Ahmadinejad on Israel's Border

Wednesday this week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, will visit Lebanon and go to the hottest flash point in the world: the border between Israel and Lebanon. What makes this border so dangerous? The 40,000 missiles supplied by Iran to Hezb'allah pointed at every Israeli city make this place the epicenter of international terror. That puts Israel squarely on the front lines of the war against Islamic extremism.

Let there be no mistake: this is a war between the forces of liberty and the extremists who want to bring about the downfall of the West. That puts Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, along with even the moderates in the Palestinian camp, on the same side together with Europe and the United States.

The forces of liberty also include the millions of brave Iranians who have risked their lives to protest the actions of their own government.

On the extremist side, there are two forces: al-Qaeda for the Sunni Muslims and Iran's leadership for the Shiite Muslims. They want to bring about the downfall of the West -- not because of any foreign policy issues, but for the simple reason that Westerners are nonbelievers, infidels, who support a set of values that are anathema to the Islamic extremists. Accordingly, anyone who allies themselves with a nonbeliever, or shares his values, is by extension evil and worthy of death.

No one has done more to expose the real threat behind the extremist ideology of the Iranian regime than German political scientist Matthias Kuentzel. In a paper delivered at Columbia University in 2008, Kuentzel cites this keynote speech given by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. In the speech, Ahmadinejad said, "We are in the process of a historical war between the World of Arrogance and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years." Kuentzel explains that the term "World of Arrogance" comes from the extremists' worldview that the liberal ideals of the European Enlightenment are a threat to their version of Islam.  

That Islamic extremists seek the downfall of the West is no secret. Kuentzel notes Ahamdinejad's own words in a 2006 letter to President Bush in which Ahmadeinejad warned the American leader, "Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems." 

Why do Iranian leaders repeatedly call for the destruction of Israel? Beyond basic anti-Semitism, it is because Israel's very existence represents liberal-Western values: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equality before the law for all. The fact that Israel protects these rights for all of its citizens, including Muslim-Arabs, puts it in stark contrast to the Iranian regime.  

Under the Iranian regime, basic human rights do not exist. Iran imprisons journalists, tortures and murders dissidents, represses women, persecutes members of the Bahá'í faith, and carries out public hangings and stonings as forms of capital punishment. By contrast, Israel is the only liberal Western-style democracy in the heart of the Middle East, and that single fact makes it a target for Iranian sponsored extremists. This also explains why Iran is using Hezb'allah to do everything possible to subvert the hopes for democracy in Lebanon. 

In a now-famous op-ed piece published last June, Spain‘s former Prime Minister, José María Aznar, wrote

Israel is our first line of defense in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.

Iran is certainly doing everything possible to take down Israel. Over the past decade, Iran's proxies, Hamas and Hezb'allah, have targeted Israel with an unprecedented barrage of terror attacks. Consider these numbers.  Since 2000,  Israeli civilians have been the target of 140 suicide bombings, 4,000 Hezb'allah rockets fired on northern Israel (summer of 2006), and 8,000 Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel. All that in a nation the size of New Jersey. 

The coming year, 2011, will be crucial for many reasons. As Israel works to achieve a lasting peace with its Palestinian neighbors, Iran's proxies, Hamas and Hezb'allah will do everything possible to sabotage the hopes for peace. If Iran succeeds in arming itself with nuclear weapons, Hamas and Hezb'allah will be further emboldened to carry out acts of terror with an Iranian nuclear umbrella. For Ahmadinejad, peace between Arabs and the Jewish state would represent a victory for the survival of  liberal democratic values and a major defeat for extremism.

Ahmadinejad's visit to the Israel-Lebanon border region is no coincidence. It is a symbolic clarification of a much larger struggle. Hezb'allah's 40,000 missiles supplied by Iran are not only aimed at Israeli civilians, but they target the very idea of  liberal Western democracy. They are aimed at each of us who value freedom. Israel's struggle for survival against extremism is America's struggle. As Israel stands on the front lines of these unprecedented challenges, let us stand with Israel.

