Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession

By Miller, John | Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession


Miller, John, Middle East Quarterly


Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession. By Haggai Ram. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009. 220 pp. $55 ($19.95, paper).

Ram, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben Gurion University, seeks to enlighten readers on how the cultural values and foundations of Israeli society have affected its perception of Iran. Unfortunately, he is very much influenced by post-Zionist, Saidian, and leftist philosophies. The book focuses primarily on perceived inequalities within Israel and its domination by an ethnocentric elite.

From the opening, Ram argues that Israel's fears about Iran are based upon "phobias" and prejudices. Israel is portrayed as a country with an identity crisis, in which the elite, eschewing a traditional Jewish or Middle Eastern identity, aspires to be "like Europe." He provides a myriad of examples in examining different reactions to the Iranian revolution within the Israeli elite. It is impossible, the author argues, to look at the Israeli elite's or society's responses as monolithic in tone. Academics who do not share Ram's opinions are categorized as close-minded, misinformed, or bigoted. The author's account neglects a realistic portrayal of what occurred within Iran during the revolution when there were a multitude of political philosophies and figures at work.

The view of Iran as a threat derives from 1 979, according to the author, as a replacement for the threat from the Arabs. …

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