The latest from TT contributor, Tzofar:
“A horrible week. Italy. The U.S. now wants “settlement labeling”. Trudeau couldn’t say “Jews” at a Holocaust memorial ceremony. France shoving Paleostinian statehood at us as a threat.
Italy Licks Rouhani’s Jackboots
Giorgio Vasari published his celebrated work The Lives of the Artists in 1551. In his life of Michelangelo, Vasari presented Michelangelo as a gift of the Divinity to the city of Florence to perfect the development of the arts. For over four and a half centuries, Western Italy and civilization agreed with Vasari that the arts were an aspirational and inspirational component of the drive to human achievement.
As of last week, however, the Italian government turned this cornerstone of European civilization into a shameful shibboleth, and disowned its own history and accomplishments.
The occasion was the visit of the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. Bowing and scraping to the Islamic potentate, the Italians took their wine off the tables and put sculptures likely to offend Rouhani’s Shi’ite sensibilities under white boxes. Entertaining a Holocaust denier on International Holocaust Remembrance Day was a self-shaming bonus.
But the actions of the Italian government were more than an exercise in self-degradation; they were a clear signal that the Italians are willing to throw their support behind a fascist regime that represents a total rejection of the rest of the Western enterprise. Perhaps the government justified its cultural self-censorship in pursuit of trade deals as an insignificant sacrifice. This is the way deals with the devil begin, but they don’t end there.
France, which also entertained Rouhani last week, was not much better—they told Netanyahu that without meaningful negotiations very soon, they will recognize a “Palestinian state”. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that other nations will follow Italy and France in various degrees of flat-out bootlicking that go beyond just doing business.
The last time we saw this kind of toadying, Neville Chamberlain handed Central Europe to Hitler for “peace for our time.” By 1938, the Nazi regime’s policy towards the Jews was as well-known as Rouhani’s plans for Israel today. Following fast on the heels of Chamberlain’s kowtowing on September 30th was Kristallnacht on November 9th of that year.
Rouhani, a prolific Tweeter, offers platitudes for those who prefer to think reality is what they hope it is. Only today his Twitter account had this gem: “Iran has so much to offer the world as a top tourist destination; hence investment in aviation, hotels &railways [sic] is more important than ever.” Really? Only someone who lives his or her life under one of those Italian sculpture boxes would consider care-free touring in Iran, where any mullah’s excuse will make you a prisoner-pawn for negotiations.
I am sure there are plenty of things to see in Iran, including beautiful statue-free mosques, homosexuals hung in the streets, women stoned for adultery in the public square, and the glow of nuclear sites after sunset, but I think it is better to pass on these delights. I would prefer to visit the Bargello in Florence, which is full of sculpture that Rouhani and his ilk cannot stand. However, as a Jew, visiting Western Europe has become a less-than attractive option. Living there is an even poorer option; these days European Jews are wondering where they will go. These days a liberal attitude excludes Jews and especially Israel, that Jew among nations.
What is nominally known as world leadership has decided that it is easier to bootlick than to grow a backbone, and easier to kick Israel than state the truth about Iran (or any other Islamic theocracy). The U.N. is no stranger to this mode of behavior either, opting to censure Israel repeatedly while saying nothing and doing less about genocide perpetrated by Islamic actors.
Events are moving ever faster in the ascendancy of Iran as the hegemon in the Middle East. With over $100 billion added to its pockets thanks to Obama, as well as trade deals with Italy and others, Iran is now free to buy nuclear weapons and technology and fund its terror proxies worldwide. There is no realistic Western opposition to stop them.
Those who reject the spread of Islamic imperialism must double and triple down on their efforts to arouse the people and protest the actions of their weak and morally bankrupt governments and replace them with actual leaders. If not, we will see the long era of intellectual growth and achievement which began in the Renaissance draw to sputtering close—because its inheritors refused to defend it.