Afshin Ellian is an Iranian dissident intellectual who fled his country in 1982, finally finding his way to Holland. He is now a professor of law in a Dutch university as well as a philosopher and poet. On a recent visit to Israel, he was interviewed by Dror Eydar for Israel HaYom.
He explains that the Western press habitually gives a false picture of Israel. He also points out that the West or the World is only interested in suffering Arabs when the suffering can be blamed on Jews. Otherwise, Arabs killing Arabs is considered natural.
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"It was an amazing experience to see Jerusalem. I now see how much Israel's image is warped by Western media. This is a multicultural society, with normal people, working people. Western journalists say that Israel is an occupier, that Israel is evil, and that it deploys heavy weapons against the Palestinians. But that is not the whole reality of Israel. Look at Tel Aviv. It is a very normal city just like The Hague, just like Amsterdam. Israel is the one spot of abnormality in the Middle East. At the same time it is like Europe at the heart of the region. I can understand why Israel arouses such fury among radical Muslims.
"I visited many Arab villages as well as the city of Haifa. . . ."
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Q: Indeed, why is it that when Arabs slaughter Arabs the world is silent but when Jews arise to defend themselves, the whole world jumps up in condemnation?
"Neither the Western media nor the Arab countries are interested in the Palestinians. At this very moment, many Muslims are being killed in Syria, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, but they do not receive the focus of attention. The focus is the enemy, the State of Israel, the Jewish people. Unfortunately, many European politicians have adopted the Western journalists' outlook on the conflict. The military operation [Pillar of Defense] that took place recently here was neither a major conflict nor a major tragedy. The real problem was, and is, in Syria, in Damascus, where [Syrian President Bashar] Assad has bombed hospitals and is killing his people. There a humanitarian disaster is unfolding.
"The West considers it 'natural' for Arabs to kill Arabs. In regard to the Jews, it seems that the Western world is fixated with the eternal image of the crucified Jew, and is unable to replace it with someone who bears arms to defend himself, resolute not to be crucified again. Incidentally, since the Shia came to power in 1503, all minorities in Iran, especially the Jews, were severely persecuted.
"Perhaps every nation, each culture, needs some eternal fictitious enemy. Not a political enemy, because at the end of the day you can speak with them, negotiate with them. But a fictitious enemy is an eternal one. Without the state of Israel, the Iranians would have to turn to Allah in prayer for guidance. The Iranians need Israel. Without you the Iranian regime is nothing, an empty shell. This is now Iran's nucleus of identity."
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Whole interview is here