Illustration (Image credit: Phillip Maiwald (Nikopol) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
The Quds Day celebration in Iran held on the final Friday of Ramadan eerily echoed the early days of the Islamic Revolution with its chants of “Death to America! Death to Israel!”
In a speech given at the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini referred to the United States as the “Great Satan” and to Israel as the “Little Satan.” This was no doubt partly in response to decades of interference by the Western powers in Iran’s internal affairs.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this took place in the early 1950s when the United States and Great Britain conspired to overthrow the Iranian Premier Mohammad Mossadeq. He was hugely popular with the Iranian people as he sought to nationalize the country’s industries, most notably the oil industry. Outside forces instigated a coup and overthrew Mossadeq. (In 1953, the American CIA admitted to its role in the matter.)
The Shah, who replaced him, was widely viewed by Iranians as a puppet of the West and not representative of the Iranian people or their interests. Increasing public dissatisfaction led to violent demonstrations and riots which in turn drove the Shah to flee Iran. He found refuge in the United States and the door was opened to the return of the formerly exiled Khomeini, a further tragedy for those Iranians who had no desire to live under an oppressive Islamic regime.
The world has witnessed this scenario being replayed all over the globe. The West calls it democracy-building, while its enemies call it imperialism. Consequently, the United States was generally despised and Israel, in its eagerness to embrace Western democracy and culture, was viewed as a direct threat to the Islamic world.
Part and parcel with this “democracy” came humanistic values with names like tolerance, pluralism, diversity and the “rights” of the individual, no matter how dangerous they may be to society as a whole. Countries which do not welcome a division of religion and state view such values as an existential danger to their chosen way of life. They view the symbols of Western culture as indicative of all that they find wrong with it, things like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, movies and MTV. All these things give America the well-deserved Hebrew appellation “Am-reika” – an empty nation promoting empty calories, empty values, and empty morals, superficiality with little real substance.
“Satanic” is the descriptor the Ayatollah chose to use. But, even if one would not go that far, one must still ask himself, looking from this perspective, whether Israel deserves the label “Little Satan” or Little America? Is Israel, as the Middle East’s only democracy, a conduit for the spread of liberal Western norms and values into the more conservative Arab world?
In the name of ”democracy,” the Holy Land now hosts Gay Pride parades attended by hundreds of thousands including tens of thousands of foreigners. This is a Western “norm,” but it is by no means a “norm” for the Middle East. In the name of “democracy,” Christian missionaries are running rampant across the country preying on the youth, lone soldiers, Holocaust survivors -- the most vulnerable elements of our society.
Is the Arab world justified when it implies by the moniker “Little Satan” that Israel is a local source of unwanted Western influence? Israel needs to seriously consider the possibility, for our own good.
Just look at how several U.S. Congressmen and the Trump Administration came out with statements either condemning or questioning our government’s decision on the matter of prayer arrangements at the Western Wall. “Egalitarianism” is another Western value that Israel is bidden to adopt and enforce. God forbid!
Israeli society is meant to exhibit the perfect balance between the oppression of Islam and the liberalism of the West. But, before that can happen, Israel must understand that it cannot be a “light to the nations” by hoisting Lady Liberty’s torch as a small U.S. outpost in the Middle East. It can only be accomplished when Israel understands and embraces her mission and her destiny to be a “light to the nations” by upholding the Torah in all its details. The world needs Israel to show both sides how it should be done.
Even if the shoe fits, that doesn’t mean we have to continue wearing it!