One could approach Massachusetts Institute of Technology Profesor Noam Chomsky's show of support this week for Hizbullah as a passing curiosity, or as yet one more piece of psychiatric evidence of this old Jew's dimming mind that has contributed so much to linguistic research has been swept away by his outrageous political opinions.
But it is also possible to see the praises Prof. Chomsky lavished on Iran's Lebanese proxy as an expression – as one expression – of a worrying and dangerous push gaining a foothold amongst Western intellectuals: An acceptance of radical Islam, and the view of such groups as legitimate liberation movements.
Liberation from what, you ask? The answer is clear: From the onus of colonialism, and American-Israeli oppression.
Leader of the pack
Prof. Chomsky, as is his wont, is a leader of the pack, but the pack is clearly following in his footsteps. Last week, the British Lecturers Association NATFHE considered a proposal to boycott Israeli universities, yet took pains to recognize Hamas as the legitimate, recognized, democratically-elected representative of the Palestinian people.
The influential journal "New York Review of Books" has published a long screed by Jewish businessman Henry Siegman entitled " Hamas: The Last Chance for Peace?
With regard to the Iranian question, the European and American liberal/left believes Tehran has the right to develop nuclear capabilities, including military ones, as long as Israel and the United States do the same. President Ahmadinejad is considered first-and-foremost an anti-Semitic demagogue, and some radical left-wing thinkers have put him on the same plane as the leaders of Latin Americas "red" leaders. And we can be sure he will be the star attraction at some anti-globalization conference – maybe in London or Washington? – arriving straight from yet another anti-Israel conference in Tehran.
Paving the way
And so public opinion is not-so-slowly being prepared for the day – that is sure to come earlier than intelligence sources predict – that we will wake up to the following announcement from Radio Iran: "Early this morning," Ahmadinejad will say, "the Islamic Republic of Iran conducted a test of its first nuclear weapon at a secret location in the desert. The test was completed with complete success.
"Iran was forced to take this step in order to defend itself against the Zionist enemy. We will not hesitate to defend ourselves with this new weapon."
We can only imagine the negative influence of an Iranian nuclear weapon on Israel, its economy, on foreign investment here, on the shekel's value, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and on the country's general mood.
And we need not guess how the world will react: It will clearly be negligible. Policy makers will issue half-hearted denunciations, and George Bush, who is already more unpopular than ever, will hold a restless press conference and will watch his job approval rating slide even further.
Western newspapers will lament the fact that yet another (relatively unstable) country has joined the "nuclear club," but will warn political leaders not to get dragged into wartime hysteria. Left-leaning opinion makers will explain that, despite the dangers, the Iranian bomb is a necessary weapon against America's occupation of Iraq – and Israel's of Palestine.
Prof. Chomsky's visit to Hizbullah did, however, make one crucial point clear: According to the new Euro-American thinking, we had better get used to living with Hizbullah and Hamas and Ahmadinejad. The moral ground has already been prepared for a historic reconciliation with jihadic Islam. At least from this perspective, Israel is now living on borrowed time.