Editor’s Notes: Mahmoud or Macca?

By David Horovitz September 26, 2008

The coincidence of Ahmadinejad at the UN and McCartney in Israel only underlines the choice that now faces the free world

As Paul McCartney and his band headed here late on Tuesday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was speaking from the podium at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

McCartney, as he told this writer in the interview we carried in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, came to Israel for Thursday night’s Tel Aviv concert with an ‘apolitical,’ ‘global,’ ‘peaceful’ message. ‘My mission, if I have one,’ the world’s most successful musician said gently, ‘is humanitarian… I try to encourage people to look for the good in each other and address the best.’

By contrast, Ahmadinejad’s address, delivered from what ought to be one of the most prestigious platforms on the planet, was cloaked in professions of obeisance to God, justice and human freedoms, but, as in years past, was dishonest, malevolent and threatening.

The Iranian president – who, in accordance with the UN’s own conventions, should be prosecuted for inciting genocide rather than afforded this annual opportunity to restate his toxic agenda – misrepresented his regime’s nuclear program as peaceful and transparent.

He gloated at the ostensible imminent demises of the Zionist regime (‘on a definite slope to collapse’) and the American empire (‘reaching the end of its road’).

And he dredged up the classic anti-Semitic libel in asserting that a pernicious, secretive act of global puppetry is being perpetrated by a shadowy Zionist cabal, manipulating the finances and the politics of the innocent, trusting masses: ‘The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists,’ he proclaimed. ‘Although they are a minuscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers, as well as the political decision- making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner.’

For having the temerity to grace our revived Jewish homeland with his melodic presence, McCartney has been subjected to dire Islamist warnings of dubious credibility and various assaults on his political rectitude. Resolutely unfazed, McCartney said unassumingly in our conversation that he was always interested in visiting new places and, taking advantage of ‘the offer of a gig,’ was coming to Israel ‘to see what’s what.’

On first hearing, it seemed naive, at best, when McCartney, who has tried to live with feet as close to the ground as four-and-a-half decades of global celebrity can allow, compared the hostility and threats his Israel concert has prompted to the mild opposition engendered by a recent show he played in Quebec or to The Beatles’ first- ever concerts in Japan’s hallowed Budokan martial arts arena in 1966. ‘I mean, when I went to Quebec there were certain comments from people who said they thought it was entirely inappropriate for an English guy to be playing in a French Canadian city,’ he mused. And ‘when we first went to Japan there were people who were very upset that we were playing in the Budokan because it had sacred connotations for them.’

But the uneven parallel does make sense when it comes to McCartney’s guiding world view, which is to do what he thinks is right, come what may – to ignore what he called ‘the voice in the crowd’ that wants to bully and intimidate and threaten, be it Quebecois nationalist or radical Muslim fundamentalist.

This robust commonsense attitude elevates the Liverpudlian musician with the upbeat, uncynical, strive- for-the-good approach to life to a markedly higher moral plane than those world leaders who hosted, and in many cases applauded, Ahmadinejad’s alternately disingenuous and vicious oratory.

WHAT A contrast the two men make.

McCartney, with an absence of bloated rock star cynicism, used the opportunity of our interview to fiercely declare ‘that the world is a magnificent place and that we are blessed to be on it.’ He expressed his delight in the ‘miracle’ of the birth of his latest grandchild and hailed the ‘human spirit’ as a ‘great thing.’

Ahmadinejad seized his spotlight to shamelessly lie to the watching world about his country’s ‘full cooperation with the inspectors of the IAEA and the agency’s repeated confirmation of the fact that Iran’s activities are peaceful.’

Why wouldn’t he brazenly portray black as white, aggressive as peaceful? He’s certainly getting away with it on the nuclear front right now, even as Israel’s Military Intelligence experts warn that Iran has produced between a third and a half of the enriched uranium necessary for a bomb. The Russians this week canceled planned top-level talks on tougher UN sanctions because, in the shameful words of their Foreign Ministry, ‘We do not see any sort of ‘fire’ that requires us to toss everything aside and meet to discuss Iran’s nuclear program in the middle of a packed week at the United Nations General Assembly.’

And his regime has been getting away with it for decades. Ahmadinejad represents a leadership that has commissioned major acts of terrorism in Lebanon (killing 300 American and French troops in 1983), Argentina (the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish community offices, with a combined death toll of over 100) and beyond. A regime that efficiently killed off dissidents by the dozen across Europe in the 1980s. A regime that ruthlessly indoctrinates, funds and trains suicide bombers via a murderous perversion of Islam. A regime that organizes missile attacks on enemy civilians using hapless locals as human shields.

And yet he gets to enjoy this annual installment of fawning obsequiousness from the world body that was established to face down the very tyranny he represents, the body that is breaching its own obligations in failing to thwart his systematic efforts to expedite the elimination of our sovereign state.

As President Shimon Peres so rightly and bitterly noted, in comments he hastily added to his prepared text before he addressed the General Assembly on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad ‘is a disgrace to this very house, the United Nations, its basic principles and values.’

Moreover, the Iranian president gets to cap his annual visit to the land of the genuinely free by peddling his abuse at a Columbia University lecture one year and in interviews with newspapers, radio stations and even Larry King the next. (NPR pressed him pretty commendably on several issues; King challenged him on his Holocaust denial and noxious stance on Israel but also served up a series of indefensible lobs that included: ‘Do you have a preference among the American candidates?’, ‘You would agree that you are, for want of a better word, a controversial figure. Are you not?’ and, most nauseatingly, ‘You don’t look old enough to have married children…’)

THE COINCIDENCE of Macca in Israel and Mahmoud at the UN only underlines the choice that now faces the free world. It’s a choice between defying and marginalizing the bullies, as McCartney chose to do in his own quietly adamant way, or capitulating to them – as the United Nations General Assembly does annually with Iran’s president, and the international community is on the point of doing with Iran’s nuclear program.

Unfortunately, though, McCartney can only sing about ‘Little children being born to the world… help them to learn songs of joy instead of ‘burn, baby, burn.” (‘Pipes of Peace,’ 1990.) He can only warn about ‘Too many people preaching practices. Don’t let them tell you what you want to be.’ (‘Too Many People,’ 1971.) He can only plead that ‘we learn to give each other what we need to survive together alive.’ (‘Ebony and Ivory,’ 1982.)

The notables of the United Nations General Assembly, however, are charged with guaranteeing our freedoms and protecting what McCartney calls the ‘pretty amazing’ human race. Instead, with time running out and inertia representing defeat, they complacently applaud the leader of an apocalyptic regime as it reaches out for the tools to destroy us.

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