My wife and I attended a talk last night on Iran and its implications for the Jewish community.
The three panelists, an academic who specializes in anti-Semitism, a woman who runs an agency that collects facts on human rights and a woman who arrived from Iran a decade or so ago and has published reportage, poetry and academic writing on the land of her birth.
We left unsatisfied.
The academic really didn't have much to add to what we already knew. He was out of his element and tried bravely to skew his knowledge to the subject at hand.
The information collector told us about what had happened 30 years ago when the Shah fled the country, with Jimmy Carter's help, and created a power vacuum that the religious fundamentalists who have ruled the country ever since took over.
It was instructive, especially when she said the death squads that had operated at the end of the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1980s were being reassembled. But she didn't connect any of this to what is happening today.
The young woman who fled her homeland painted an optimistic picture, saying that the Iranian opposition had a 30-year head start and that the mullahs were on their way out eventually.
Nobody spoke to the subject at hand: how all this relates to Israel and Jews.
OK, here's my take. I'm not an expert, but I have a theory.
We in the U.S. are used to our government riding over the hill, bugles blowing, flags flying, guns blazing.
What if the present administration is trying to subtly influence what is going on over there.
What if the theory is: Iran is the key to the Middle East.
If we can marginalize the Iranian regime, or even get rid of the mullahs and their beard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pun intended), then the rest of the dictatorships will fall in line. Syria, Iraq, Hizbollah, Hamas, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, all of it, could fall apart.
That could not help but aid Israel. One speaker said the Iranians have been told to support the Palestinian cause, but now, they wonder where the Palestinians were when they need help. They are doing what they always do, bit the hand that feeds them. When Iraqi missiles were heading for Tel Aviv, the Palestinians were on the roofs of their government-provided houses, cheering Saddam Hussein. Nothing has changed. It's gimme, gimme but I don't have to do anything in return.
The panel talked about seeking resolutions in the United Nations condemning the Iranian regime for its murderous stomping on the dissidents in Tehran. Right. Fat lot of good that would do, even if we could get one passed.
Iran is the key. I hope President Obama is working way behind the scenes to help the people of Iran to toss out the theocracy that they have said time and again they do not want.
Enough already with Franken
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Al Franken should be certified as the winner of last November's election. Tomorrow is July. Enough already.
The Republican candidate, incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, has fought in one court after the other to upset the close election which Franken won by a few hundred votes. Now the Republican governor, who has said he would sign the certification, which has to bear the governor's signature, if the court makes him. The court didn't order him to sign, but did say Franken deserved to be the senator.
I know people in Minnesota are patent people. A group of us once waited, on purpose, through three traffic-light cycles to see if anyone would toot their horn at us. Nobody did. They just sat there.
But this is becoming a joke. The people of that state deserve to have two senators serving them. The governor needs to sign the certification and Franken has to be seated as soon as the Senate returns from its Independence Day break.
Enough already in Hartford
I don't know what's ailing Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, but she cannot believe that offering the citizens of the state a huge drop in services in order to keep the wealthiest of our residents from having to pony up more taxes, is a good deal.
There are many programs she wants dropped that bring in a profit for state coffers. There are others that the weakest of our citizens need to keep living.
Remember, the cuts she is proposing are good for two years, not just one. We may be booming out of the recession, hampered by a budget that keeps the state from investing in its programs and citizens.
She needs to rethink her stand.
Until next time...