Why Khamenei’s Mainstream, Islamic/Koranic Rationale for Israel’s Destruction Ain’t the “Brezhnev Doctrine”

My PJ Media essay today (Monday, 8/24/15) rivets on Ayatollah Khamenei’s recently released 414 pp. Antisemitic screed entitled “Palestine.” Contra a recent willfully uninformed “conservative Iran expert’s” assessment that Khamenei’s tract—a collection of speeches dating back 25-years, through the present—somehow reprised the Communist “Brezhnev Doctrine,” the essay demonstrates how the Ayatollah’s thoroughly mainstream Islamic ideology, rooted in thirteen centuries of jihadism, and Islam’s theological Jew-hatred, are encapsulated in five central Koranic verses (Koran 17:4-8), and their authoritative classical and modern exegeses. Khamenei’s views are thus entirely consistent with a millennium of shared, authoritative Sunni and Shiite understandings, vis-à-vis the Jews.

The seminal modern contributions of Allamah Tabatabai, Iran, and Shiism’s most important modern religious intellectual, underscore just how firmly Khamenei’s analyses are rooted in traditional, mainstream Shiite Islam. In addition, Tabatabai summarizes centuries old, mainstream Shiite interpretations, via Shiism’s own foundational, conspiratorial Jew-hating “traditions,” which hold the Jews responsible for the killing of the sect’s two iconic “martyrs,” Ali and Husayn. Repeatedly actualized in paroxysms of violence—from full scale pogroms, to individual acts of murder and assault—this latter ideology, in particular, had a horrific historical impact on Iran’s Jews, chronically oppressed under the Sharia, till today. Most ominously, these unique Shiite traditions of conspiratorial Jew-hatred are invoked at present to sanction the destruction of the collective embodiment of Jewish perfidy and “corruption,” the modern Jewish State of Israel

Key excerpts are presented below, but please read the essay in its entirety.

However, as we must also maintain a defiant sense of humor, (re-)consider this, post (and recording) from 2009!:


https://archive.org/details/AshuraLuraLura (direct link to “vocals”)

From today’s PJ Media essay:

Khamenei’s gloss on these pivotal Koranic verses is not a sui generis interpretation born of modern Communist “Brezhnev Doctrine”-infused “Islamic radicalism.” Rather, Khamenei’s exegesis is entirely consistent with the most authoritative classical and modern Muslim commentators on the Koran, including Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai’s,The measure of balance/justly held scales in the interpretation of the Quran,” which is regarded as the most important 20th century Shiite Koranic commentary. Indeed the mainstream Islamic Studies academy—both Western and Iranian—have designated Tabatabai the leading modern Shiite religious scholar and philosopher, dubbing him a “theosopher.” Allameh [Allamah] Tabatabaei [Tabatabai] University, named in honor of this celebrated Shiite authority and “theosopher,” is the largest specialized state social sciences university in Iran and the Middle East, with 17000 students and 500 full-time faculty members. Affirming his continued lofty stature, and relevance, an Iranian national conference was held on May 3, 2012, in Qom, dedicated to “recognizing the interpretative methods and principles used by Allameh [Allamah] Tabatabaee [Tabatabai] in [his Koranic] exegesis.”

….Tabatabai also recapitulates Shiite traditions claiming the “corrupting” Jews conspiratorial responsibility for the murder of Shiism’s most lauded “martyrs”—the fourth Caliph Ali, and his son Husayn.

In Tafsīr al-Burhān [it is relayed] from Ibn Qūlūya through a chain that goes back to Ṣāliḥ ibn Sahl, who has [a tradition] from Abū `Abdullah (peace be upon him) about the word of Allah, Mighty and Supreme.  [About the text] “And We ordained for the Children of Israel in Scripture that you will surely bring corruption in the land two times”, he said: ‘This is the killing of the commander of the faithful and the stabbing of Ḥasan the son of `Alī (peace be upon him)’. [About] “And you will rise to great arrogance”, he said:  ‘This is the killing of [`Alī’s second son] Ḥusayn (peace be upon him)’.  [About] “So when the threat arrived for the first of them”, he said:  ‘When Ḥusayn’s victory will come’…   “We sent against you servants of Ours – those of great military might, and they searched the homes”: That is a people that God will send before the redeemer will rise up. When they call upon the family of Muḥammad separately, they will then certainly capture him. “And it was a threat fulfilled”

Perhaps most striking is Tabatabai’s approving affirmation of these (“and other”) traditions, that the two corruptions mentioned in the Koran were the murdering of Ali and Ḥusayn. Such traditions are currently cited as a Shiite rationale for Israel’s destruction, whereas earlier, Tabatabai ultimately invoked Muhammad himself as a final validation for this viewpoint,

presented to reflect all the things that go on within this nation and what comes forth from it, from the Israelites, truthfully reflecting what the prophet [Muhammad] (may Allah honor him and grant him peace) repeatedly reported, namely that this nation will commit exactly what the Israelites committed [before] in completely the same way.  They would even take possession of a lizard’s hole [in retaliation] for [that lizard] disturbing them.

The poignant, experientially wise observations of Iranian Jewish exile, Farideh Goldin, born (1953) and raised in the Shiraz Iran Jewish ghetto, provide an apposite segue back to the specific, mainstream Shiite Islamic rationale for Israel, and the Jews’, destruction, epitomized by Khamenei’s—and “theosopher” Tabatabai’s—shared understandings. Goldin’s moving, elegantly written 2003 memoir Wedding Song forthrightly connects the open resurgence of Shiite Islamic antisemitism in the (1979-present) Khomeini-era—after Iran’s popular rejection of the relatively brief 1925-1979 flirtation with Pahlavi-era Westernization and secularization—to the documented legacy of traditional Shiite religious fanaticism during the 1501-1925 Safavid and Qajar theocratic dynasties. Her illuminating discussion about the association between paroxysms of Shiite anti-Jewish violence, and the Ashura commemorations, and re-enactments, reveals how Shiism’s unique notions of Jewish conspiracism against the sect’s iconic “martyrs” fomented recurrent, murderous pogroms against Iran’s hapless, ghettoized Jews.

Again and again across many generations, the Moslem clerics had initiated attacks on the Jews as holy wars [jihads]. The ghetto had been decimated time after time. Our elders retold the stories of horror, remembering times when pogroms had been carried on through the ghetto. Lost in their deep sorrows, highly emotional Moslem men recreated in the Jewish ghettos the story of a war lost long ago. Wanting to avenge the dead, the mourners carried on a jihad, a holy war against the Jews, to imitate Imam Ali who had shed blood for the advancement of Islam. The killing, they believed, would bring personal salvation and global peace. It would expedite the resurrection of the messiah, the twelfth Imam, who would reappear when all nations accepted Allah as the only God and Mohammed as the final prophet to replace all before him.

During the Moslem holy month of Moharam [when the Ashura commemoration takes place], my family was especially careful. “Don’t wear colorful clothes,” my grandmother reminded us. It was a month of mourning, of wearing black. None of us wanted to provoke hostility by any implications of happiness. The men came home early every night, bringing their work home if they could, although there was not much business at such times, since most of their customers were Moslems preoccupied with their rituals of grief.

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

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