To the editor: Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi tries to help us understand why Iran has so much animosity for the United States. Indeed, America has much to answer for regarding its unlawful manipulation of Iran.
But this history does not explain why Iran hangs gay men and drug dealers, why it forces women to wear headscarves and coats, why it murders and tortures members of the Bahai faith, why it kidnaps American travelers and journalists, and why it shoots down its own citizens demonstrating for better lives.
Khalidi mentions that Israel is the only country that supports American actions in the Middle East without understanding that Israel has no alternative because the U.S. is its only lifeline for security. I would like to ask Khalidi if Israel’s alliance with the U.S. is the reason why Iran holds Holocaust denial conferences where Jew haters gather to spit on the graves of dead Jews.
One also wonders if the late Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani’s desire to destroy Israel was payback for Israel’s support of the U.S. If the answer is yes, then it’s impossible to consider the current government of Iran capable of rationally relating with the world.
Larry Shapiro, Rancho Mirage
To the editor: As we face another Middle East crisis, you serve your readers well by publishing this background on our history with Iran.
There were hundreds of flags waving joyfully from shiny new Hummers in 2003 when we invaded Iraq; much fewer were the discussions on the people and history of that ancient area.
In his speech on Iran Wednesday, President Trump mentioned the 1979 hostage crisis. But he ignored 1953, when the U.S. and Great Britain, seeking to ensure control of Iran’s oil resources, helped overthrow that country’s democratically elected prime minister and re-installed the autocratic shah.
The Iranians have not forgotten this any more than Americans have forgotten Pearl Harbor.
June Maguire, Mission Viejo
To the editor: It’s a shame Khalidi can’t keep his enmity for Israel out of a legitimate critique of catastrophic American meddling in Iranian affairs.
I’m no fan of many Israeli policies, but I know that Israel’s security zone in southern Lebanon covered about 10% of the country, not “much of” it. Thousands of people living there fled for a reason when Israel withdrew in 2000 and Hezbollah moved in.
Israel has no hegemony in the Middle East, but it does have deterrence. This is not to say that President Trump’s intelligence on the “imminent attack” by Iran was not Israeli-supplied, nor does it mean that the death of Suleimani doesn’t benefit Israel or even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But killing Suleimani was Trump’s decision to make.
Mitch Paradise, Los Angeles
To the editor: The creation of Hezbollah is not Israel’s fault. Khalidi conveniently ignores the endless attacks launched against Israel from Lebanon that led to Israel’s incursion in 1982.
Hezbollah is an Iranian puppet that shares its founder’s obsession with destroying Israel despite the fact that Iran has no territorial disputes with the country.
Extremist Iranian leaders cannot tolerate a Jewish state in the Islamic world, yet Khalidi would rather blame Iranian terror on Israel’s attempts to survive rather than criticize Iran’s decades-long efforts at violent expansionism throughout the Middle East.
Sara Miller, New York