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  • 5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel
    • The main reason Israel did not implement a constitution is because of its expansionist aspirations and its aims of religious exclusivity/purity. A constitution would have necessitated delineation of borders, which Israel was not prepared to do because they planned all along to capture more territory from the indigenous population. A constitution enshrining democracy would have also required language comparable to contemporary democracies, which legally committed to equality under the law. This philosophy is fundamentally antithetical to Israel’s foundation, which is based on privileging Jews, legally, socially, economically and existentially. Granting equal rights to the non-Jewish natives of the land would have severely limited their ability to ethnically cleanse the land of non-Jews, which has been an ongoing campaign since the establishment of Israel, which immediately expelled approximately 80% of the indigenous inhabitants.

      Israel is an apartheid state. Apartheid South Africa always claimed to be the only real democracy in their part of the world, too.

    • I find this article very patronizing. For example, this description of Iranian intellectuals:
      “...but one on one they are also level-headed and clear-eyed.” There is something very paternalistic and arrogant in that statement, even as a stand-alone; but particularly juxtaposed to "the searing honesty and high ethics of the Israeli thinkers [hanging out in Tel Aviv’s cafes]."

      More importantly, the whole "better-than" approach to the subject is too simplistic and a bit sophomoric, which surprises me because I usually find more nuance and thought in Juan Cole’s pieces.

      Further, the two countries are not comparable. Iranian society is ancient, complex, and developed organically over thousands of years. Israel is an ongoing neo-colonial project less than 70 years old that was formed artificially by the UN to atone for western sins at the miserable expense of the Palestinians, who are the indigenous people of that land. Of course Iran has social problems, as all nations do, and some of them are profound. But the oversimplification of that nation into these infantile bullet points, which seem to somehow come with a disclaimer or qualifier of relativism to Israel, is intellectually lethargic.

      Forget about Israel for a moment, Iran has highest female to male student ratio in the world among sovereign nations. Approximately 70% of Iran's university students and 43% of its salaried workers were women. As early as 2007, 70% of Iran's science and engineering students are women, which far exceeds that of the United States. Government ministers are 27% female, as are 60% of Iran’s judges. Just because countries are not aligned with the west does not put them in the backward categories that necessitate the kind of stooping but-they-do-have-some-good-points essays.

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