The real war in the Middle East is not military; it’s ideological.

Israel and the United States could wipe Iran off the face of the map in minutes. Everyone knows it.

Yet despite the overwhelming military strength of both Israel and the U.S., Iran and its assortment of religiously motivated terrorist goons are winning.

How can this be?

In his speech before Congress today, Israel’s prime minister made the following point:

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.

In other words: One system is right and good; the other is wrong and bad.

“Multiculturalism,” which holds that all cultures and political systems are morally equivalent, is a fallacy — a potentially deadly fallacy, at that.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday against accepting a nuclear deal with Iran that would be a “countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare” by a country that “will always be an enemy of America”.

“If the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – it will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons, lots of them,” the Israeli leader said in a 39-minute speech to the U.S. Congress that offered a point-by-point critique of Obama’s Iran diplomacy.

In an appearance that strained U.S.-Israeli relations and was boycotted by dozens of Obama’s fellow Democrats, Netanyahu said Iran’s leadership was “as radical as ever,” could not be trusted and the deal being worked out with world powers would not block Iran’s way to a bomb “but paves its way to a bomb.”

“This deal won’t be a farewell to arms, it will be a farewell to arms control … a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare,” Netanyahu told lawmakers and visitors in the House of Representatives. His speech drew 26 standing ovations. [Source: Thomson/Reuters and Newsmax.com 3/3/15]

The ongoing war in the Middle East is a conflict between two ideological attitudes. One is that different systems of government and culture are all morally and practically equal. The other is that some approaches to life and government are objectively better than others.

If you claim that no one system of government or culture is better than another — if freedom is no better than, or superior to, the form of culture and government Iran has adopted, for example — then it’s easy to see why Netanyahu seems arrogant and wrong.

Yet if you maintain that systems respecting individual rights, economic freedom and the separation of church and state are superior to the alternative, then you will naturally stand up and provide standing ovation after standing ovation when someone like Netanyahu speaks.

It’s not that Netanyahu and the Israeli government are right about everything. It’s not that the American government is right about everything, especially right now.

But there are superior and inferior systems. You might deny or evade this point if you live in the United States or other nations that mostly respect freedom. But you cannot deny or evade taking a stand when you look at Israel, who could be only a single bombing away from losing everything.

Netanyahu makes many people uncomfortable because Israel makes many people uncomfortable. Some people dislike Israel because they hate Jews, or because Israel does not consistently respect the individual rights of its citizens in every respect (neither does the United States).

But the contrast between Israel and nations like Iran reminds us that there is a right and a wrong system of government, and while Israel might not be perfect, Iran could not be further from the ideal. The conflict in the Middle East requires us to judge — to pick a side, to use our capacity for conceptual identification and stake a position.

To people on the “progressive” side of the equation (the ruling class of Washington DC), picking a side is morally wrong and psychologically offensive. They don’t want to be judgmental, and you have to be judgmental to accept the kind of statements that Netanyahu makes. American leaders (George W. Bush was one) sometimes made similar statements, but their actions proved they never meant a word of them. Netanyahu does. And for that reason, he must be ignored, condemned or otherwise punished.

This ideological issue is not simply an intellectual intrigue or game. Entire societies will rise or fall, in due course, on where most people end up taking a stand — assuming they take a stand at all.

In America, there are a minority who are with Netanyahu, not just on Israel, but on the idea that a free society is morally and practically superior to a totalitarian one run by angry bullies whom we could wipe out in seconds, but with whom we instead try to “negotiate,” fawn over and appease in hopes that they won’t destroy us. We’re a weeping, pitiful giant, and in this respect alone, Iran is right to treat us as such. Only Netanyahu stands in their way.

The rest of America either has its head in the sand, or actually sides with our President and the others who claim that there are no right or wrong standards, and who is Netanyahu — or the United States — to claim otherwise?

Sooner or later, this unresolved issue will reach its climax. What form it will take we can’t predict, but the outcome will be determined by which side people take. Either it matters whether you live under freedom, or it doesn’t.

The militants who support and even elect these totalitarian religious dictatorships into power harbor no doubt about which side they’re on. When will those who benefit from the immense and beautiful benefits of civilized freedom ever stand up to do the same?

 

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

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