Esoterica (Iran & “the Jews”)

I probably shouldn’t be posting about this, but how can one not? I refuse to register a definite opinion. How then is one not to speak? How can one not-speak.

The New York Times on Sunday put on the top right column the story about the intense pressure being exerted by Israel and AIPAC regarding the Iranian nuclear program. Top right makes it the lead story of the day. That will make the (blame) Israel firsters very happy, just in case the whole Iran story goes south, as it may just do. I just don’t think that, in the end, any of this will have anything to do with the Jews.

For all the money that AIPAC can bring to the table, at the end of the day they are more mouth than muscle. I think the Suadis are smarter. They know how to protect their interests. And they know how to keep quiet, to keep things under wraps and esoteric. Unlike the Jews, the Saudis know how not to shrei gevalt and “Amalek,” and all that. This is a unique Jewish art form not worthy of (a) modern people.

The only thing I don’t believe for a minute is that the U.S. will tolerate a hostile, nuclear armed hegemon in the Gulf. As the Israelis begin to rattle the cage hard, it’s easy to forget that it’s not about the Jews, no matter how much military mischief the Israelis can or cannot make. It’s about the oil. This was Noam Chomsky’s argument against all the “Iraq and the Israel Lobby” idiocy that is still flying around out there.

Philosophically, I’m not sure I have much to say about any of this. Hannah Arendt taught us to see the public arena as the sphere of the political. I’m not sure that this holds true for the kind of geopolitics at play now. I think we are fast approaching the point where public “discourse” breaks down and stops meaning anything. Fact and fantasy are getting all mashed up and confused. What I’m beginning to figure out, sorting all this out, is that any political predication is practically worthless. It’s best not to speak, except maybe in negations.

As far as I see it, Obama and the Saudis are the only ones out there who are not full of sh%t. And he’s not saying anything, and they are saying even less. He’s the one who will decide and they are the ones that matter. I wish “the Jews” could be savvy enough not to worry that it’s not about “them.”

I’m not sure the AIPAC story is top right column news. Maybe front page in the middle or at the bottom. Or top left column. A not unsubtle distinction, I know. About all of this, one cannot be too cynical, and those who aren’t cynical and then cynical again should probably not be trusted in the judgments they make. Those who claim in public to know most likely don’t.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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