Bob Feferman is chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of St. Joe Valley in South Bend, Indiana.
Wednesday this week, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, will visit Lebanon and go to the hottest flash point in the world: the border between Israel and Lebanon. What makes this border so dangerous? The 40,000 missiles supplied by Iran to Hezb'allah pointed at every Israeli city make this place the epicenter of international terror. That puts Israel squarely on the front lines of the war against Islamic extremism.

Let there be no mistake: this is a war between the forces of liberty and the extremists who want to bring about the downfall of the West. That puts Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, along with even the moderates in the Palestinian camp, on the same side together with Europe and the United States.

The forces of liberty also include the millions of brave Iranians who have risked their lives to protest the actions of their own government.

On the extremist side, there are two forces: al-Qaeda for the Sunni Muslims and Iran's leadership for the Shiite Muslims. They want to bring about the downfall of the West -- not because of any foreign policy issues, but for the simple reason that Westerners are nonbelievers, infidels, who support a set of values that are anathema to the Islamic extremists. Accordingly, anyone who allies themselves with a nonbeliever, or shares his values, is by extension evil and worthy of death.

No one has done more to expose the real threat behind the extremist ideology of the Iranian regime than German political scientist Matthias Kuentzel. In a paper delivered at Columbia University in 2008, Kuentzel cites this keynote speech given by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. In the speech, Ahmadinejad said, "We are in the process of a historical war between the World of Arrogance and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years." Kuentzel explains that the term "World of Arrogance" comes from the extremists' worldview that the liberal ideals of the European Enlightenment are a threat to their version of Islam.  

That Islamic extremists seek the downfall of the West is no secret. Kuentzel notes Ahamdinejad's own words in a 2006 letter to President Bush in which Ahmadeinejad warned the American leader, "Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems." 

Why do Iranian leaders repeatedly call for the destruction of Israel? Beyond basic anti-Semitism, it is because Israel's very existence represents liberal-Western values: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equality before the law for all. The fact that Israel protects these rights for all of its citizens, including Muslim-Arabs, puts it in stark contrast to the Iranian regime.  

Under the Iranian regime, basic human rights do not exist. Iran imprisons journalists, tortures and murders dissidents, represses women, persecutes members of the Bahá'í faith, and carries out public hangings and stonings as forms of capital punishment. By contrast, Israel is the only liberal Western-style democracy in the heart of the Middle East, and that single fact makes it a target for Iranian sponsored extremists. This also explains why Iran is using Hezb'allah to do everything possible to subvert the hopes for democracy in Lebanon. 

In a now-famous op-ed piece published last June, Spain‘s former Prime Minister, José María Aznar, wrote

Israel is our first line of defense in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down.

Iran is certainly doing everything possible to take down Israel. Over the past decade, Iran's proxies, Hamas and Hezb'allah, have targeted Israel with an unprecedented barrage of terror attacks. Consider these numbers.  Since 2000,  Israeli civilians have been the target of 140 suicide bombings, 4,000 Hezb'allah rockets fired on northern Israel (summer of 2006), and 8,000 Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel. All that in a nation the size of New Jersey. 

The coming year, 2011, will be crucial for many reasons. As Israel works to achieve a lasting peace with its Palestinian neighbors, Iran's proxies, Hamas and Hezb'allah will do everything possible to sabotage the hopes for peace. If Iran succeeds in arming itself with nuclear weapons, Hamas and Hezb'allah will be further emboldened to carry out acts of terror with an Iranian nuclear umbrella. For Ahmadinejad, peace between Arabs and the Jewish state would represent a victory for the survival of  liberal democratic values and a major defeat for extremism.

Ahmadinejad's visit to the Israel-Lebanon border region is no coincidence. It is a symbolic clarification of a much larger struggle. Hezb'allah's 40,000 missiles supplied by Iran are not only aimed at Israeli civilians, but they target the very idea of  liberal Western democracy. They are aimed at each of us who value freedom. Israel's struggle for survival against extremism is America's struggle. As Israel stands on the front lines of these unprecedented challenges, let us stand with Israel.

Bob Feferman is chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of St. Joe Valley in South Bend, Indiana.

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