She also said, “This idea that Iran is out to disappear Judaism is a fabrication invented by Zionists to demonize the Islamic Republic and rally to its cause public opinion.”
Below, the full transcript of the interview has been presented:
The Islamic Republic of Iran has launched the International Hourglass Festival, which is dedicated to anti-Israel art and media productions. How effective such festivals are in raising awareness about Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians as well as against the entire region?
Catherine Shakdam: I think we need to be careful when we speak of anti-Israel art as mainstream media will misconstrue such efforts and align it with an attack on Judaism, which of course is not the case. Ayatollah Khamenei’s efforts, and that of Iran’s Leadership in general, have always been to the defense of Palestinians and the condemnation of tyranny. Today, tyranny is expressed and embodied in Zionism, and so naturally Iran has firmly stood against it.
Zionism has used such platforms as media and arts to frame their culture of hate and fascism as normative and natural. This needs to be opposed with utmost resolve. Who better than Ayatollah Khamenei to lead such charge?
Shia Islam’s most precious tenets are rooted in resistance, and so what could be more natural than for its most illustrious representatives to offer such resistance.
The Zionist lobby is responsible not only for an ongoing genocide against Palestinians but the normalization of war crimes against defenseless minorities, or selected communities.
Israel has existed in a state not just of exceptionalism but rationalized criminality. How many children will have to be killed, tortured, and/or imprisoned for the world to wake up to the monstrous reality that is Zionism?
Human life is precious and it should always be defended. Human dignity is precious and it should always be valued and defended. Human life is not to be forfeited by tyrants on account they claim to hold the reins of power.
Ultimately Iran seeks to redress the balance and offer recourse to the oppressed. I don’t believe there could be more honorable stand.
There is an interesting symmetry to Iran’s Resistance and Zionists’ efforts to spread their venom. If you consider that Zionists benefit from the support of several military superpower and mainstream media to assert their narrative, it would stand to reason that no parties would ever attempt to challenge Israel …. And yet Iran did just that. Not only has Iran challenged Israel, but it has defeated its narrative by the strength of its principles alone.
I don’t think we highlight this point enough. The anger and hatred levelled at Iran are proof of the fear the Islamic Republic has struck at the heart of Zionists. I am not talking about military might here but the conceptualization of power.
Iran offers an alternative to the fascism of Zionism. Iran offers liberation and justice when Israel calls for segregation and elitist supremacism.
The main message I think behind Ayatollah Khamenei’s call to such efforts (the International Hourglass Festival) is that our resistance efforts ought to be multifaceted and comprehensive. We cannot allow for Zionists to gain a foothold - our duty remains to the oppressed and the voiceless.
Now as far as effectiveness goes, I think such festivals are essential. They very much act as catalysts and inspirations. Resistance cannot exist in a vacuum, divorced from the many elements that compose its movement. It is festivals such as this one that allows for activists to come together and draw from each other’s strength.
Ayatollah Khamenei is essentially creating a community centered around the principle of Resistance.
The name of the festival is reminiscent of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s prediction that the Zionist regime will cease to exist within 25 years. What’s your take on this prediction and Israel’s future?
Catherine Shakdam: While I do not claim to any particular insight into the matter I will say this: If Ayatollah Khamenei felt so inclined as to put a timestamp on Zionism demise then who am I to question him? Ayatollah Khamenei is more than a head of state, he is an Imam and a servant of Islam. More to the point, he is the keeper of Islamic traditions and knowledge. We would be foolish to doubt the breadth and depth of his knowledge, understanding, and grasp on world dynamics.
I understand that for people unfamiliar with the concept of Wilayat al Faqih such ideas may seem foreign, and maybe even irrational … why put such faith in one man’s leadership? I would say that the past decades have proven already that Iran’s Leadership is in fact inspired.
So yes 25 years! No system can exist in inhumanity, and Zionism is inhumane. Tyranny carries within the seed of its destruction and so it stands to reason that Zionism will in fact collapse upon itself by the nature of its ignominy.
And although Israel benefits from great many friendships, and great many guns to its fascism, so did many tyrants across the centuries and they all fell.
Let’s not make the mistake of underestimating the great Resistance movement which, for decades now, has grown from strength to strength against Zionism and Co.
If Ayatollah Khamenei believes that in 25 years Zionism will disappear then I believe it will be so.
Is Iran an existential threat to the Jewish people?
Catherine Shakdam: Absolutely not! It is ludicrous to say that Iran threatens the existence of Judaism … it is quite the opposite really. Iran has been instrumental in preserving and protecting Judaism heritage.
Let me put this under a different light: why would Iran declare itself an enemy of any religious minorities? Iran lives by the principles of Shia Islam and Shia Islam absolutely rejects any form of oppression - religious or otherwise.
More to the point, why would Iran even need to destroy Judaism? What would be its motives?
Shia Islam does not exist in competition with other faith. Shia Islam does not need to wield the sword to secure its future or affirm its belief system.
This idea that Iran is out to disappear Judaism is a fabrication invented by Zionists to demonize the Islamic Republic and rally to its cause public opinion.
But telling a lie ad nauseam does not change the truth.
If Iran was an enemy of Judaism then how should we explain the fact that many Iranian Jews continue to live in peace in their homeland?
Despite widespread propaganda in favor of the Zionist regime, many Muslim scholars recognize Palestine’s issue as one of the most important issues the Muslim world faces today. What’s the significance of the Palestinian cause for the region?
Catherine Shakdam: Palestine of course remains a symbol for the region in that Western-sponsored oppression was epitomized in the creation of Israel but Zionism has many faces and many new voices. The rise of so-called Islamic radicalism, aka Wahhabism is proof of that.
Zionism and Wahhabism are cut from the same cloth. Actually the promotion of Wahhabism falls within Zionists’ agenda to recreate Greater Israel, and thus assume control over the Greater Levant region.
So yes the Palestinian cause remains a main flashpoint.
I think that Muslims feel somehow more connected to the Palestinian cause on account Israel framed the conflict within a divisive sectarian narrative - pitting Muslims and Jews against one another. But let’s not forget that many Palestinians are Christians and that the assumption that Israel is at war with Islam is false. Israel is at war with an entire people on the basis that it wants to carve itself an empire.
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks, her work has appeared in major publications such as MintPress, RT, Press TV, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News, the Guardian, Middle East Eye, the Middle East Monitor and many others. The Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. In 2015 her research on Yemen was quoted and used by the UNSC in a resolution on Yemen Looted Funds. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam.