Today, Sunday, Iran swears in a new president. That’s right we won’t have Mohammad Ahmadinijad to kick around anymore. The pundits out there—Jay Leno, David Letterman and Barrack Obama—are going to need new material on the incoming president, Hassan Rouhani.
The word is that unlike the wild and crazy Ahmidinijad, Rouhani is a moderate of sorts. This characterization reminds me of the contrast between moderates and extremists as described by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the legendary and one of a kind founder of the Jewish Defense League and a former member of the Israeli Knesset. Kahane was wont to say that the difference between a Moslem extremist and a moderate is that the extremist wants to “murder Jews extremely, while the moderate wants to murder Jews moderately.” That’s quite a distinction.
Anyway, the cause for celebration in the international community was that on the day last week that the Islamic world sadly marked the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel, Rouhani in his remarks to an anti-Israel rally said, “Israel is a wound…that has to be removed.”
These words caused the eyebrows of observers to be arched in an expression of curiosity. After all the former president, Ahmidinijad has always referred to Israel as a “cancer that has to be cut out,” and that, “Israel needs to be erased form the map” of the world.
As crazy as it sounds international observers of these things are saying that Rouhani may indeed be expressing a moderate position in his upgrading the harm Israel’s existence does to the Moslem world by calling it only “a wound,” and not “cancer.”
The New York Times reported this and also reported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction. The Israeli PM said that now we know that, “Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” The Times characterized the Netanyahu words as way to critical and harsh considering the Rouhani description of the Israeli menace to the world.
Yes, if you can manage to contort your mind and twist your way of thinking there is indeed a brand of moderation here. Its all tailor made for Late Night and The Tonight Show.