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January 17 , 2010


The Logic of an Israeli Obsession


Israel and Iran invariably are portrayed as sworn enemies, engaged in an unending conflict with potentially apocalyptic implications.Iranophobia offers an innovative and provocative new reading of this conflict. Concerned foremost with how Israelis perceive Iran, the author steps back from all-too-common geopolitical analyses to show that this conflict is as much a product of shared cultural trajectories and entangled histories as it is one of strategic concerns and political differences.

Haggai Ram, an Israeli scholar, explores prevalent Israeli assumptions about Iran to look at how these assumptions have, in turn, reflected and shaped Jewish Israeli identity. Drawing on diverse political, cultural, and academic sources, he concludes that anti-Iran phobias in the Israeli public sphere are largely projections of perceived domestic threats to the prevailing Israeli ethnocratic order. At the same time, he examines these phobias in relation to the Jewish state's use of violence in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon in the post-9/11 world.

In the end, Ram demonstrates that the conflict between Israel and Iran may not be as essential and polarized as common knowledge assumes. Israeli anti-Iran phobias are derived equally from domestic anxieties about the Jewish state's ethnic and religious identities and from exaggerated and displaced strategic concerns in the era of the "war on terrorism."
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