Why should the Iranian and Israeli people be on the verge of military confrontation? War between Israel and Iran could easily spill over into a regional conflagration that could have devastating consequences given the likely disruption to oil and gas production.
Do the Iranian people really want to go to war with the Jewish people? The answer is a resounding No! For thousands of years the Iranian and Jewish peoples have lived in peace, and continue to do so to this very day. There are 25,000 Jewish Iranians living and working in Iran without any persecution or worry.
The clerics in power in Iran only represent at most 10 percent of the Iranian people, and stay in power through manipulation of the electoral process. The fact that they happen to hold power is a temporary condition, and eventually the Iranian people will establish a true democratic system of government, and will do so through their own efforts, and without the interference of foreigners.
EVEN IF WE assume that there exists a secret program to build nuclear weapons in Iran, why should Israel be worried? The day Iran tests a nuclear warhead would be the day that the same principle of Mutually Assured Destruction that kept the peace between America and Soviet Russia would come into effect.
This is not a comforting thought, but it is the reality of a nuclear world. We all know that Israel has enough warheads to destroy every city in Iran, and has second-strike capability with its submarines. So why is preventive action on a half-finished enrichment facility based on 60-year-old technology so urgent?
What the Israeli people need to realise is that those in power in Iran become stronger and increase their grip on power when they can point to "enemies" and "threats." So why do you play their game and inadvertently help them?
The Israeli government must not make decisions based on fear and take pre-emptive action. They need to trust their ability to keep the peace through deterrence, and trust the Iranian people to bring about democracy through our own efforts.
We the Iranian people have lived in peace with the Jewish people for thousands years and will continue to do so. Nobody should be allowed to destroy this tradition of peace, even those who misunderstand their own religious teachings.
In 2003, a secret offer was made to the Bush administration by the regime in Teheran that was mistakenly ignored. Contained in that offer was Iran's agreement to end its support of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and to work toward disarming Hizbullah.
Is that not an offer which should be of strong interest to the Israeli people? It's a closer reflection of the thinking of the Iranian people than what some Iranian officials shout.
If the Israeli people were able to look past the bluster, noise and insults, they would discover that the Iranian people have little interest in problems beyond our own borders. We would much prefer that the money being spent in southern Lebanon be spent in Iran, and you will hear this opinion expressed in almost every Teheran taxi you ride in.
ZIONISM is a problem for Israelis to solve, not Iranians. The injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people must be compensated for, as it is not right that Palestinians should pay for the injustices caused by Europeans.
Most Israelis know this, and most Israelis want to live in peaceful co-existence; the problem is to find the right way to do this that does not cause further injustice.
These are issues that Iranians have no business sticking their noses into, even if some clerics like to complicate matters by dragging in religious arguments.
Given their democratic system of government, the Israeli people have the power to make peace within their grasp, and they should use it. Making the mistake of thinking that peace can be achieved through military might or pre-emptive attack is one that will only cause more war.
My prediction is that any pre-emptive military action by Israel or America will result in a blowback effect which would be many magnitudes greater than the initial onslaught.
Attacking Iran would be the equivalent of 1,000 9/11s for the Iranian people.
An attack would also postpone democracy in Iran for decades, and would probably result in a military regime coming to power. And most likely that military regime would have very wide support from the Iranian people, much more so than the current regime.
Making a miscalculation based on fear simply because Israel has the ability to postpone a potential threat—that is not a real threat—is the issue all Israelis need to think hard about.
We have lived in peace with each other for thousands of years—there is no reason why this has to change, and I think most Iranians would agree with this.
Note to reader: This was originally published by the Jerusalem Post back in 2007 after I got into an angry email exchange with the editor due to some misinformation that was posted on their site. The arguement was settled when he agreed to post the above article without any changes. A Hebrew and Arabic version can be found at this link:
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