Sunday, January 06, 2008

Patterson's EXILE perpetuates the belief that Iran is Israel's biggest enemy

Last night I started reading Richard North Patterson's EXILE and at 1:30 a.m., had covered 300 pages. I picked up the book, lent to me by a friend months ago, because Charles Peters of the Washington Monthly recommended it in his Tilting at Windmills column in the December issue. Peters describes EXILE as “factual fiction.”

Set in San Francisco, the Prime Minister of Israel, Ben-Aron, has come to the U.S. to talk about his peace plan. He is assassinated. The plot is about finding who killed him and the personal courage of the Jewish defense attorney for the Palestinian woman (his lover from college days) who has been arrested as the perpetrator of the killing.

All well and good. An exciting read. However, having recently read Dr. Trita Parsi's Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S., which I posted about on October 11th, I was dismayed at how Iran was portrayed.

Following is an excerpt from the fictional Ben-Aron’s speech, at page 113, in response to a question about the extremist regimes such as Syria and Iran: “And the most dangerous are the mullahs in Iran. They are extremist and they are fundamentalists….They help Hamas recruit Palestinians, and enlist Israeli Arabs against us. They wish to change the balance of power in the Middle East. That is why – and do not doubt this – they are building a nuclear bomb until they become a dominant force.

“As an ideological matter, Iran wishes to eradicate the State of Israel. As a practical matter, Iran needs violence between Jews and Palestinians to divert the world from its nuclear ambitions. Which, once realized, are a mortal threat to Israel….We must deal with Iran, our greatest threat…”

Anyone who reads Treacherous Alliance, carefully researched and copiously footnoted (1,289 of them!), will understand that Iran is not the inflatable bogey as described in EXILE.

Why am I so exercised about what a work of fiction says about Iran?

1. It’s being presented as “factual fiction” by someone of Peters's stature.
2. As a best-selling thriller, EXILE is being read by lots of people and presenting Iran as the biggest threat to Israel will influence these readers’ opinion of it.

I suspect very few people who read best selling fiction will take time to read:
1. Treacherous Alliance
2. Jim Lobe’s January 3rd post, "More Signs of Iran Detente...From Petraeus", which opens: “In a new blow to the neo-conservative hard-liners at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), their hero, Gen. David Petraeus, has apparently concluded that Iran is indeed following through on its reported pledge earlier this fall to the Iraqi government to cut its alleged supply of weapons to Shi’a militias in Iraq. That assessment comes from none other than the far-right Washington Times which featured a front-page article by Sara Carter Thursday, entitled “Iran No Longer Aids Iraq Militants.”

I hope readers of this post will take time to learn the truth about the shifting relations between Iran and Israel from 1948 to the present, including the complicated triangular relations of these countries and the U.S.

(book cover: Liberty Associates)

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