Guardian moral equivalence watch: Iran edition

Today, the Guardian had a live online reader Q & A with contributors  and , on the Iranian nuclear issue (the Iran nuclear crisis: Q & A with Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Richard Norton-Taylor, March 12).

The piece was introduced with this:

The prospect of armed conflict with Iran seems to grow more likely by the day. Israel has warned that it will not countenance an Iranian nuclear weapons programme, and the US has argued that, while it wants to give diplomacy time, all options remain on the table.

The rhetoric was ratcheted up again last week with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington DC. But to what extent should we take the sabre-rattling at face value? And what’s being said inside Iran?

So, I decided to weigh in, and wrote this:

(I also provided links in my original comment to buttress my claims)

Saeed Kamali Dehghan then responded to me:

First, Iranian leaders haven’t just been “crazy with their words”. As I pointed out, and what Saeed ignored, they’ve also been crazy with their deeds: funding and arming Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah.

And, when has Israel called for the annihilation of Iran, or offered a state-sponsored religious justification for the mass murder of Iranian civilians?

Second, yes, we can “measure which one is more dangerous to the world”.

According to the U.S. State Department, Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Finally, his last point suggests that both Iran and Israel discriminate equally against “others”.

Boy, where to begin?

Has Israel hanged gays like Iran? No.

Actually, Israel has only executed one person since its founding: Adolf Eichmann.

And, more to the point, Israel is, by far the most gay-friendly nation in the Middle East. In fact, Tel Aviv was voted the most gay-friendly city in the world in poll conducted by the LGBT travel website

Has Israel discriminated against their religious minorities like Iran? No again.

While, in Iran, the Bahai face systemic persecution, and a Christian pastor faces imminent execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith, religious minorities – Muslims, Druze, Bahai and Christians – are thriving in Israel, and their numbers have grown considerably since the Jewish state’s founding in 1948.

Further, while women in Israel are free and represented in all sectors of society, Iran systemically denies women equal rights – and even executes women for the crime of adultery.

Also, note that Saeed didn’t even attempt to address the fact that Iran arms and funds at least three proscribed terrorist groups on Israel’s borders. That is, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been engaged for years in a proxy war against Israel, arming groups with the explicit aim of destroying the Jewish state.

Finally, this blog has long argued that the Guardian Left simply does not represent genuinely progressive values in even the broadest sense of the term.

Israel’s liberal advantages over Iran are stark and simply beyond debate.

A genuinely liberal voice would understand this painfully obvious moral truth.

4 replies »

  1. Good piece Adam.
    No doubt one of “the Boys from Brazil” will be posting soon to tell you it’s a mistranslation or a misunderstanding and the only aggressors are the wicked Israelis.
    Iran is a peace-loving, forward thinking country that only hangs people from cranes to protest at the cruel treatment of the ‘Palestinians’ by the wicked Israeli Zionists.

  2. Adam, congratulations, you wrote a good piece and I was looking forward to adding a pro-Israel question and comment and with a reference to your excellent comments. This was long before today’s Guardian becomes tomorrow’s edition but to my great disappointment he thread was already closed.
    It’s extraordinary that two guys, neither of them having any insider or specialized knowledge of whether or not there is going to be an Israeli pre-emptitve strike on Iran, or displaying any grasp of the peril facing both Israel and the West, are answering, dissembling or eliding around the core of questions put to them by readers on the so-called Israel-Iran conflict.
    We were informed by these guys that an Israeli strike on Iran would be ‘illegal’.
    No doubt during WW2 the nazis regarded the Warsaw ghetto uprising as ‘illegal’. Perhaps if the Argentines invade the Falklands Islands again the Guardian would enlighten us as to whether such an unprovoked attack on a British territory would be ‘illegal’ or a bold anti-colonialist move?
    In 1941, not exactly out of the blue, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor despite very few Americans expecting Japan to do any such thing. That, surely, should be a history lesson from not so long ago.
    The simple fact is that Obama doesn’t want Israel to defend itself by a strike on Iran because it would spoil his re-election campaign.

    • The Guardian gives the adjectives ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ a negative connotation.