Proudly presenting the original English version of Jeffrey Gedmin's latest article in WELT.
Hypocrisy in the West: Iran and the Peace Movement
Column in "Die Welt", 21.06.2006
By Jeffrey Gedmin
Look at it this way, says Mohammad Ali Ramin: "So long as Israel exists there will never be peace." The Iranian Presidential adviser also told students in Rasht recently that the holocaust rumour and bird flu were somehow inter-related, the latter being a conspiracy by the West to destract from its failures in the Middle East. Ramin said killing chickens was part of a plot to control prices. He also seems to believe that Jews once caused the plague and typhus because "Jews are very filthy people."
As all this does sound just a tad dangerous, I keep wondering what happened to the peace movement. The peace movement has always been anti-nuclear. Iran wants the bomb. The peace movement loves the U.N. and international law. Teheran defies the International Atomic Energy Agency. The peace movement condemns the "arms race." When Iran goes nuclear, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey will also want the bomb. The peace movement cherishes human rights. The mullahs stone women. The peace movement is modern, multicultural, and secular. President Ahmadinejad believes in the Hidden Imam and relishes a clash of civilizations. The peace movement likes peace. The Iranian leader has called for a U.N. member state to be wiped off the face of the earth.
The peace movement is once again exposed as a farce and a fraud. During the Cold War it thrived on anti-Americanism and a good dose of Soviet block support. It was back recently when George W. Bush said he would compel Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. resolutions. In Berlin, half a million people took to the streets. Teachers, students, churches, trade unions. It is hard to remember too many of these folks lifting a finger for the people of Iraq before or ever since.
And those banners declaring "No Blood for Oil"? Do the peaceniks know that Europe depends on Middle Eastern oil even more than the United States? Saudi Arabia is one of Germany's most important trading partners in the region. Iran is the other. During Gerhard Schroeder's last year in office, German exports to Iran rose by 33.4 percent (3.6
billion Euros). German imports also rose by 25 percent (392 million Euros) two years ago, with the first expansion of crude oil deliveries. The former chancellor, now chairman of the supervisory board of Russia's Gazprom-let's call him father of the modern German peace movement--was just named honorary chairman of the German Near and Middle East Association. This is an umbrella group for German industry. And Schroeder is now speaking out against sanctions for Iran.
What's really amusing is not the glaring hypocrisy of the peace movement's inaction over Iran (or Sudan, North Korea, and Syria), but rather what some of these groups are saying these days. The Network of the German Peace Movement is worried that a "pro-Western government" could come to power in Iran. In a policy paper written for the Peace Research Group at the University of Kassel, a Professor Meggle of the University of Leipzig says, "Iran would be stupid" not to pursue the bomb. The German Peace Society says Iran needs the bomb to defend against the Americans and Israelis. The Berlin office of the International Physicians for the Protection against Nuclear War has released a paper describing what will happen in the case of a nuclear attack against Iran. More than 2 million people will die in the first 48 hours apparently; another million will be seriously injured. More than 10 million in the region will suffer the effects of radiation.
When America went into Afghanistan after 9/11, the cover of Stern magazine, the popular German weekly, blared "Stop this War." Inside the magazine were statements by 44 prominent intellectual, political, and cultural figures demanding an end to American aggression. According to my colleague Alexander Arndt, no more than a couple of these great humanitarians have taken time publicly to raise concern about Iran's human rights record or the prospect of the mullahs getting nuclear weapons. I did find one peace blogger who said he thought the Iranian leadership was over doing it a bit recently. Hope springs eternal, right? (emphasis added)