionary definition of Iran and its allies are as reactionary clerical-fascists who mislead the masses through demagoguery from understanding their true interests! Almost makes you nostalgic for Marxism-Leninism, doesn't it?

So we have reached the point where Fidel understands Islamism while Chinese Communists seemingly  better comprehend how capitalism brings more prosperity than a state-controlled economy better than most of the Western intelligentsia!

Poor Fidel! His 51-year-long rule has wrecked Cuba using principles some of which, despite this example, are now fashionable in the West. But now he is no longer idol of the revolutionaries and their groupies, though there are some who  still think Cuba's health system is superior to the American one. All that's saving the Cuban revolution's memory today in the West is that Che Guevara looks better on a t-shirt than Yasir Arafat, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Hugo Chavez.

Generally, though, the mantle has passed to people far weirder than he. Even Castro can't quite believe the nonsense Western intellectuals who would once have been Marxists are prepared to swallow.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

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