ItÂs clear whose side UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is on.
On August 17, Ban denounced IranÂs supreme leader Sayyed Ali Hosseini KhameneiÂs condemnation of Zionism as a political system. KhameneiÂs remarks were Âoffensive and inflammatory,Â Ban cautioned, adding that the UN Charter prohibits member states from threatening one another.
IranÂs ÂthreatsÂ against Israel, including president Mahmoud AhmadinejadÂs alleged threat to Âwipe Israel off the mapÂ have the appearance, though not the substance, of threats. TheyÂre predictions about the inevitable collapse of a morally indefensible political system. Zionism will eventually fade from the pages of history, the Iranian president augured, not in a hail of nuclear missiles, but because its racial exclusion and ethnic cleansing are the rotten timbers upon which it rests.
Anyone who had prophesied that the days of ApartheidÂanother morally indefensible political systemÂwere numbered, would hardly have been accused of threatening to bomb South Africa. But Ahmadinejad, as president of an economically nationalist state that exhibits little enthusiasm for hitching its wagon economically and politically to Wall Street and Washington, gets special treatment.
KhameneiÂs prediction, and AhmadinejadÂs rendering of it, was soon turned into a canard about Iran threatening to bomb Israel, which demagogues in Tel Aviv and Washington have been using since to sanitize IsraelÂs threats to wage war on Iran. Use bombs, sanctions, isolation, and a foreign-trained domestic overthrow movement to usher Khamenei and Ahmadinejad off the stage of history, install pliant local rulers, and IranÂs back in the Wall Street camp.
While IranÂs leaders predict ZionismÂs downfall under the weight of its own injustices, Israel has been making real threatsÂand not predictions about the collapse of the Islamic state, but promises to rain death and destruction on Iran from the air. All the same, Ban has been silent. Some UN member states, it seems, are afforded the privilege of threatening other member states, without a dressing down by the Secretary General.
IsraelÂs Âentire existence is premised on the forced removal of Palestinians from their land,Â Mazda Majidi points out in a recent Liberation article. IsraelÂs origins in ethnic cleansing might have led Ban to denounce Zionism as Âoffensive and inflammatory,Â rather than KhameneiÂs screed against it. Israel has amassed a robust record of serial aggressions, invading Âevery single one of its neighbors: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.Â And much Âof the territory it has occupied it has refused to ever return.Â
WhatÂs more, its aggressions have Âgone beyond its borders, including its bombing of the Osirak nuclear plant in Iraq in 1981 and its military assistance to reactionary states around the globe, including apartheid South Africa.Â
So how could Ban miss the pimple on IsraelÂs face, considering the country was born with it, and that it has once again become red and angry? More to the point, how could he play to IsraelÂs modus operandi, which goes back to IsraelÂs founding in 1948, of justifying its aggressions on the wholly laughable grounds of being under an existential threat? Iran, a non-nuclear-arms country without superpower patronage, no more poses an existential threat to the US-backed, nuclear-arms-wielding Israel, than Canada does to the United States.
BanÂs bias is inevitable. Like all UN secretaries general, heÂs simply an extension of the countries that make up the permanent membership of the United Nations Security CouncilÂthe most important of which, of course, is the United States.
Washington and its other extensions, which include Tel Aviv and the Western mass media, have been engaged in a long-running campaign of manipulating public opinion to make Iran loom large in the minds of the public as a major threat to IsraelÂall in the service of building a pretext for war. ThereÂs a broader campaign of which this is only a part: to eliminate every state that refuses to subordinate itself economically and politically to the profit-making interests of the banks, corporations and major investors of the United States and its major alliesÂthe one (or more precisely, the fraction of the one) percent.
MilosevicÂs Yugoslavia was sanctioned and bombed because it was a social democracy that resisted a free-market take-over, not becauseÂas the story goesÂethnic Albanians were ill-treated. Libyan leader Muamar GadaffiÂs sin, according to a leaked US State Department cable, was that he practiced Âresource nationalismÂ, insisting his countryÂs resources be used to benefit Libyans, not because he was allegedly about to unleash a genocide.
The US State Department complains that Syria has Âfailed to join an increasingly interconnected global economy,Â which is to say, has failed to turn over its state-owned enterprises to private investors, and that Âideological reasonsÂ continue to prevent the Asad government from liberalizing SyriaÂs economy, not that the countryÂs president, Bashar al-Asad, hates democracy and tramples human rights. (Were this the reason Washington opposes AsadÂs government, how would we explain US support for the monarchical, misogynist, opposition-jailing, democracy-abominating tyrannies of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain?)
Iran, too, has committed its share of transgressions against free-market, free-enterprise, free-trade theology. The countryÂs constitution defines the public sector as primary, and Âthe private sector as the means of furnishing the governmentÂs needs rather than responding to market requirements.Â Democratic socialists will be shocked to discover that this is the very same economic model that such New Left socialists as Ralph Miliband defined as emblematic of what a democratic socialism ought to be (which isnÂt to say that Iran is a democratic socialist state, only that economically it is very close to what many socialist thinkers have envisaged for Western socialism.)
Needless to say, countries that limit room for foreign investors, and subordinate the private sector to public policy goals, rather than Wall StreetÂs goals, are an anathema in Washington, and must be eliminated.
The UN General Secretary is on board.
August 24, 2012