The coming cataclysm?

The coming cataclysm?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes in the April 3 issue of a coming cataclysm with Iran. He may be right.

After all, how would any nation react if it was accused of “racist, genocidal intent,” “ritualistic, orgiastic…demented worldview,” “murderous intent,” “annihilation,” “carrying out a second holocaust,” and “obvious brutality and beheadings”? Those are Rabbi Boteach’s words, in just his first five paragraphs. Obviously, this nation must be none other than the devil incarnate.

But wait a minute. Let’s focus on just one of these claims, in regard to decapitation. The world is seeing the horror of this method of killing again, thanks to ISIS and its use of the Internet. But beheading has never stopped, and it is possible to argue that beheading is a relatively “humane” way of ending life. It is, of course, the mandated way that Jews are required to slaughter animals for consumption.

As for who is beheading whom, Sunni ISIS is now reported to have cut off the head of a Hamas leader in Al-Yarmouk, Syria. The laws of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, and Iran permit decapitation, but only Saudi Arabia continues to carry out the practice of chopping off heads. In Iran, capital punishment is legal, but the methods used are firing squad, hanging and stoning.

Iran may be an unpleasant rogue state that is pushing to extend its regional hegemony. The rhetoric of the mullahs may be nauseating. Its nuclear policy may be frightening (although it is hardly alone, joined by the likes of Pakistan and North Korea which already belong to the club of nuclear-weaponized nations).

Even so, there is no reason for exaggeration or accusation. Iran is not beheading offenders, political prisoners, or journalists. Iran is not ISIS. In fact, these two are enemies, in the longstanding Sunni-Shiite divide. So who’s the big bad wolf here? Will the real fanatics please stand up?